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The Provisional Nature of Discharge: Trustee's Knowledge of Fraud May Not Be Imputed to United States Trustee

The purpose of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to discharge debts. But even after obtaining a discharge, a debtor is not totally in the clear. A recent case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan involves an adversary proceeding in which the United States Trustee sought to revoke a Chapter 7 debtor’s (the “Debtor”) discharge.[i] Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Fraud & Abuse

Supreme Court Adopts a Broad Reading of “Actual Fraud” Under the Bankruptcy Code

On May 16, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz[1], ruling that the term “actual fraud” in section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code includes forms of fraud that do not involve a fraudulent misrepresentation.

In this case, Husky International Electronics, Inc. sold products to and was owed money by Chrysalis Manufacturing Corporation. Daniel Ritz, one of the owners of Chrysalis, transferred money from Chrysalis to other entities that he owned, draining Chrysalis of its assets and making it impossible for Chrysalis to pay its debts owed to Husky and other creditors. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, U.S. Supreme Court

Bankruptcy Court Decision to Allow Late-Filed Claim in Chapter 13 Case Reversed on Appeal

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to confirm plans that provide for the payment of their debts through future earnings while, at the same time, retaining their assets. If a creditor wishes to receive payments pursuant to a debtor’s plan, the creditor must file a proof of claim. And it must do so timely. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 13

Bankruptcy Court Considers Whether Chapter 7 Trustee May Bring Private Cause of Action For Alleged Breach of Debtor’s Duties

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recently considered the issue of whether a Chapter 7 trustee may bring a cause of action against a debtor for damages caused to the bankruptcy estate by the debtor’s alleged failure to comply with the debtor’s duties under section 521 of the Bankruptcy Code. Under the circumstances, the court held that no private cause of action existed and thus ruled in favor of the debtor on the issue.[1] Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

Confirmation of Chapter 13 Plan that Favors Debtor's Attorney Over Homestead Mortgage Reversed on Appeal

Bankruptcy is all about the debtor’s assets, specifically how many and who gets them. The reason that many bankruptcy cases are contentious is that the parties often disagree about the amount of assets available for distribution to creditors, as well as how the assets should be divvied up. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 13, Eastern District of Michigan

Bankruptcy Court Sanctions Lawyer, But Appeals Court Reverses and Rules that Lawyer’s Aggressive Advocacy Did Not Cross the Line

In a recent case, a lawyer was sanctioned by an Ohio bankruptcy judge for his conduct in connection with an adversary proceeding he brought on behalf of a client against a Chapter 7 debtor. The lawyer was vindicated, though, after the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Sixth Circuit (the “BAP”) reversed the bankruptcy court on appeal. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 7

District Court Reverses Bankruptcy Court Ruling that State Criminal Restitution is Dischargeable

Bankruptcy is a process that permits people to discharge debts, but not all debts are dischargeable. In a recent opinion, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (the “District Court”) reversed a U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (the “Bankruptcy Court”) ruling that a state court criminal restitution claim is dischargeable. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

Collateral Estoppel Take Two: Bankruptcy Court Revisits Issue Preclusion in Adversary Proceeding

In the Summer of 2014, we wrote about a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan (the “Bankruptcy Court”) involving an intra-family squabble. Our analysis focused on the Bankruptcy Court’s decision related to cross motions for summary judgment filed by the parties, and whether the doctrine of “collateral estoppel ”was applicable to the claims being asserted by the parties in an adversary proceeding pending in the bankruptcy.

While bankruptcy offers a fresh start to debtors, it’s not always a fast fresh start, as evidenced by the fact that the Bankruptcy Court recently published another opinion in the same adversary proceeding relating to a similar claim and again analyzing the applicability of collateral estoppel. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Western District of Michigan

Supreme Court Refuses to Review Student Loan Bankruptcy Case

Students have taken on more than $1 trillion in debt to pay for the relentlessly rising costs of higher education. With that much debt outstanding, it’s no surprise that there are increasing numbers of borrowers defaulting on student loan debt, and seeking to discharge that debt by filing for bankruptcy protection. But, as a Wisconsin man recently learned, discharging student loan debt in bankruptcy is no easy feat. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, U.S. Supreme Court

Changes to Bankruptcy Forms To Be Effective December 1st

As part of a modernization effort that began in 2008 that is being spearheaded by the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules, most official bankruptcy forms are being replaced with revised, reformatted and renumbered versions, effective December 1, 2015. Read More ›

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