09 B 5868
The Court sanctioned Attorney Maurice James Salem and his clients Ragda Sharifeh and Haifa Sharifeh for violating Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9011 for filing several motions and pleadings in an attempt to gain access to trust assets held to be property of the Debtor's bankruptcy estate in 2010. The 2010 Order where the trust assets were found to be the Debtor's alter ego and thus property of the bankruptcy estate as of February 24, 2009 was affirmed by the District Court in 2012. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court in 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Seventh Circuit's earlier ruling limiting the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction.
Mr. Salem has been ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. He and his clients have been ordered to never again file pleadings in this bankruptcy case and its related adversary proceedings.
Should Mr. Salem need to file something in these cases in the future he has to first obtain leave of this Court to do so.
Judge Jacqueline P. Cox - Opinions
Judge Jacqueline P. Cox
February 16, 2017
09 B 5868
January 18, 2017
14 B 02696, 15 B 17314
The court found that it has post-confirmation jurisdiction to enforce and interpret its confirmation order in a chapter 11 case where all transactions described therein have not been completed and a final decree has yet to be entered.
January 10, 2017
16 B 04589
The court found that the purchaser of the Debtor's unpaid real estate taxes was adequately protected by the "sale in error" program and potential Plan payments.
January 6, 2017
15 B 40866
An attorney has been found to have violated Rule 9011 by delaying a creditor's efforts to enforce its rights.
November 18, 2016
14 B 11526
In this matter an attorney retained under a Court-Approved Retention Agreement ("CARA") in a Chapter 13 case initially failed to seek fees for pursuing a Motion for Damages for a violation of the automatic stay and instead decided that she was entitled to $3000 in fees in addition to the $4000 flat fee.
This court ruled that the CARA requires attorneys to pursue damages and injunctions for violations of the automatic stay and the discharge. The opinion covers attorneys' duties under Section 329 of the Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2017 to disclose initial and subsequent fee agreements.
August 31, 2016
15 B 37632
Seventeen days after the Debtors modified their confirmed Chapter 13 plan the Trustee asked to have their case dismissed on term of plan grounds because it would take 86 months to complete plan payments. The court denied the motion ruling that the court can not confirm a plan projected to last for more than sixty months as limited by Bankruptcy Code sections 1322(d)(1)-(2) and 1329(c) but that dismissal is not mandated if a debtor needs a reasonable period of time to cure an arrearage incurred during the plan term.
August 10, 2016
14 B 44983
This is Debtor 401 Properties Limited Partnership's second Chapter 11 case. Its first Chapter 11 case was found to have been filed in bad faith and dismissed on August 16, 2010 - case number 10 B 28114. The court found that the second case was also filed in bad faith. The Debtor's principals Leon Greenblatt and Andrew Jahelka (as well as its former general partner's representative Michael Horrell) are using the bankruptcy system to wage a battle for control of the Debtor, rather than the appropriate bankruptcy purposes of maximizing recoveries to creditors and maintaining a going concern.
15 B 013904, 15 A 00568
In this case a former spouse has asked that certain debts/obligations of a Chapter 7 Debtor established in a Dissolution of Marriage Judgment be held to be not dischargeable under Sections 523(a)(5) and (a)(15) of the Bankruptcy Code. The Court found that the Temporary Spousal Support, Health Care, Pension and Real Estate Tax and Assessments obligations are not dischargeable domestic support obligations. A fine for noncompliance with discovery obligations was held to be not in the nature of support and for that reason is dischargeable. The state court judgment reserved ruling on attorney's fees. When that issue gets resolved this Court will determine whether that obligation can be discharged.
April 26, 2016
09 B 05868, 12 A 00430
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Wellness International Network v. Sharif, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a 2010 order that this Court entered which found that a Trust that the Debtor (Sharif) administered was the Debtor’s alter-ego and therefore its assets were property of his bankruptcy estate. Since the 2010 order, the Debtor, the Debtor’s sister, and, most recently, the Debtor’s other sister have made no less than 10 attempts to reclaim the Trust assets. These attempts have been well documented in over 180 pages of orders and opinions from this Court, all of which have denied their requests.
Despite all of this, two of the Debtor's sisters recently brought motions seeking to recover the Trust assets. This opinion outlines the seven-year history of the parties' efforts to reclaim the Trust assets. This latest attempt also failed. This opinion includes an Order to Show Cause why the sisters, and their attorney, Maurice J. Salem, should not be sanctioned under Rule 9011 for bringing improper and frivolous motions.
14 B 41542, 15 A 00009
The Debtor defaulted on a vehicle loan within a month of purchasing a 2015 Chevrolet Equinox. He was referred to the vehicle dealership by Uber, the ride-sharing service. AmeriCredit failed to convince the Court that the Debt was nondischargeable because the Debtor refused to reaffirm it and due to various misstatements the Debtor made on the credit application. The Court pointed out that neither Uber nor a representative of the dealership testified. Judgment was entered in favor of the debtor/defendant. The debt was discharged.