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.

Due to unavoidable financial distress, the debtors defaulted on a strict compliance order with respect to their mortgage. Prior to the default, they had complied with the order for 20 months. The order placed no limit on the duration of strict compliance. Although the Court generally grants stay relief upon strict compliance default, it may decline to do so in certain circumstances, such as those in this case ,when strict compliance is required beyond 18 months.

In a preference action, a transfer made by the debtor extinguished two obligations. The first was a compensation obligation to an employee that arose at the same the transfer was made. The second was a guarantee obligation to the bank that arose prior to the time of the transfer. The Court found the purpose of the transfer was to satisfy the compensation obligation and, thus, was made "on account of" a contemporaneous debt.

In a Chapter 13 plan, a 910 claim must receive the greater of (1) the full amount of the claim without interest, or (2) the amount the creditor would receive if the claim were crammed down with Till interest paid on the value of the collateral.

In a Chapter 13 plan, a 910 claim must receive the greater of (1) the full amount of the claim without interest, or (2) the amount the creditor would receive if the claim were crammed down with Till interest paid on the value of the collateral.

The debtor's case was dismissed because she failed to obtain pre-petition credit counseling and she met none of the three exceptions to the credit counseling requirement.

The debtor, who had filed a prior bankruptcy case five years earlier as a Chapter 13, converted to Chapter 7, and received a discharge, was eligible for a discharge in her current Chapter 13 case. The lookback period for determining whether a debtor is eligible for a discharge begins on the date the previous case was filed, not the date it was converted.

Debtor offered to guarantee credit extended to his company. The creditor declined to extend credit, but offered to provide products on COD terms. Consequently, the creditor rejected the offer of a guarantee and had no claim against debtor for the debts of his company.

Robert F. Hershner, Jr. (Retired)

Prior to filing for bankruptcy relief, the Chapter 11 debtor purchased director and officer liability insurance. The policies provided direct coverage to the directors and officers and indirect coverage to the debtor. The policies also paid for attorney fees incurred in defending a claim. The director and officers were entitled to have their claims paid before the debtor's claims were paid. Several creditors made claims against the directors and officers. The debtor did not object to the advancement by the insurance company of the directors and officers defense cost. The debtor, however, contended that the directors and officers should submit for review by the Court or the debtor a fee application for each advancement request. The directors and officers argued that the insurance company would monitor and review all defense cost requests and only pay reasonable costs and that review by the debtor or Court was not necessary. The Court was persuaded by this reasoning.

The United States Trustee contended that the debtor was a "health care business" and asked the court to order the appointment of a "patient care ombudsman" under 11 U.S.C.A. §333. The court held that under the specific facts presented in evidence, the appointment of an ombudsman was not necessary for the protection of patients. The court did not decide the issue of whether the debtor was a "health care business."

Chief Judge John T. Laney, III

Creditor Nuvell Credit Corp. (“Nuvell”) filed an objection to the confirmation of Debtor’s Chapter 13 Plan. In his plan, Debtor proposed to bifurcate and cramdown Nuvell’s undersecured claim using § 506 of the Code as was common practice prior to the enactment of certain provisions of BAPCPA. The “hanging paragraph” of § 1325(a), which was added by BAPCPA and became effective on October 17, 2005, prohibits bifurcation and cramdown where (1) the creditor has a purchase money security interest; (2) the debt was incurred within 910 days preceding the filing of the bankruptcy case; (3) the collateral for the debt is a motor vehicle; and (4) the motor vehicle was acquired for the personal use of the debtor. The Court SUSTAINED Nuvell’s objection holding that in the context of the retail installment sale of a motor vehicle in Georgia, “price,” for purposes of Georgia’s purchase money security interest statute, can include negative equity in a trade-in vehicle.

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