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)

After debtor sold creditor’s collateral out of trust, creditor sought determination of nondischargeability under § 523(a)(2)(A), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(6). Under § 523(a)(2)(A) the creditor could not prove a false representation by imputing the fraud of one corporate principal to another, nor could the creditor prove justifiable reliance when it failed to follow its procedures for monitoring collateral. Similarly, under § 523(a)(6), the creditor could not show willful and malicious injury when the debtor was current on loan payments and creditor failed to monitor its collateral. However, creditor proved elements of § 523(a)(2)(B), and debtor could not escape liability under that section by choosing to remain willfully ignorant of his company’s financial situation.

Creditor’s proof of claim based on tort and contract damages would not be enforceable under state law, and thus was disallowed by the Court. The claim arose from a contract to perform automotive repairs, which did not give rise to an independent duty such that a tort action could be maintained. Furthermore, the terms of the agreement between the parties were so uncertain as to render the contract unenforceable.

Debtor and Ingram Equipment sold truck outfitted with dump body and knuckle boom loader to City of Madison. The Court held that Debtor had no interest in the amount of the sales price attributable to the dump body and loader; thus, the funds must be turned over to Ingram.

Creditor who leased a truck to the debtor sought stay relief on the ground his interest was not adequately protected. The Court agreed because the debtor could not meet the requirements for assuming the lease. Specifically the debtor was unable to cure his nonmonetary defaults.

Robert F. Hershner, Jr. (Retired)

The confirmed Chapter 13 plan provided that the creditor's claim would "be paid 100%." The creditor filed its proof of claim after the bar date. The Court held that the creditor's claim was disallowed for purposes of distribution even though the confirmed plan provides for payment on the claim. The Court noted, however, that disallowance of a claim and nondischargeability are separate issues.

Tucker filed a medical malpractice action in state court against the debtor for the alleged wrongful death of Tucker's daughter. The Court granted Tucker relief from the discharge injunction, 11 U.S.C.A. section 524, to proceed with the state court litigation to establish, if she can, debtor's liability and to proceed against the Debtor's liability insurer if the debtor is found liable in the state court litigation.

Creditors failed to file proofs of claim as provided in settlement agreement. Chapter 7 Trustee and Debtor argued that claims should be disallowed. The Court held that appropriate remedy for breach of settlement agreement was monetary damages resulting from the breach.

The bank financed the debtor's purchase of two vehicles. The bank filed a financing statement, but did not perfect its security interest on the certificates of title. The Court held that the trustee could avoid the bank's security interest in the vehicles under 11 U.S.C.A. section 544(a)(1). The Court held that the financing statement was not effective to perfect the bank's security interest.

Chief Judge John T. Laney, III

The Court held a trial to determine the dischargeability of debt created by losses that International Fidelity Insurance Company ("Plaintiff") suffered after Raymond Jerry Baxter’s ("Debtor") company went out business and Debtor filed for bankruptcy. After stating that Plaintiff did not meet its burden required by 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(B), the Court held in favor of Debtor, stating that Plaintiff only proved its own company policy, not the industry norm. However, the Court held in favor of Plaintiff on the 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4) allegation, as to jobs performed in New York state, if Plaintiff can prove during the damages stage that Debtor or his company misappropriated funds from the project owner(s). The issue of damages was reserved for a later trial after all job(s) are completed and an accurate accounting of losses can be done.

In the adversary proceeding regarding the complaint filed by Douglas McArthur Byrd ("Debtor") to recover property of the estate, Atlanta Casualty Company ("Defendant") made a Motion for Summary Judgment. After ruling on several evidentiary issues, the Court held in favor of Defendant stating that Debtor’s material misrepresentation that he did not know whether his vehicle had been found, when he had been told by the police six days earlier that the vehicle had been recovered, violated the Cooperation and Fraud & Misrepresentation clauses of Defendant’s automobile insurance policy. Therefore, as a matter of law, Defendant was not required to pay Debtor for his alleged loss.

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