The District of Northern Illinois offers a database of opinions for the years 1999 to 2013, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

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Judge Jack B. Schmetterer

12 B 48247

12 B 48247

Judge Jacqueline P. Cox

12 B 49219 (jointly administered)
The Sierra Club filed a motion seeking entry of an order confirming that the automatic stay was not in effect due to the police power exception of Bankruptcy Code section 362(b)(4), or, in the alternative, granting relief from the automatic stay to continue a regulatory action pending against Debtor, Midwest Generation, LLC before the Illinois Pollution Control Board. The Court held that the police power exception was not applicable, noting that the Sierra Club is not a “governmental unit” as defined by Section 101(27) of the Bankruptcy Code. The Court also noted that neither the Illinois Attorney General, nor the Illinois EPA intervened in the proceeding initiated by the Sierra Club. The Court determined that cause existed to lift the stay, after employing a balancing test as instructed by the Seventh Circuit in In re Fernstrom,938 F.2d 731, 735 (7th Cir. 1991). The court also considered the impact of the alleged environmental violations on the residents of Illinois.

Judge Timothy A. Barnes

11 B 12584 and 13 B 13374
11 A 01455 and 13 A 00687
Creditor commenced adversary proceedings against debtors husband and wife in their respective bankruptcy cases seeking a determination that a debt allegedly owed by each of the debtors to the creditor is nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A). The creditor alleged that the debtors obtained a loan from him through false pretenses, false representation and/or actual fraud. Held: Each of the debtors is obligated on the debt despite arguments to the contrary. Nonetheless, creditor failed to prove that either of the debtors obtained the loan by false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud, or that a third party’s fraudulent actions with respect to the debt should be imputed to either debtor under agency or other principles. As a result, the debt is dischargeable by each of the debtors.

Chief Judge Pamela S. Hollis

In re: Renita Sheri Hall
October 22, 2013

12 B 43452
Chapter 13 Trustee objected to confirmation on the grounds that by continuing to make voluntary 401(k) contributions, the Debtor was not applying all projected disposable income to make payments to unsecured creditors in violation of section 1325(b)(1)(B).  In this order, the court first reviewed the split in case law over the interpretation of section 541(b)(7). This subsection states that certain contributions to retirement accounts "shall not constitute disposable income, as defined in section 1325(b)(2)." The court determined that the majority viewpoint was correct and section 541(b)(7) is not limited to prepetition contributions. Postpetition voluntary retirement contributions are excluded from the calculation of projected disposable income. In dicta the court noted that even if the Debtor had not been making voluntary 401(k) contributions during the six months prior to filing her case, any future contributions would still be excluded from projected disposable income.  Objection overruled.

Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar

12 B 38907,  12 A 1955

Judge Janet S. Baer

In re Hector and Ana Briseno
September 25, 2013

12 B 02903

Counsel for the Debtors filed an amended fee application in this chapter 13 case, requesting fees of $3,500 pursuant to the firm’s Attorney-Client Agreement for Legal Services. The Debtors objected to the application, alleging that the firm should receive no fees because its attorneys betrayed the Debtors’ trust in the representation, particularly with respect to negotiations in two lien strip adversary proceedings. The issue before the Court was whether the fees requested were reasonable compensation for actual, necessary services rendered pursuant to section 330 of the Code or whether the fees charged exceeded the reasonable value of the services provided pursuant to section 329. The Court found that the time spent by counsel in providing legal services to the Debtors was both appropriate and necessary for the administration of the case and that the rates charged for those services were commensurate with those charged by comparably skill attorneys. The Court also found, however, that a reduction in fees was justified because of the firm’s role in a miscommunication between attorney and client in the negotiation of a settlement in the lien strip adversaries. Accordingly, the Court sustained the Debtors’ objection in part, awarded counsel fees of $3,000, and disallowed the remaining fees of $500.

Judge Donald R. Cassling

13 B 05090