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 filed a complaint to subordinate the creditors' secured claims to all unsecured claims for purposes of distribution, 11 U.S.C.A. § 510(c).The creditors filed a motion to dismiss contending that a prior pending action in state court would determine the issues presented. The Court denied the motion to dismiss noting that the state court has no jurisdiction to subordinate the defendant's allowed claims. The Court also noted that the defendants' claims may be subordinated to some but not all unsecured claims.

Applicants sought reimbursement as administrative expenses the attorney fees they incurred in bringing an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition against the debtor. 11 U.S.C.A. § 503(b)(3)(A), (4). The debtor argued that the itemization of the services did not adequately describe the services rendered. The court held that the itemization was sufficient and was similar to those submitted in other bankruptcy cases. The court disallowed services which were not necessary to bringing the involuntary petition.

A surety provided a guardian bond to the debtors who were the guardians of their minor daughter. The debtors were removed as guardians and the successor guardian called upon the surety to honor its bond. The surety obtained a confession of judgment from the debtors. The debtors filed for Chapter 7 relief and the surety contended the debtors obligation was a nondischargeable defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity.

The court held that the surety was entitled to summary judgment on the issue that the debtors were acting in a fiduciary capacity and that the surety was a proper party to bring the nondischargeable action. The court held that there remain material questions of fact as to whether the debtors committed a defalcation.

The court denied the trustee’s motion to compromise an adversary proceeding for turnover when the action turned on a relatively simple issue state law cause of action in which the trustee had a probable chance of success, and the holders of the majority of unsecured claims opposed the settlement.

The court granted retroactive stay relief to validate a foreclosure sale when the creditor had no actual knowledge of the bankruptcy filing at the date of foreclosure and the debtor received no benefit from the real estate. Furthermore, the debtor had no equity in the property and it was not necessary to effectuate his Chapter 13 plan; thus the creditor was entitled to stay relief.

The debtor defaulted on monthly payments under a Contract For Deed. The contract provided a specific address for notices of default and termination. The creditor sent the notices to another address. The Court held that the creditor had not complied with the notice requirements and denied the creditor's motion for relief to dispossess the debtor.

Three Opinions: Mr. Lavender’s Motion, Judge Rice’s Motion, Puckett Foundations’ Motion - The debtor was hired to construct an addition to a home. The debtor received payment from the homeowner but failed to pay one of his subcontractors. The debtor and his wife filed for Chapter 13 relief. The homeowner filed an application for a criminal warrant against the debtor. The subcontractor filed a materialman's lien against the homeowner's property. The district attorney caused the debtor to be indicted for theft by conversion.

The debtor contended that the defendants had conspired to violate the automatic stay and that the defendants were using the criminal proceeding to collect a civil debt. The debtor sought sanctions, injunctive relief, and damages.

The Court held that the district attorney and the magistrate court judge had absolute immunity from a civil suit for damages. The subcontractor, in filing a materialman's lien, was exercising its rights to collect from the homeowner's property. The Court held that the debtor was not entitled to injunctive relief because he had not shown that a "debt collection defense" could not be raised in the state court criminal proceeding.

An individual who is not a licensed attorney filed on behalf of a corporation a complaint objecting to the dischargeability of debt. The Court advised that a corporation must be represented by an attorney in federal court. The corporation failed to obtain an attorney. The Court dismissed the corporation's complaint.

Judge John T. Laney, III

Creditor, Farmers Furniture, objected to the confirmation hearing in the Cersey and Ledford cases because the Debtors’ plans did not include all of the collateral securing the notes executed between the Debtors and Farmers Furniture. The Debtors claimed that the purchase money security interest ("PMSI") in the collateral was lost under the Transformation Rule when subsequent contracts with cross-security clauses were executed. However, the case law regarding this issue holds that if the contract contain a method for allocation, the PMSI will be enforceable. Because the contracts at issue contained an adequate allocation method, the PMSIs are enforceable.

The Court held a telephonic hearing to determine whether to close David and Vicki Wrens’("Debtors") case nunc pro tunc. The Wrens reopened the case to address an adversary proceeding, but failed to pay Trustee fees or file monthly operating reports in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1930 (a)(6). The Court determined that the Debtors did not meet the burden of extraordinary circumstances required for the granting of retroactive relief.

Pages