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 debtor's attorney asked the court to determine that attorneys are not debt relief agencies under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. No party had threatened to enforce the debt relief agency provisions against the attorney. The court held that the attorney had failed to satisfy the case or controversy requirements necessary for the exercise of judicial power.

The debtor’s personal injury attorney failed to satisfy the rules of professional conduct by failing to perfect service of the complaint failing to give the debtor sufficient information to make an informed decision regarding settlement of her case, and pressuring the debtor to settle the case.

The debtor claimed an exemption of $1,000 in certain land and indicated that he intended to maximize his exemptions to the extent allowed by law. The court held that because he exempted all the value available in the property, he had exempted it in full and was entitled to any appreciation.

The court rejected the debtor’s motion to appeal in forma pauperis the order dismissing his case. The debtor did not provide the required affidavit stating that he was unable to pay the costs of appeal and he provided no other evidence demonstrating his inability to pay.

The court denied the cross-motions for summary judgment noting that there were genuine issues of material fact as to the parties acting in good faith and fair dealing concerning certain leases.

The Chapter 11 debtor contended that the defendants' secured claims should be equitably subordinated to the claims of all other creditors. 11 U.S.C.A. § 510(c). The debtor contended that the defendants were insiders or fiduciaries for purposes of establishing the standard and burden of proof. The debtor also contended that the defendants' claims should be treated as stock redemption claims subject to no fault subordination. The court rejected both of the debtor's contentions.

The enhanced $20,000 homestead exemption for spouses applies only when the residence is titled in only one spouse and that spouse is the debtor. When the property is jointly owned, the debtor is only entitled to a $10,000 exemption.

The Chapter 11 debtor filed a motion for authorization to schedule an auction for the sale of substantially all of its assets. The debtor also requested approval of certain bidding procedures to govern the auction. Certain lenders agreed to be a "stalking horse bidder." The court granted the debtor's motion noting that, after the auction, the debtor must return to the court for approval of the sale.

Plaintiff's counsel filed a complaint to determine the dischargeability of a debt two days after the deadline provided by Bankruptcy Rule 4007(c). Plaintiff's counsel contended that his failure to timely file the complaint was excusable neglect. The court held that Bankruptcy Rules 4007(c) and 9006(b)(3) do not authorize the court to extend the deadline for excusable neglect. The court held that Plaintiff's untimely complaint must be dismissed.

Judge John T. Laney, III

Chapter 13 debtor filed Motion to Substitute Collateral following the post-confirmation, total destruction of his 1998 Grand Prix automobile. The destroyed automobile was jointly titled in the names of Debtor and his wife. Debtor’s wife, not the Debtor, was named as “insured” on the insurance policy covering the automobile. AmeriCredit Financial, holder of the priority security interest in the destroyed automobile, was named as “loss payee” in the insurance policy covering the automobile. Debtor, via his motion, requested that he be permitted to use the proceeds from the insurance policy to purchase a replacement vehicle and to have that vehicle substituted for the destroyed collateral of AmeriCredit. AmeriCredit objected, arguing that as “loss payee,” it was entitled to the insurance proceeds. The Court denied Debtor’s motion and held that AmeriCredit was entitled to the insurance proceeds to the extent of the balance owed by Debtor on AmeriCredit’s confirmed Chapter 13 claim. The insurance proceeds, in fact, did not exceed the balance owed on AmeriCredit’s confirmed Chapter 13 claim. The Court’s holding follows the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Stevens (In re Stevens), 130 F.3d 1027 (11th Cir. 1997). This Court cautioned in its opinion that its holding is limited to the facts of this case and that the outcome could differ in cases where the collateral at issue has not revested in the debtor (either because of pre-confirmation destruction or because of a provision in the Chapter 13 Plan) by the time the collateral is destroyed.

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