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Showing 22 posts in Eastern District of Michigan.

Foster Swift Represents Prevailing Party: Chapter 13 Debtors May Not Exclude Voluntary Post-Petition Retirement Contributions From Disposable Income

In a recent Opinion, Judge Opperman from the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court held that a Chapter 13 debtor cannot exclude voluntary post-petition retirement contributions from disposable income.  This Opinion is significant for debtors, trustees, and creditors as it systematically changes the way the Eastern District of Michigan will treat post-petition voluntary retirement contributions in a Chapter 13. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 13, Eastern District of Michigan

Inherited IRAs can be exempted under § 522(d)(12)

The Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court recently held that a debtor can exempt an inherited IRA under 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(12).

The Eastern District Bankruptcy Court denied the Trustee's objection to an exemption claimed pursuant to § 522(d)(12) by a debtor in IRAs that she had inherited from her father.  The Court further rejected the Trustee's argument that inherited IRA funds cannot be considered "retirement funds" under § 522(d)(12) because the funds were not contributed to the IRA by the debtor.  Rather, the Court adopted the debtor's reasoning that the explicit language of § 522(d)(12) does not make a distinction between "inherited IRAs" and IRAs to which the debtor made the contributions. Read More ›

Categories: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Eastern District of Michigan

Creditors Cannot Benefit from Trustee and Debtor's Stipulation to Extend Deadline for Filing a Nondischargeability Complaint

Creditors who wish to object to the dischargeability of a debt must follow strict deadlines - and as one recent case illustrates, creditors cannot rely on an extension of those deadlines that is agreed upon by the debtor and the trustee.

In Five Star Laser, Inc., the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan upheld Judge Rhodes' decision granting a debtor's motion to dismiss a nondischargeability complaint as untimely and holding that a stipulation entered into by the debtor and the bankruptcy trustee to extend the deadline for filing a nondischargeability complaint applied to the trustee only. Read More ›

Categories: Eastern District of Michigan

District Court Affirms In Re Rahim: Chapter 7 Business Debtors' Case May Be Dismissed Under § 707(a)

In re Rahim, E.D. Mich., May 23, 2011 (Case No. 10-15123, Hon. Sean F. Cox).

Previously on this blog, we discussed In re Rahim, a case in which Judge Rhodes dismissed the Chapter 7 case of debtors with primarily non-consumer debts "for cause" under 11 U.S.C. § 707(a) because the case was not filed in good faith. The debtors, both practicing physicians, brought home an annual income of more than $500,000 and had multiple homes and luxury vehicles. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

Pre-petition tax refund garnishment avoidable under 522(h), but not 522(f).

Johnson v CACH, LLC (In re Johnson), E.D. Mich., December 20, 2010 (Case No. 10-12873, Hon. Robert H. Cleland)

When a creditor has a state court judgment, garnishing the judgment debtor's state income tax refund is a common collection method.  If the judgment debtor files bankruptcy, issues often arise as to whether the creditor can keep the refund or whether the debtor is entitled to recover and exempt the refund. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

Did You Know? | Debtors and Non-Filing Spouses May Lose Right to Rebut Presumption of Equal Ownership if Debtor Has Equal Rights to Asset

Often in bankruptcy cases involving a debtor with a non-filing spouse, the presumption of equal ownership arises.  Subject to certain exclusions, Section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code provides that all property in which the debtor has a legal or equitable ownership interest becomes property of the estate at the commencement of the case.  This includes property the debtor owns with a non-filing spouse.  In some situations, particularly if the debtor does not have an exemption available, the debtor will try to rebut the presumption of equal ownership. Read More ›

Categories: Did you Know?, Eastern District of Michigan

Did You Know? | Creditors have affirmative duty to release garnishments following bankruptcy filing.

In the "Did You Know?" section of the Michigan Bankruptcy Blog, we feature opinions that are not newly issued but that may be helpful for Michigan bankruptcy practitioners. 

When a person files bankruptcy, most collection actions are automatically stayed.  Subject to certain exceptions, Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code prohibits the commencement or continuation of an action to recover a pre-petition claim, the enforcement of a pre-petition judgment, and any act to collect a pre-petition claim against the debtor, among other things.  Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Did you Know?, Eastern District of Michigan

Eastern District: Business Debtors in Chapter 7 Must Tighten Their Belts, Too

In re Rahim, Bankr. E.D. Mich., Dec. 16, 2010 (Case No. 10-57577-R, Hon. Steven Rhodes).

When one thinks of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, the low-income consumer debtor who is overwhelmed by debt often comes to mind. But individuals whose debts are primarily "non-consumer" debts – usually business debts – may also qualify for Chapter 7 relief, even if they cannot pass the "means test" required for consumer debtors under BAPCPA. Because business debtors do not have to pass the means test, their incomes may be significantly higher than what one might expect to see in a Chapter 7 case. However, at least one Michigan bankruptcy court is requiring high-income business debtors to tighten their belts when they seek Chapter 7 relief.

In In re Rahim, the married debtors, both practicing physicians, earned a startlingly high income. Despite having filed Chapter 7, the debtors' annual income exceeded $500,000, and their expenses included sizeable mortgage payments on their home, vacation home, and rental home, plus payments on three luxury vehicles. Their debts included numerous mortgages and personal guaranty liability arising out of failed real estate ventures. Read More ›

Categories: Chapter 7, Eastern District of Michigan

Annuity Purchased by Non-Filing Spouse Can Become Property of Bankruptcy Estate

In re Olsen, E.D. Mich., Oct. 27, 2010 (Case No. 10-10926, Hon. Stephen J. Murphy, III, District Judge).

When a person files bankruptcy, all of his or her property becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. This concept of "property of the estate" casts a wide net and includes all of the bankruptcy debtor's legal and equitable interests in property. However, questions often arise when a debtor is listed as an owner of an asset that someone else purchased. In such cases, the debtor might argue that he or she is not the "true," or equitable, owner of the property and that the property therefore cannot be used to pay creditors.

In In re Olsen, the debtor's husband, who did not file bankruptcy, was in a motorcycle accident. He settled a claim for his personal injuries and used the settlement funds to purchase an annuity. He and his wife, the debtor, were listed as co-owners and co-annuitants, and both were entitled to receive payments under the annuity. Read More ›

Categories: Eastern District of Michigan

Bankruptcy courts split as to dischargeability of personal guaranty liability

In re Lipa, E.D. Mich., Aug. 17, 2010 (Case No. 04-74608, Hon. Steven Rhodes).

In re Weeks, W.D. Mich., Jan. 23, 2009 (Case No. 05-02298, 400 B.R. 117, Hon. Jeffrey R. Hughes).

It is not uncommon for debtors - particularly those who own businesses - to sign personal guaranties before their bankruptcy filing. Pre-petition obligations under those guaranties are generally discharged in bankruptcy. But when a post-petition obligation arises under such a guaranty, the Bankruptcy Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan are divided as to whether a guarantor-debtor is protected by his or her discharge. Read More ›

Categories: Eastern District of Michigan, Western District of Michigan