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Judge Timothy A. Barnes

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 Donald R. Cassling

In re Dawn Marie Sori
July 29, 2014

12 B 01108

Judge Pamela S. Hollis

12 B 15638, 12 A 00947
Ex-wife sought finding that monetary award in divorce settlement was nondischargeable pursuant to 523(a)(2)(A), (a)(5), (a)(6) and (a)(15). Ex-husband prevailed on three of the four counts: 523(a)(5) because there was no evidence that the award was in the nature of alimony, maintenance or support; 523(a)(6) because tortious conduct (such as conversion) is required for a breach of contract to result in a nondischargeable debt, and a claim for money cannot be the subject of conversion; and 523(a)(15) because the underlying bankruptcy case is a Chapter 13.  Based on the very specific facts of this case, however, the award was nondischargeable under 523(a)(2)(A). The ex-husband had no intention of paying his ex-wife at the time they entered into the settlement, and his subsequent conduct was consistent with that intent.

Judge Jacqueline P. Cox

11 B 40844, 13 A 00927
In this adversary proceeding, the Trustee sought  recovery of $101,787 in preferential transfers made by the Debtor to his mother and brother in repayment of private loans. The Defendants asserted the ordinary course defense to preference liability under section 547(c)(2), arguing that the transfers at issue were not “loans,” but were advances made from a family investment partnership to the Debtor on account of his limited partnership interest.  The Debtor and his mother and brother were general partners of the partnership.
 The Court rejected the ordinary course defense, finding that the Defendants did not meet the statute’s threshold requirement that the debt being repaid was incurred in the ordinary course of business or financial affairs of the Debtor and the Defendants.  The evidence established that the transactions were personal loans made between family members with checks drawn on the Defendants' personal bank accounts, not the partnership's bank account.
The Defendants' Answer admitted that the transfers to the Debtor were loans.  In a later pleading the Defendants said that the transfers to the Debtor were advances from the Debtor's partnership interest.  The Court granted a Motion to Strike the inconsistent assertions.

Judge Jack B. Schmetterer

11 B 21658

14 B 11873

Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar

11 B 26443