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. (Retired)

Rescission of an erroneously filed cancellation of security deed does not effect a transfer of an interest of debtor in property, and therefore is not a preference. Cancellation of a security deed does not, without payment of the underlying debt, remove the lien. Consequently, rescission of the cancellation does not serve to reinstate the lien.

Attorney-client relationship was not sufficient to establish fiduciary capacity for purposes of § 523(a)(4), when client had not entrusted any property to the attorney.

Chief Judge John T. Laney, III

The Court granted the Debtors' motion to voluntarily dismiss their Chapter 7 case after the Court determined the Debtors had not satisfied a two-pronged test: (1) Whether the Debtor can show cause to dismiss and (2) If the Debtor does show cause, whether the dismissal would prejudice creditors. The second prong was examined under a factors test.

The Court granted the Debtor's three objections to discharge against the same creditor when the creditor could not establish a chain of assignment for its claims. The Court discussed the basic federal rule that in bankruptcy, state law governs the substance of claims; the Court also examined Georgia state law cases illustrating the proper way to assign a claim.

A Chapter 7 Debtor had a 1/5 interest in a vested remainder in real estate, and the Trustee moved the Court to close the case while still retaining jurisdiction over the remainder interest so that the Trustee could administer the asset when the interest became a fee simple. Assuming without deciding that the Court indeed has the power to close a case and retain jurisdiction over a remainder interest, the Court held that the Trustee did not meet its burden in showing that the benefits in retaining jurisdiction over this particular asset overcame the burdens.

Judge James P. Smith

The debtor's proposed Chapter 13 plan contained "special provisions" which imposed affirmation duties with respect to payments received by and reporting requirements of the creditor holding the security deed on the debtor's residence. The creditor objected to confirmation of the plan contending that the "special provisions" violated the antimodification provision of 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(2). The court agreed and disapproved all but one of the "special provisions."

The Chapter 13 trustee filed an adversary proceeding to avoid as a preferential transfer the perfection of the creditor's security interest on the debtor's car. The creditor contends that res judicata barred the action because it was filed after confirmation of the Chapter 13 plan. The court held that the action was barred because the trustee knew about the defect in perfection prior to confirmation and that the plan treated the creditor's claim as a secured claim.

The debtor filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint to dischargeability because the complaint was filed after the bar date. The plaintiff was not initially listed on the bankruptcy schedules and first knew about the bankruptcy just four days prior to the bar date under Rule 4007(c). The court held that equitable tolling and 11 USC § 523(a)(3)(B) allowed the plaintiff's motion to extend the bar date so that the plaintiff's complaint would be deemed to have been timely filed.

Debtors/Homeowners sued mortgage company for violations of RESPA, Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP), Georgia Fair Lending Act (GAFLA), Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), Georgia Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA), promissory estoppel, and breach of contract, good faith and fair dealing. The court granted the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, Rule 12(b)(c) on counts except for one alleged violation of RESPA.

The debtor filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint to dischargeability because the complaint was filed after the bar date. The plaintiff was not initially listed on the bankruptcy schedules and first knew about the bankruptcy just four days prior to the bar date under Rule 4007(c). The court held that equitable tolling and 11 USC § 523(a)(3)(B) allowed the plaintiff's motion to extend the bar date so that the plaintiff's complaint would be deemed to have been timely filed.

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