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)

Court denied discharge to debtor who transferred his one-half interest in his residence one month prior to filing for bankruptcy. The court found the transfer was made with intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)2)(A).

When assignee of a credit card claim failed to attached a copy of the assignment to its proof of claim, the proof of claim was nevertheless entitled to prima facie validity under Rule 3001(f) so long as an attached summary included substantially all the information required by Rule 3001(c)(3)(A). Debtor's testimony that he did not know the assignee and had never done business with the assignee was not sufficient to rebut the presumption of validity when debtor admitted the debt on his schedules and no competing proofs of claim were filed. Therefore, the debtor's objection to the proof of claim based on unenforceability under state law was overruled.

The debtor's student loans were nondischargeable because debtor failed to prove repayment of the loans would cause undue hardship. The court applied the three-prong Brunner analysis, and found the debtor failed to prove prong 2: that repayment of the loans would prevent her from maintaining a minimal standard of living for the duration of the loan repayment period. The debtor was currently employed. Although she might have to change jobs in the future, she had no health problems preventing her from working; and she could expect her expenses to decrease in the near future.

Debtor's errors and omissions from schedules were based on carelessness and inadequate legal counsel. They did not rise to the level of fraudulent intent necessary to deny a discharge under 11 USC sec. 727(a)(2) or (a)(4).

Secured creditor objected to confirmation of Chapter 13 Debtor's plan on the ground that the plan undervalued its collateral, a manufactured home. Debtor conceded the home was undervalued but disputed the creditor's valuation. At a hearing, Debtor presented evidence of value based on a market approach and comparable sales, and the creditor presented evidence of value based on a cost approach and NADA values. The court found Debtor's evidence better reflected current retail values for manufactured homes in the locality. Therefore, the Court accepted the value proffered by Debtor and required Debtor to amend his plan to reflect that value.

Chief Judge John T. Laney, III

In response to two pro se adversary complaints, the debtor moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, for a more particular statement, and to strike allegations. The Court addressed, at length, each of the debtor's objections to the complaints. The Court granted in part and denied in part the debtor's motions, and the Court gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaints.

In response to two pro se adversary complaints, the debtor moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, for a more particular statement, and to strike allegations. The Court addressed, at length, each of the debtor's objections to the complaints. The Court granted in part and denied in part the debtor's motions, and the Court gave the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaints.

The Chapter 7 trustee moved for summary judgment in an adversary proceeding seeking to avoid the debtor's allegedly fraudulent transfers to the debtor's son. In a lengthy opinion, the Court held that the record contained many disputed issues of material fact arising from the defendant's argument that the debtor was merely returning property belonging to the debtor. The Court also examined the impact of the 2010 amendments to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.

The creditor who financed the debtor's vehicle purchase was named as a lienholder on the vehicle title certificate, despite the debtor not having signed a security agreement. The debtor moved the Court to order the creditor to remove its name from the title. Under Florida law, which applied to this case, notation on a title certificate does not in itself grant a security interest--the security interest must be in a separate, written document. The Court held that the creditor was unsecured and granted the debtor's motion.

Judge James P. Smith

Creditor's deceased husband had invested in a liquidation business (GLC) but later lost the money invested when GLC turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.  Creditor contended that debtor had solicited her deceased husband to invest while knowing that GLC was a Ponzi scheme and that claim was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. Section 523(a)(2)(A), (4) and (6).  Court found that debtor did not know about Ponzi scheme, that there was no intent to deceive and the claim was dischargeable in bankruptcy.

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