Opinions

The Southern District of Illinois offers a database of opinions. These opinions were entered between the period of 2/1987 and the present. To conduct a detailed search, enter a keyword or case number in the search box to the right.

 

Opinions can also be viewed via the U.S. GPO's Federal Digital System

Date Filedsort ascending Summary Case Number PDF
09/30/2021

In re: Illinois Star Centre, LLC

Summary: The Court held an evidentiary hearing to determine the value of a retail shopping center (the “Mall”) operated by the debtor, and the adjacent real property (the “800 building”), owned by a non-debtor entity. Both properties were sold together for $3,200,000.00, so the Court had to determine how to allocate the proceeds from the sale of the Mall and 800 Building using information provided by appraisers from both parties. After making certain adjustments from the appraisals, the Court found that the mall has a value of $1,650,000.00, while the 800 building has a value of $1,550,000.00.

17-30691 View
09/22/2021

In re: Robert J Roedl

Summary: The U.S. Trustee filed a Motion asking the Court to disgorge the fees of Debtor’s counsel and/or to impose sanctions. The U.S. Trustee asserted that counsel failed to conduct a proper investigation into the financial affairs of the Debtor, which led to the Debtor’s failure to disclose a zero-turn lawnmower on his bankruptcy schedules. In particular, the U.S. Trustee contended that a reasonable investigation of the Debtor’s financial affairs required counsel to review the website judici.com, which would have revealed the Debtor’s divorce case and the judgment awarding the lawnmower to the Debtor.

While encouraging the review of public databases, the Court found that the failure to disclose the lawnmower in this case resulted from a lack of candor on the part of the Debtor rather than a failure to investigate on the part of Debtor’s counsel that would warrant disgorgement of fees or sanctions.

20-31140 View
04/09/2021

In re: Shay Allen

Summary: The Debtor had previously disclosed in her Voluntary Petition and all of her Chapter 13 Plans that she had a Back Pay claim with her employer but had not received it yet. The Debtor informed the Chapter 13 Trustee that she was not going to receive any of the Back Pay claim in 2020, but the Trustee’s review of her 2019 tax returns showed that she had in fact received payment. The Trustee then filed a Motion to Compel requiring the Debtor to file Amended Schedules I and J and another Amended Plan if necessary. The Debtor complied and in her Third Amended Plan she sought to decrease the plan duration from 60 to 36 months and to provide an increase in monthly payments over the last 12 months. The Trustee objected to the Third Amended Plan and wanted the Debtor to provide all of her disposable income effective January 2020 or provide a non-modifiable pool of $8,766.56 representing the difference in disposable income and monthly plan payments from January 2020 to November 2020. The Debtor objected to Trustee’s objection arguing that the Trustee was seeking a retroactive increase in plan payments that was impermissible under 11 U.S.C. § 1329.

The Court found that the Trustee was not seeking a retroactive increase in monthly plan payments since the parties had contemplated that some or all of the Back Pay claim would be paid to the creditors through the plan once it was received. The Court then determined that it could not rule on the whether the Third Amended Plan was confirmable, and the Confirmation hearing was reset to allow the parties to address the issues raised under 11 U.S.C. § 1329.

 

18-60420 View
03/17/2021

In re: Gateway Wireless v. Addy Source

Summary: Plaintiff-Debtor filed a Complaint to Avoid and Recover Transfers Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§547, 548 and 550. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint asserting that because the bankruptcy case was closed prior to the Complaint being filed, the Plaintiff was barred by the statute of limitations described in Section 546(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code. In denying the Motion to Dismiss, the Court found that the Debtor fell under an exception to Section546(a)(2), in that Section 546(a)(2) no longer applies as a limit if the order closing the bankruptcy case is vacated. The day after the bankruptcy case was closed, the Debtor had filed a Motion to Set Aside the final decree, which the Court had granted. Because the final decree had been vacated, the Court held that the Debtor was not time barred by Section 546(a)(2) from filing its Complaint.

20-03028 View
03/17/2021

In re: Gateway Wireless v. GTR Source

Summary: Plaintiff-Debtor filed a Complaint to Avoid and Recover Transfers Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§547, 548 and 550. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint asserting that because the bankruptcy case was closed prior to the Complaint being filed, the Plaintiff was barred by the statute of limitations described in Section 546(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code. In denying the Motion to Dismiss, the Court found that the Debtor fell under an exception to Section546(a)(2), in that Section 546(a)(2) no longer applies as a limit if the order closing the bankruptcy case is vacated. The day after the bankruptcy case was closed, the Debtor had filed a Motion to Set Aside the final decree, which the Court had granted. Because the final decree had been vacated, the Court held that the Debtor was not time barred by Section 546(a)(2) from filing its Complaint.

20-03039 View
03/03/2021

In re: Nick Brunstein and Judith Driskill-Brunstein

Summary:  The Debtors filed their First Amended Plan where they provided to pay the Creditor’s claim at 0% interest. The Creditor objected and asserted that under Till v. SCS Credit Corp, 541 U.S. 465 (2004), the Plan needed to be amended to provide for the present value of its claim, with interest as calculated under Till. The Debtors opposed the payment of additional interest, asserting that the Creditor would receive more than it would under the original contract.

