Opinions

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

Judge Timothy A. Barnes

10 B 44866, 13 A 00631
After the trustee filed a motion for default judgment against one of multiple adversary defendants for failure to file a timely answer in response to an amended complaint, the defendant filed two answers; one to the original complaint and another one to the amended complaint. The trustee moved for the court to strike both answers as untimely and filed without leave or excuse. The bankruptcy court held that: (i) the defendant failed to file an answer within the prescribed time period; (ii) the defendant failed to challenge service in its first responsive pleading and thus has waived the defense of insufficient service; (iii) the defendant failed to show that its untimely answer is excusable pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9006(b)(1); (iv) the answers will therefore be stricken; (v) service of the motion for default judgment satisfies the due process requirement; and (vi) after having held three hearings on the motion for default judgment and having stricken the answers, it is proper to enter a default judgment against the defendant. Accordingly, the court grants both of the trustee’s motions.

In re Debra West
March 26, 2014

13 B 28123
The Chapter 7 trustee filed an objection to the exemption that the debtor claimed in her interest in her former husband’s retirement plan pursuant to section 12-1006 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. The parties disagreed on whether the debtor had the right to obtain the funds for her immediate consumption. The debtor argued, alternatively, that the retirement plan was excluded from the bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. § 541(c)(2). Held: The debtor’s interest in the retirement plan is property of the estate. However, the debtor satisfied the requirements for exemption under Illinois law. The debtor’s ability to take an immediate distribution did not defeat the retirement nature of the retirement plan, as the distribution is to be made pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order in a way as to preserve the retirement nature of the funds. The court therefore overrules the trustee’s objection to the claimed exemption.

Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar

Judge Pamela S. Hollis

12 B 29855
Debtors own a two-flat and live in one of the units.  They proposed a Chapter 13 plan in which the mortgage holder's claim would be modified. The mortgage holder objected on the grounds that its claim was "secured only by a security interest in real property that is the debtor's principal residence" pursuant to 1322(b)(2). After finding the statutory language ambiguous, the court turned to the legislative history and determined that Congress intended this anti-modification provision would protect only those mortgage holders whose claims were secured by real property that is exclusively the debtor's principal residence. Consequently, the debtors in this case could modify the mortgage holder's claim and the plan was confirmed.  The court also found that the relevant date for determining the property's status is the date on which the security interest was created.

Judge Jacqueline P. Cox

13 B 25463
In this Chapter 7 proceeding, the Court sanctioned Debtor’s counsel for repeatedly seeking turn over of Debtor’s checking account without providing notice to J.P. Morgan Chase, a party in interest, as required by Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9014(b) and Local Bankruptcy Rule 9013-1(A)(3).  He was also sanctioned for falsely stating that there were no funds in the bank account.

Judge Eugene R. Wedoff

13 B 45595

Judge Carol A. Doyle

Judge Janet S. Baer

12 B 30867
In response to a memorandum opinion allowing creditor bank costs of collection in their bankruptcy case, the debtors filed a motion to alter or amend the opinion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9023, requesting that the Court reduce the amounts awarded. The debtors alleged that the Court erred by basing its opinion on the fact that numerous confirmation hearings and modified plans were required before a plan could be confirmed rather than focusing on the reasons for the delay. The Court found that because the debtors merely rehashed old matters and attempted to advance a version of the evidence that could and should have been presented prior to judgment, they failed to establish the existence of manifest errors of fact or newly discovered evidence required under Rule 59(e). Accordingly, the Court denied the debtors’ motion.

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