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Chief Judge Phyllis M. Jones

The FDA did not violate the automatic stay by filing suit in District Court against the Debtor or by issuing a Press Release.  Court used its power under Section 105(a) to impose a temporary stay on the issuance of any future press releases or alerts by the FDA, subject to numerous conditions, but would not impose a stay of the District Court action.

Creditor’s participation in the case was insufficient to constitute an informal proof of claim. Objection to claim was sustained and claim was disallowed.

Judge Ben T. Barry

The debtor filed an adversary proceeding objecting to the creditor’s secured status and alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [FDCPA]. The Court granted the creditor’s motion to dismiss the adversary proceeding, finding that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction following the debtors’s voluntarily dismissal of their bankruptcy case.

The Court overruled the chapter 7 trustee’s objection to the debtor’s amended claim of exemptions, finding that the Supreme Court’s statement in Law v. Siegal that denial of an exemption can only be based on a ground specified in the code effectively overruled the Eighth Circuit’s prior holding in In re Kaelin that a bankruptcy court could deny a debtor’s amended exemption for bad faith or if prejudice to creditors was found. Affirmed on appeal.

After reviewing the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the taxing entity finding that the debtor’s tax liability to the state is nondischargeable under § 523(a)(1)(B)(i). According to the code, a return must satisfy “the requirements of applicable nonbankruptcy law (including applicable filing requirements).” Because the timely filing of a return is a requirement under state law and the debtor filed each of the returns in question late, the court found that the debtor did not file a return for purposes of the bankruptcy code.

In this order, the second of two in this case, the court denied the debtor's Rule 59 motion to alter or amend the court's order denying the debtor’s motion for contempt. The court also found that the debtor appeared to raise a new legal theory to prove the first element required for a finding of contempt.

The court denied the trustee's motion for turnover of assets, finding that the debtor’s personal injury cause of action and the funds from settling that claim were not part of debtor's bankruptcy estate under § 348(f)(1) when her case converted to a chapter 7. The trustee did not allege that the conversion was in bad faith and the funds were no longer in the debtor’s possession when the case converted. The court also denied the trustee's objection to discharge, finding no fraud or other abuse by the debtor under § 727.

The court sustained a creditor's objection to confirmation of the debtor's amended plan because the debtor’s proposal to make a balloon payment did not satisfy the statutory requirement to make payments to the creditor in equal monthly amounts under § 1325(a)(5)(B).

In this order, the first of two in this case, the court denied the debtor's motion for contempt for violation of a discharge order against two loan servicing companies because the debtor did not prove by clear and convincing evidence the servicers had knowledge of debtor's discharge, the first of two elements required to be proven.

Considering all relevant facts and circumstances, including the debtor’s choice to only work part-time, the court found that debtor's ability to pay her student loan debt was entirely within her control. The court found the debt nondischargable under § 523(a)(8); the debtor had a budgetary surplus and agreed at trial that she could afford a payment of $30.00 a month, the current payment amount. The debtor has appealed the decision.