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 James D. Walker, Jr.

Debtor sought to enjoin a state criminal proceeding against him on the ground that it violated the discharge injunction. Defendant made a motion to dismiss. The Court abstained from exercising jurisdiction over the case because debtor failed to make an adequate showing of the extraordinary circumstance that the prosecution was commenced in bad faith.

The Court decided motions from two defendants to open default arising from violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction. Court considered four factors. The motion of one defendant was denied because the Court found he was culpable in the default due to his failure to retain counsel despite repeated suggestions by the Court that he do so. The Court granted the motion of the other defendant, finding failure of its explanation to file answer to be sufficient to satisfy good cause requirement.

Debtor sought to enjoin state criminal proceedings against him on the ground that they violated the discharge injunction. Defendant made a motion to dismiss. The Court abstained from exercising jurisdiction over the case because debtor failed to make an adequate showing of the extraordinary circumstance that the prosecutions were commenced in bad faith.

The Court decided motions from two defendants to open default arising from violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction. Court considered four factors. The motion of one defendant was denied because the Court found he was culpable in the default due to his failure to retain counsel despite repeated suggestions by the Court that he do so. The Court granted the motion of the other defendant, finding failure of its explanation to file answer to be sufficient to satisfy good cause requirement.

After the sale of Debtor’s real estate and two types of equipment to a single purchaser for a single price, the Court heard evidence on the allocation of the purchase price among the assets. The court gave little weight to the opinion of expert appraisers as to the value of the property because the sale had set that value. However, the Court relied upon the proportions that resulted from the appraisals to allocate the purchase price.

The Court found Creditors who repossessed property of the estate, and subsequently allowed that property to lose all value, in violation of the automatic stay. The Court ordered the Creditors to pay (1) actual damages for the loss in value of the property; (2) costs of the Trustee’s time and expenses in pursuing the estate’s interest in the property and; (3) pursuant to § 362(h), punitive damages for Creditors’ intentionally remaining ignorant of the requirements of bankruptcy law and for Creditors’ failure to obey a direct order of the Court.

Robert F. Hershner, Jr. (Retired)

The bank properly perfected its security interest on the certificate of title to the debtor's truck. The bank, mistakenly and inadvertently, released the title on the truck to the debtor. The Chapter 13 trustee contended that the bank's claim was unsecured. The Court held that the bank's security interest was still perfected and that the Chapter 13 trustee could not avoid the bank's security interest.

The debtor filed an action for divorce in state court. The state court later held that the debtor's actions in refinancing the marital residence were fraudulent and in contempt of a temporary consent order. The state court ordered the debtor to pay her husband's attorney's fees and to reimburse her husband for certain payments he had made to the IRS.

The bankruptcy court held that the debtor's obligations to her husband were not in the nature of alimony, maintenance, or support and therefore were dischargeable in bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court held that the debtor's obligation for postpetition services rendered by her husband's attorney was not dischargeable.

The debtor and creditor submitted a consent order that contained a six-month strict compliance provision. The creditor later filed a Default Motion supported by an affidavit setting forth the default. The creditor contended that the debtor still owed certain insurance premiums that preceded the consent order. The court disagreed and held that the consent order had resolved the dispute between the debtor and the creditor and that the debtor was not in default under the consent order. The court held that there was no reasonable basis for the creditor's Default Motion and awarded sanctions and attorney's fees in favor of the debtor.

Chief Judge John T. Laney, III

Debtor obtained an order from the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia to conduct an examination of a nondebtor party pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 2004. The nondebtor party moved to quash the subpoena asserting that the proper court to issue the subpoena was the court for the district in which the Rule 2004 examination was to take place. Denying the motion, the court held that the proper court to issue such subpoena was the court for the district in which the case is pending.

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