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

Creditor’s motion for relief from the automatic stay was denied.  Debtor’s right to redeem the vehicle under O.C.G.A. § 44-14-403(b)(1) was property of the bankruptcy estate, and it did not expire at the end of the sixty days provided by 11 U.S.C. § 108(b).  Debtor also was in possession of the vehicle at the time of the petition.  Debtor’s confirmed plan provided for Creditor’s secured claim.  Creditor failed to object to Debtor’s Chapter 13 plan prior to confirmation.  The doctrine of res judicata barred Creditor from objecting to the plan postconfirmation.

Motion to avoid judicial lien granted on grounds of exemption impairment.  The issue before the Court was whether § 522(f) allows a debtor to avoid a postpetition judicial lien obtained prior to conversion from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 for a deficiency on a postpetition, preconversion debt.  Pursuant to § 348(d), a judicial lien must be treated for the purpose of § 522(f) as if it arose prepetition.  Because the Creditor’s judicial lien impaired the Debtor’s claim of exemptions, the lien is avoided.In

The issue addressed in this opinion is whether the Plaintiff, Wells Fargo, has standing to bring an action to deny the dischargeability of a debt under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) premised on actual fraud by the Debtor-Defendant in transactions with Wachovia, the predecessor bank in the merger between it and Wells Fargo.  Wells Fargo has standing to bring such an action because Wells Fargo acquired the right to prosecute such a claim by virtue of its merger with Wachovia.

The creditor filed a Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice.  At the hearing, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of the case.  The only issue addressed at the hearing was whether the case would be dismissed with prejudice.  The Court found that the Debtors continually failed to comply with the Court’s orders on Bankruptcy Rule 2004 examinations.  The Court found the Debtors’ conduct warranted a 36-month bar from filing a bankruptcy case for the husband-debtor and a 12-month bar for the wife-debtor.

The issue before the Court was whether the Trustee could avoid the Bank’s security deed under 11 U.S.C. § 544(a)(3) because it lacked the seal of the notary public acting as the official witness to the attestation of the security deed.  Under O.C.G.A. § 44-17-6(a)(1), a notary public is required to provide his seal in order to authenticate his notarial acts.  Attesting to a security deed is a notarial act.  The Court interpreted Georgia attestation law to find that the Bank’s security deed was not properly attested to by an official witness because the notary public failed to place his seal on the deed as required by Georgia law.  Under O.C.G.A. § 44-14-33, the Bank’s security deed as recorded could not provide a subsequent bona fide purchaser with constructive notice of the deed.  Therefore, the Court holds that the Trustee may avoid the Bank’s security deed under 11 U.S.C. § 544(a)(3).

The issue in the case was whether a security deed executed by a husband-debtor in favor of Wells Fargo was avoidable under 11 U.S.C. § 544(a)(3).  The Trustee argued that the Security Deed was patently defective due to the lack of an attesting official witness, which is required by O.C.G.A. § 44-14-33 for recordation of a security deed.  The Trustee alleged that the “Attestation Page” only contains the signatures of the borrower and an unofficial witness and the notary public’s signature and seal on the following page under the term “Acknowledgment” do not satisfy the requirements for proper attestation of a security deed.  Wells Fargo argued that O.C.G.A. § 44-2-18  provides for the curing of defects in security deeds through an affidavit and the signature of the official witness on the Affidavit accompanying the Waiver recorded with the Security Deed cured any such defect.  Following the Eleventh Circuit opinion of Gordon v. Terrace Mortgage Co. (In re Kim), 571 F.3d 1342 (11th Cir. 2009), the Court agreed with Wells Fargo and determined that the Trustee may not avoid the security deed.

Judge Austin E. Carter

Defendants' motions seeking to compel arbitration of Plaintiff/Debtor's stay violation claim denied because compelling arbitration of stay violation conflicts with Congress’s purpose in enacting the Bankruptcy Code.


Secured creditor objected to the confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan, contending that the plan violated § 1325(a)(5)(B)(iii)(I) by providing for monthly payments followed by a balloon payment. The Court held that a Chapter 13 plan that provides for a balloon payment is confirmable over objection because the plain language of and the Congressional intent behind § 1325(a)(5)(B)(iii)(I) does not prohibit balloon payments. Further, the Court held that the proposed plan, including the balloon payment, was feasible as required by § 1325(a)(6).

U.S. Trustee’s motion to dismiss granted on grounds that Debtor improperly “double-dipped” on means test form by attempting to include a pre-petition secured tax obligation both as a tax expense and a secured debt.

USDA Farm Service Agency filed motion for retroactive stay relief to allow offset of liability of Debtor against income tax refund due to Debtor.  Court rejected USDA’s argument that the setoff was exempt under 11 U.S.C. § 362(b)(26) because that section applies only to liability of debtors for unpaid income taxes, and not to other types of liabilities to government creditors (like USDA).   Court also rejected Debtor’s argument that the entry of discharge extinguished the USDA’s right to setoff.