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.

Debtor's right to receive income from a trust was property of the estate when the trustee had no right to accumulate or withhold the income and the income was not intended for the debtor's support.

Debtor who bought a car but failed to pay the creditor for the purchase merely violated a promise to pay, which did not rise to the level of fraud under § 523(a)(2), fiduciary defalcation under § 523(a)(4), or willful and malicious injury under § 523(a)(6).

Debtor who sold collateral and failed to remit proceeds to secured creditor did not cause a willful and malicious injury pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) because he used the proceeds in a manner intended to benefit the creditor.

Creditor failed to state a claim for willful and malicious injury under § 523(a)(6), when the facts asserted in various legal proceedings, if taken as true, amount to nothing more than negligence.

When a judgment lien creditor fails to prove the invalidity of the debtor's exemptions, his lien will be avoided to the extent it impairs any exemptions.

Chief Judge James P. Smith

Some of the prepetition sale proceeds from real estate jointly owned by the debtors and the defendants were placed in an escrow account. After the debtors filed for Chapter 7 relief, the parties disagreed as to the purpose of the escrow. The Court held that there was no meeting of the minds as to the purpose of the escrow, no valid and binding escrow was formed and that the debtors' interest in the escrowed funds were property of the estate.

The Chapter 13 trustee objected to confirmation of the debtors' proposed plan contending that the plan was not proposed in good faith because the debtors wanted to keep a home with a large mortgage payment in which they had no equity while paying a low dividend to unsecured creditors. The court applied the Kitchen factors and considered the totality of the circumstances and found that the debtors' plan was proposed in good faith.

The plaintiff contended that the debtor's obligation arising from a state court judgement for breach of fiduciary duty was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(c)(4) and (6). The bankruptcy court held that collateral estoppel applied to the state court judgment and found that the debtor's intentional breach of fiduciary duty was nondischargeable under § 523(a)(6). The bankruptcy court also found that the state court judgment for breach of fiduciary duty did not satisfy the requirement for nondischargeability for fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity under § 534(a)(4).

Judge John T. Laney, III

Receiver filed for bankruptcy for five business under state receivership. Question as to whether filing was in bad faith when Superior Court entered order nunc pro tunc after the filing. Held that nunc pro tunc order is void, and that bankruptcy estate retains exclusive jurisdiction. Also, debtors' principals were not in position to act as fiduciaries due to the fact that they were indicted and currently under trial for various Georgia criminal charges.

The court held that a creditor can seek relief from the discharge injunction to pursue a judgment of liability against the debtor for the sake of recovering against the debtor.s insurer. The court also relied upon 11 U.S.C. §524(e) for the proposition that a creditor may seek relief from the permanent injunction in order to establish liability of the debtor to recover from a third party.

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