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.

The Chapter 13 trustee contended that the debtor's Chapter 13 plan was not proposed in good faith. The plan proposed to pay in full the unsecured claims. The plan proposed to pay in full the secured claims and priority claims before any distributions were made on the unsecured claims. The plan also proposed to accelerate the payments on the secured claims by paying about $100 per month more than required under the terms of the contractual obligations. The trustee argued that the debtors could decide to, or circumstances may force them to, convert their Chapter 13 case to a Chapter 7 case after the secured claims are paid and before dividends are paid or completed on the unsecured claims. The Court determined that there were no unusual or exceptional circumstances that warranted preferring the secured creditors over the unsecured creditors. The Court held that the Chapter 13 plan was not proposed in good faith and sustained the trustee's objection to confirmation.

An ordinary debtor-creditor business relationship does not create a fiduciary duty for purposes of sustaining an action for fiduciary fraud under § 523(a)(4).

The defendant in a fraudulent transfer case was entitled to a jury trial because both the cause of action and relief available were legal in nature. The right to a jury trial was unaffected by inclusion of a request for equitable relief in the complaint.

The debtor failed to make the payments on her residence. The lender foreclosed on its deed to secure debt and was the highest bidder. The debtor filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case nine days later. The debtor sought to set aside the foreclosure and deal with her mortgage obligation through her confirmed Chapter 13 plan. The court held that the debtor's rights, title and equity of redemption were terminated when the lender made the highest bid at foreclosure. The court held that the debtor had no interest in her former residence when she filed for bankruptcy relief. The court granted the lender relief from the automatic stay to proceed with its remedies under state law.

Court refused to grant stay relief when the creditor essentially ignores evidence that its records fail to reflect numerous payments made by the debtor and received by the creditor.

The plaintiffs contended that the defendant-debtor, through fraud and false financial statements, induced them to invest in a business. The debtor was a shareholder, the president of, and managed the day to day operations of the business. The business failed. The plaintiffs contended that they suffered damages due to the defendant's fraud and that their claims were nondischargeable in bankruptcy under § 523(a)(2). The court held that the debtor had knowingly made false representations and published false financial statements. The court held that the damages suffered by the plaintiffs were nondischargeable in bankruptcy.

The debtor purchased an unimproved parcel of land. The debtors placed a mobile home upon the land. The mobile home was financed by a thrid party. The debtors later executed a mortgage on the land. The debtors filed for Chapter 13 relief, completed their plan payments, and obtained a discharge. The debt on the land was not paid in full through the Chapter 13 plan. The debtors contended that the mortgage on the land was not secured by their principal residence and was not protected by 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(2). The court held that the mobile home had become part of the land and that the mortgage had survived the debtor's bankruptcy.

In a preference action, the creditor could not prove that its sole transaction with the debtor was in the ordinary course of business, because it neither received payment according to the terms set forth in its invoice, nor did it provide any evidence to show the transaction was within industry standards

Although debtor was a guarantor to a mortgage but had no ownership interest in the real property, the court granted stay relief so the creditor could confirm the foreclose sale, which could result in exposing the debtor to personal liability on a deficiency claim.

Judge John T. Laney, III

Plaintiff Omega Cotton Company brought two claims against Debtor Loyd Bill Sutton. The first claim was based on a district court judgment in the amount of $308,430.25. The second claim was based on alleged fraud by the Debtor, resulting in a claimed loss of $4,523,400.00. Omega sought to have both claims exempted from discharge. On the first claim, the court determined that res judicata did not preclude a finding that the debt was dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4), because of the narrow definitions of fraud and defalcation as applied to the bankruptcy code. The court held that debt dischargeable. The court found that the second claim was precluded by res judicata, because Omega had a full and fair opportunity to litigate those claims in the previous district court case. Summary judgment was entered for the debtor.

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