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 summary judgment in a preference action filed by the Chapter 13 Trustee, the court granted Defendant’s motion and denied Trustee’s motion. In a case of first impression under Alabama law, the court held that Defendant did not effectuate a lien release. Therefore, Trustee could not avoid the lien under § 547 or § 544.

Granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denying Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in an adversary proceeding to recover post-petition transfers under §§ 549 and 550, the court held that plaintiff would not be allowed to recover post-petition transfers. In a case of first impression, the court held that lottery funds collected by a lottery retailer under the Georgia Lottery for Education Act constitute trust property and therefore, are excluded from property of the bankruptcy estate.

In a motion to compel Debtor to surrender leased premises, the court held that although the bankruptcy court has the authority to enter such an order, relief in favor of Movant is not proper in this case. Movant leased operating premises to the equity owner of Debtor who allowed Debtor to use the leased premises. After the lease was deemed rejected under § 365, Movant obtained relief from the automatic stay. However, Debtor remained in possession of the property at the express permission of the equity owner. Therefore, the court held that Debtor’s right to remain in possession was dependent upon the rights of the equity owner, an issue currently pending in state court.

The Court looked to Georgia state law on what constitutes a fixture to determine that various pieces of automotive equipment installed in the site of a future car dealership were not fixtures. The sale documents and the behavior of the parties involved in demonstrated an intent to treat the equipment not as fixtures but as personal property, and thus the sale of all the car dealership's "assets," as defined in the sale documents, did not include the sale of the equipment. The Court granted the movant's motion for relief.

The Chapter 7 trustee sought the statutory maximum allowance, $52,591.52, authorized by section 326(a) of the Bankruptcy Code for services of the trustee. The Court noted that all applications for compensation by trustees must be based upon the criteria set forth in section 330 of the Bankruptcy Code and that section 326 simply fixes the maximum compensation that a trustee can recover. The Court awarded the trustee $20,000 in compensation.

Secondary lien holder filed a complaint against the primary lien holder of land owned by Chapter 7 Debtor alleging that primary lien holder was only allowed to seek reasonable attorney fees in its foreclosure sale of the land under 11 U.S.C. § 506(b) instead of under Ga. Code Ann. § 13-1-11, however Court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because Trustee had abandoned the land and Debtor no longer had any remaining interest in the land.

Court found that Chapter 7 Debtor was reckless in his actions but did not intend to deceive creditor and thereby denied creditor’s objection to discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) and 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(B).

In a Complaint to Determine Dischargeability of Debt, Court denied cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff and Defendant. The Court held that collateral estoppel did not apply to a state court's default judgment on issue of Defendant's fraud. The Court held that state court's default judgment was entitled to full faith and credit.

Debtor moved to amend her confirmed Chapter 13 plan after confirmation. Confirmed plan treated Respondent's liens as secured claims. Debtor's income decreased, and Debtor wanted to reclassify Respondent's liens as wholly unsecured claims. The Court denied the motion to modify, noting that Debtor's loss of income did not change the nature of Respondent's secured claims as established by the order of confirmation.

Defendant made a loan to Debtor so that Debtor could pay a specific creditor. Debtor understood that loan could only be used to pay that creditor. Debtor sold certain real property and put the proceeds into the same bank account as Defendant's loan. Debtor paid the creditor and repaid the loan to Defendant within the ninety-day preference period. The Court held that the repayment to Defendant was not protected by the earmarking doctrine. The Court held that Debtor held Defendant's loan proceeds in an implied trust and that the trustee could not recover the repayment as a preferential transfer.

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