Opinions

The Middle District of Georgia offers opinions in PDF format, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

Please note: These opinions are not a complete inventory of all judges' decisions and are not documents of record. Official court records are available at the clerk's office.

Judge John T. Laney, III

The Court held a hearing on the Movants’ Motion to Reopen the case in order to contest the prior re-opening and move to strike the amended schedules. The Farmers had completed payments on their plan when they were involved in an automobile accident. They did not immediately amend their schedules to reflect the potential cause of action. After the case was closed, the Farmers reopened the case and added the lawsuit to their schedules. The Movants, the defendants in the personal injury lawsuit, asserted judicially estoppel. The Court found that judicial estoppel did not apply because the Farmers never asserted inconsistent positions and because the Farmers’ plan was complete at the time of the injury. In addition, the cause of action was not property of the estate under Telfair v. First Union Mortgage Corp., 216 F.3d 1333 (11th Cir. 2000) and 11 U.S.C. §1329(a), because cause of action arose after the confirmation and completion of the plan.

Creditor, Wells Fargo Bank N.A., objected to the confirmation hearing in the Jordan case because the Debtor was modifying the value of property in the plan. Wells Fargo argued that the property at issue was the Debtor’s principal residence and thus could not be modified under 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(2), and that the Debtor’s plan was not filed in good faith. The court held that the date for deciding whether a creditor qualifies for section 1322(b)(2) protection is at the time of filing, not when the obligation arose. Because the Debtor had moved at the time of filing, the property was not his principal residence. However, the court denied confirmation because the plan was not filed in good faith. The property which the Debtor was attempting to cram down was not necessary for his maintenance or support. Rather, the Debtor’s son, who was neither a debtor nor a dependant, was living on the property and made the Trustee payments.

Former employees of the Chapter 11 debtor filed proofs of claims for severance pay asserting priority status for their claims. 11 U.S.C.A. § 507(a)(3)(A) The debtor's board of directors had terminated the severance plan before the employees were terminated. The Court held that employees who were terminated after the severance plan was terminated were not entitled to severance pay.

The court has no authority to permanently enjoin a creditor from collecting payment from a guarantor and, therefore, could not confirm a plan over the creditor’s objection that contained such a provision.

The debtor transferred three parcels of real property to a trust he had established for his wife. The debtor's sons were co-trustees. The creditor contended the transfers were fraudulent and sought civil damages under state RICO from the debtor's wife and sons. The Court held the state RICO action was not property of the bankruptcy estate and that the action against the debtor's wife and sons was not subject to the automatic stay of the bankruptcy code.

Judge would not recuse himself when all Debtors’ complaints were based on negative judicial rulings and Debtors lacked any evidence that the rulings displayed the type of extreme antagonism that would render a fair judgment impossible.

Judge would not recuse himself when all Debtors’ complaints were based on negative judicial rulings and Debtors lacked any evidence that the rulings displayed the type of extreme antagonism that would render a fair judgment impossible.

Court will deny application to pay filing fees in installments when Debtors have filed to pay filing fees in full in a previous case.

Creditor was enjoined from pursuing fraudulent conveyance action against nondebtor third party when the Trustee had settled a claim arising out of the same transaction pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 544(b).

Debtor, a U.S. citizen who lived and worked in Mexico, satisfied venue statute for purposes of filing in the Middle District of Georgia when all his assets in the United States were located in that District.

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