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

In cross motions for partial summary, the court granted in part and denied in part the motions of several commercial bulk purchasers and denied the motion of the Creditors’ Committee. The court held that the transactions between the Debtor and several commercial bulk purchasers did not involve the creation of an interest in real estate. Therefore, the Georgia Uniform Commercial Code, not the Georgia real estate recording statutes, governed those transactions between SGE and the bulk purchasers of promissory notes. As to whether the commercial bulk purchasers were holders in due course of the promissory which they purchased from the Debtor, the court found that issues of material fact remained on the elements of good faith and notice. The court entered a separate Memorandum Opinion on the Debtor’s motion for summary judgment.

The Court held that the automatic stay applied to an arrest warrant that was issued against Debtor as a contempt sanction for his failure to respond to post-judgment discovery requests in a civil case. In addition, the Court held that the Plaintiff in Debtor’s civil case was responsible for taking affirmative steps to ensure the arrest warrant was not carried out.

Debt of automobile franchise was dischargeable under Section 523(a)(6) in the sole shareholder’s individual bankruptcy because Debtor did not intend to inflict injury on creditor. Furthermore the debt, which was caused by selling cars out of trust, could not be attributed to Debtor because he was not an active participant in creating the out-of-trust position.

Debtor sought to reopen her Chapter 13 case, which had been dismissed post-confirmation, to add a tort claim to her schedules thereby, avoiding the defense of judicial estoppel on the claim in state court. Although the Court concluded that a dismissed case may be opened under Section 350(b), it denied Debtor’s motion to reopen because the tort claim was not property of the estate, and therefore Debtor was not required to list it on her bankruptcy schedules.

Chapter 13 debtor whose plan was completed and who was discharged, but whose case had not yet been closed, sought to amend his schedules to add a medical malpractice claim in order to avoid a judicial estoppel defense on the claim in state court. The Court denied debtor’s motion to amend because debtor had a right to amend without leave of Court under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 1009(a).

The debtor and creditor submitted a consent order that contained a six-month strict compliance provision. The creditor later filed a Default Motion supported by an affidavit setting forth the default. The creditor contended that the debtor still owed certain insurance premiums that preceded the consent order. The court disagreed and held that the consent order had resolved the dispute between the debtor and the creditor and that the debtor was not in default under the consent order. The court held that there was no reasonable basis for the creditor's Default Motion and awarded sanctions and attorney's fees in favor of the debtor.

The Court found Creditors who repossessed property of the estate, and subsequently allowed that property to lose all value, in violation of the automatic stay. The Court ordered the Creditors to pay (1) actual damages for the loss in value of the property; (2) costs of the Trustee’s time and expenses in pursuing the estate’s interest in the property and; (3) pursuant to § 362(h), punitive damages for Creditors’ intentionally remaining ignorant of the requirements of bankruptcy law and for Creditors’ failure to obey a direct order of the Court.

The debtor filed an action for divorce in state court. The state court later held that the debtor's actions in refinancing the marital residence were fraudulent and in contempt of a temporary consent order. The state court ordered the debtor to pay her husband's attorney's fees and to reimburse her husband for certain payments he had made to the IRS.

The bankruptcy court held that the debtor's obligations to her husband were not in the nature of alimony, maintenance, or support and therefore were dischargeable in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court held that the debtor's obligation for postpetition services rendered by her husband's attorney was not dischargeable.

After the sale of Debtor’s real estate and two types of equipment to a single purchaser for a single price, the Court heard evidence on the allocation of the purchase price among the assets. The court gave little weight to the opinion of expert appraisers as to the value of the property because the sale had set that value. However, the Court relied upon the proportions that resulted from the appraisals to allocate the purchase price.

The bank properly perfected its security interest on the certificate of title to the debtor's truck. The bank, mistakenly and inadvertently, released the title on the truck to the debtor. The Chapter 13 trustee contended that the bank's claim was unsecured. The Court held that the bank's security interest was still perfected and that the Chapter 13 trustee could not avoid the bank's security interest.

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