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 Donald R. Cassling

Judge Timothy A. Barnes

11 B 38875, 12 A 00155

Upon the Debtor’s motion to vacate the court’s summary judgment order, held:  The Debtor failed to establish sufficient grounds under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 or 60 to set aside or modify this court’s previous grant of summary judgment based, in part, on a state court judgment.  Further, the Debtor failed to show that a transfer of personal property made in alleged satisfaction of the state court judgment, but made prior to the Debtor entering into the judgment, satisfied the judgment for purposes of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5).  The court therefore denies the Debtor’s motion to vacate.

In re Kent Allen Woods
August 18, 2014

13 B 39194
Upon the Motion of Leticia Zaragoza for Relief from the Automatic Stay Pending Arbitration, brought by Leticia Zaragoza (the “Movant”), held:  The Movant has failed to demonstrate cause for relief from stay under 11 U.S.C. § 362(d).  The Movant’s assertion that the Chicago Board of Trade (the “CBOT”) is better suited to determine the Movant’s claim against the bankruptcy estate is not supported by the arguments of the parties.  Further, the Movant’s assertion that a claim against the Debtor arising out of a pending arbitration matter before the CBOT is outside this court’s constitutional authority under the reasoning of Stern v. Marshall is inapposite to the actual holding of Stern and is not well taken.  Nothing within Stern’s holding stands for the proposition that this court may not determine the propriety of a claim asserted against the bankruptcy estate.  Such a function lies at the heart of bankruptcy jurisdiction, and is squarely within this court’s authority.  The court therefore denies the Movant’s request, without prejudice to the Movant’s ability to reassert the request, if appropriate, should the circumstances underlying the request have changed materially.

 

Judge Jacqueline P. Cox

In re Arturo Vazquez
September 8, 2014

13 B 32174
In this Chapter 7 proceeding, the Debtor scheduled a 2013 federal tax refund in the amount of $10,576, of which he claimed $3,000 as an exempt public assistance benefit under 735 ILCS 5/12-1001(g)(1).

Trustee David Leibowitz objected, arguing that the child tax credit does not qualify as a “public assistance benefit” under the Illinois statute which allows debtors to exempt such.  In 2003 a bankruptcy court ruled that the nonrefundable portion of the child tax credit was not a public assistance benefit because it was available to higher income taxpayers and that the refundable additional child tax credit was a public assistance benefit that could be exempted because it benefited lower income taxpayers.  The Illinois statute does not limit or condition the exemption.

The Court overruled the Trustee’s objection, rejecting the argument that the Illinois statute was meant to benefit lower income individuals only and declined to make the policy choice that a debtor who claimed five personal exemptions/dependents on his tax return while reporting income of $68,824 was too affluent to benefit from the child tax credit.  The Illinois exemption statute provides for the exemption of public assistance benefits, without regard to whether they are refundable or are available only to lower income debtors. The Court explained that it is the role of the legislature, rather than the court, to limit the availability of the exemption.

12 B 50628, 13 A 00688
In this Chapter 7 proceeding, Plaintiff, the Estate of Stanley Cora, filed an amended adversary proceeding against the Debtor, John C. Jahrling, under sections 523(a)(4), 523(a)(6), 727(a)(3) and 727(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code asking that a debt be held nondischargeable and that the debtor be denied a discharge of all debts. Under the 523(a)(4) claim, Plaintiff sought to except from debtor’s discharge a $26,000 debt incurred while the debtor, a licensed attorney, served in a fiduciary capacity as Stanley Cora’s attorney at a real estate transaction.  Jahrling was hired to represent Cora, then 90 years of age, in the sale of his home.
Cora’s home was sold for $35,000, about one-third of its value, and the transaction did not provide for the retention a life estate promised to Stanley Cora.  After the home was sold, Cora was evicted.

A judgment for $26,000 was entered in state court against the debtor in 2007 on a legal malpractice claim.

The Court entered judgment in favor of the Plaintiff on Count I, and determined that Jahrling’s conduct in representing Cora in the sale of his home without talking to him to discern what Cora wanted and how to accomplish his goal, was a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law-abiding person as well as any Illinois attorney would observe in Jahrling’s situation.  The court also found that Jahrling acted recklessly and in brazen disregard of his fiduciary duty when he ignored his basic duty to communicate with the client, to prepare for the engagement and to pursue his client’s interests diligently.

The Court entered Judgment in favor of the debtor-defendant on the remaining counts, finding that Plaintiff failed to meet its burden of proof on claims under section 523(a)(6) for wilful and malicious injury and section 727 for failure to maintain records and to account for a deficiency or loss of assets.

Judge Jack B. Schmetterer

14 B 02689

Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar

In re Michael H. Meltzer
August 27, 2014

13 B 31151

Judge Eugene R. Wedoff

Judge Thomas M. Lynch

In re Perry Moy
August 25, 2014

12 B 81564

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