            The Creditor’s objection raised two issues. The first issue was whether the Debtors were required to pay interest at all under Till. In sustaining the objection in part, the Court found that Debtors were required to pay interest under Till. The next issue became what the appropriate dollar amount of interest the Creditor was entitled to under Till. In overruling this part of the objection, the Court found that the Creditor had not established the method of determining the total amount of interest to be repaid and granted the debtors time to file an Amended Plan to which the Creditor could object.

20-30542 View
02/17/2021

In re: Michael and Charlotte Lash

Summary:  The Debtors filed a motion to dismiss their Chapter 13 case to which the Trustee objected.  The Trustee asserted that the Debtors failure to disclose several worker’s compensation claims, as well as errors and omissions on their schedules and statements, constituted grounds for dismissal of this case with prejudice pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 349(a).

While acknowledging that Debtors are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of their statement and schedules, the Court determined that in this case, the problems were largely caused by errors and misjudgments by their counsel, and not by the Debtors’ misconduct.  Further, after hearing the testimony of the Debtors, the Court did not find “bad faith” sufficient to warrant a severe sanction such as barring discharge of their pre-petition debts.

19-30708 View
10/30/2020

In re: George H Wise

Summary: Debtor is represented by a local attorney of UpRight Law, LLC (“UpRight”). In reviewing the debtor’s schedules, the Court noticed that the local attorney was charging significantly more filing as a partner for UpRight than he typically does when filing under his own practice. Further review showed that the debtor’s case was not filed until 17 months after paying UpRight attorney’s fees in full, and although the debtor qualified for waiver of the filing fee, no waiver was submitted by UpRight on his behalf. Additionally, after the debtor had completed his payments to UpRight and was waiting for his bankruptcy to be filed, he was the subject of two creditor collection suits. One lawsuit concluded in a judgment against him, and the other was still pending at the time of the bankruptcy filing. These concerns led the U.S. Trustee to file Motions for 2004 Examinations of the debtor and his attorney. Before the Motions for 2004 Examinations were ruled upon, UpRight filed Motions to Close the case, arguing that the Court was required to close the case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §350. At the hearing on the Motions to Close, the Court denied the Motions based on its concerns with the debtor’s representation by UpRight and the fact that the Motions for 2004 Examinations had not been rule upon. In the Court’s written Opinion denying the Motions to Close, the Court held that not only was it not required to close the case at that time, but the Court has an independent statutory duty to review attorneys’ fees pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §329 and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2017. Although administratively the case was capable of being closed, the pending matters before the Court supported its decision to keep the case open.

20-30346 View
10/30/2020

In re: Albert Dean Johnson, II

Summary: Debtor is represented by a local attorney of UpRight Law, LLC (“UpRight”). In reviewing the debtor’s schedules, the Court noticed that the local attorney was charging significantly more filing as a partner for UpRight than he typically does when filing under his own practice. Further review showed that the debtor’s case was not filed until one year after first retaining UpRight, and although he qualified for waiver of the filing fee, no waiver was submitted on his behalf by UpRight. Additionally, during the time the debtor was represented by UpRight, he was subjected to two creditor lawsuits in state court. One of the creditors obtained a judgment against the debtor and garnished his wages, while the other was pursuing a foreclosure action. These concerns led the U.S. Trustee to file Motions for 2004 Examinations of the debtor and his attorney, which were granted. Subsequently, UpRight filed Motions to Close the case, arguing that the Court was required to close the case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §350. In denying the Motions to Close, the Court held that not only was it not required to close the case at that time, but the Court has an independent statutory duty to review attorneys’ fees pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §329 and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2017. Although administratively the case was capable of being closed, the pending matters before the Court supported its decision to keep the case open.

19-60320 View
10/30/2020

In re: Donald G Lankford

Summary: Debtor is represented by a local attorney of UpRight Law, LLC (“UpRight”). In reviewing the debtor’s schedules, the Court noticed that the local attorney was charging significantly more filing as a partner for UpRight than he typically does when filing under his own practice. Further review showed that the debtor’s case was not filed until one year after first retaining UpRight. Additionally, while the debtor waited for his bankruptcy to be filed, he was subjected to three creditor lawsuits. One of those actions resulted in a judgment against him, and two of the suits were still pending at the time of the bankruptcy filing. These concerns led the U.S. Trustee to file Motions for 2004 Examinations of the debtor and his attorney, which were granted. Although the Examinations had not yet taken place, UpRight filed Motions to Close the case, arguing that the Court was required to close the case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §350. In denying the Motions to Close, the Court held that not only was it not required to close the case at that time, but the Court has an independent statutory duty to review attorneys’ fees pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §329 and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2017. Although administratively the case was capable of being closed, the pending matters before the Court supported its decision to keep the case open.

19-31097 View

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