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.


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Date Filedsort ascending Summary Case Number PDF

In re: Jennifer Dawn McKay

Summary: The debtor’s first amended plan was confirmed on November 18, 2018, providing a pool to general unsecured creditors in the amount of $105,520.80. At all times the debtor was considered an above-median debtor. Eighteen days after confirmation, the debtor filed a third amended plan and subsequently, a fourth amended plan, which reduced the pool to unsecured creditors from $105,520.80 to $0, despite a minimal decrease in income on the amended schedules. The trustee objected to this plan on the basis of bad faith. The debtor’s position was that post confirmation, disposable income would be calculated using actual expenses on schedules I and J for a below median debtor, rather than utilizing IRS standard expenses on form 122C-2 for an above median debtor. The court sustained the Trustee’s objection, finding that the fourth amended plan was not filed in good faith. The Court determined that the debtor’s delayed amendment of her plan and schedules until after confirmation was an attempt to deviate from the standard means test on form 122C-2, equating to an unfair manipulation of the Bankruptcy Code.

18-31088 View

In re: Chad Robert Bullock

Summary: On March 1, 2019, the Court entered an order requiring the debtor to file an amended plan to provide for one-hundred percent repayment to his unsecured creditors. The amendment was precipitated by the debtor’s post-petition receipt of a substantial worker’s compensation settlement which he failed to immediately disclose. The debtor appealed and then sought a stay of the order—without bond—pending appeal. The Court denied the debtor’s motion finding that he had failed to establish (1) that he would likely succeed on appeal; (2) that he would suffer irreparable harm if a stay was not granted; (3) that other parties, particularly unsecured creditors would not be harmed; and (4) that imposing a stay would be in the public interest. In reaching its conclusion, the Court reiterated that plan modification is permitted where a debtor experiences a post-confirmation increase in income and, further, that this income may be considered in calculating a debtor’s disposable income—even if the income is otherwise exempt.

14-40875 View

In re: Richard Jones

Summary: Prior to filing, debtor withdrew $50,000 from his IRA and deposited $49,000.00 of the funds into his personal checking account.  Less than 60 days later, debtor purchased a $20,000 cashier’s check from his bank and deposited those funds into the same IRA.  Approximately four months later, debtor filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.  Debtor claimed a $40,000.00 exemption in the IRA under 735 ILCS § 5/12-1006.  The trustee objected on the basis that $20,000 of the funds lost their exempt status once they were withdrawn from the IRA.  Debtor countered that the funds were reinvested into the same IRA within the 60-day rollover time frame allowed by the Internal Revenue Service regulations, and that the funds were in a protected retirement account on the date of filing bankruptcy.   The trustee did not raise any allegations of fraud nor did he argue that debtor improperly converted nonexempt property into exempt property. The Court overruled the trustee’s objection, finding that he failed to meet his burden of proving that the exemption was improperly claimed.

18-31532 View

In re: Dene Shaeffer

Summary: In this Chapter 7 case, the Creditor moved for attorney’s fees after a hearing regarding the Debtor’s Motion for Contempt and Sanctions. The Debtor was unable to prove the factual allegations in her Motion and was found to be not credible after evidence of a pattern of deceit and dishonesty was presented. Because the Debtorwas unable to provide any evidence of her allegations and was completely uncooperative throughout the discovery process, the Creditor sought sanctions pursuant to Rule 9011. The Court concluded that the Debtor’s conduct was a violation of Rule 9011(b)(3) and awarded the Creditor reasonable attorney’s fees.

17-30052 View

In re: Barbara A Mosley

Summary: This case presented the issue of whether the Court must dismiss or convert a Chapter 13 case for cause where, due to substantial educational loans, a debtor exceeded the debt limits imposed by 11 U.S.C. § 109(e). The debtor in this case listed unsecured, non-contingent, liquidated debts totaling $513,550.73 on her Schedule E/F. This figure included $384,165.00 in student loans. The Chapter 13 Trustee moved to dismiss or convert the case for cause pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 1307(c). He asserted that because the amount of the debtor’s unsecured debts exceeded the limits set forth in 11 U.S.C. § 109(e), she was ineligible for Chapter 13 relief. Although the debtor acknowledged that she exceeded the debt limit, she argued that because most of her unsecured debt was student loans, she should still be permitted to proceed under Chapter 13 for policy reasons.

In rejecting the debtor’s argument, the Court determined that the language of § 109(e) was unambiguous and that a debtor who exceeded the prescribed debt limits was not eligible to be a Chapter 13 debtor. The Court noted that there are numerous of situations where student loans, by statute, are afforded special treatment (i.e. nondischargeability in bankruptcy, deferments, etc.). Had Congress intended to exclude student loan debt from the §109(e) debt limits it could easily have done so. Because Congress provided for no such exception, the Court concluded that it could not create one and, accordingly, the debtor’s case was dismissed.

18-30771 View

In re: Alex A Manuel

Summary: In this chapter 7 case, the debtor asserted that a Child Tax Credit was exempt from the bankruptcy estate as a public assistance benefit under 735 ILCS 5/12-1001(g)(1).  The trustee objected to the exemption and also filed a motion for turnover of certain amounts from debtor’s tax refunds.  The Court sustained the trustee’s objection to exemptions and granted the motion for turnover, declining to adopt a broad interpretation of “public assistance.”

17-60450 View

In re: Gargula v. Delagrange

Summary: The Court denied the debtor’s discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 727(a)(4)(D), 727(a)(6)(A) and 727(a)(4)(A). The debtor disclosed virtually no assets or income on his schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, failed to disclose property transfers, repeatedly failed to cooperate with the Trustee and blatantly ignored Court orders. The Court concluded that such conduct represented an abuse of the bankruptcy process and, accordingly, the debtor was not entitled to a discharge.

17-04017 View

In re: Simon v. Finley, III et al

Summary: The debtors’ chapter 13 confirmed plan provided that debtors would make direct payments to their mortgage creditor. In their motion for a chapter 13 discharge under § 1328(a), the debtors represented that they had made all payments required by the plan. After the motion was filed, but before entry of the discharge order, the mortgage creditor filed a response to the chapter 13 trustee’s Notice of Final Cure Payment. The creditor’s response indicated that the debtors were delinquent in post-petition mortgage payments in the amount of $70,869.24. No objections to the motion for discharge were filed and an order of discharge was entered. Approximately three weeks after entry of the discharge order, the trustee filed a complaint to revoke the debtors’ discharge under §1328(e) of the Bankruptcy Code. The complaint alleged that the debtors obtained their discharge by falsely and fraudulently stating (in their motion for discharge) that they had made all payments required by the plan. The debtors moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim on two grounds: (1) payments made directly to the mortgage creditor are not “payments under the plan,” and (2) the trustee had notice of their failure to make post-petition mortgage payments in plenty of time to file an objection to their motion for discharge. The court found that direct payments to the mortgage creditor were payments under the plan as contemplated by § 1328(a). The court further found that § 1328(e)(2) barred the trustee’s action to revoke debtors’ discharge because he had notice of their failure to make post-petition mortgage payments in ample time to object to their motion for discharge. The debtors’ motion to dismiss the complaint was granted.

18-04011 View

In re: Villa Marie Winery 18-30163

Summary: In this chapter 11 proceeding, the primary secured creditor, First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust, moved to enforce a settlement agreement with the Debtors.  According to the Bank, the settlement terms were fully set forth in a Forbearance Agreement that was attached to an email sent by Bank’s counsel to Debtors’ counsel.  The Bank contended that the Agreement was confirmed and accepted by Debtors’ counsel in a later email.  Debtors disputed the existence of a valid settlement agreement, arguing in particular that the Debtors never agreed to certain release language contained in the Forbearance Agreement.  The Court found that the Bank failed to prove that the Debtors expressly authorized their attorney to agree to the release language.  The motion to enforce settlement was denied.

18-30163 View

In re: Connie L Melching 15-31947

Summary: The issue in this case was whether a chapter 7 debtor may claim two separate exemptions, each in the amount of $15,000.00, for payment received on account of personal bodily injury.  Debtor sought to exempt $15,000.00 for personal bodily injury arising from a pre-petition automobile accident, as well as $15,000.00 for injuries related to a pre-petition products liability claim.  The Court held that under the Illinois exemption statute governing payment for personal bodily injury, Debtor was limited to a maximum exemption of $15,000.00.

15-31947 View