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Judge Timothy A. Barnes

09 B 17582, 12 A 00799
Upon the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Chapter 7 trustee’s adversary complaints for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and the statute of limitations contained in 11 U.S.C. § 546(a)(1), held: (i) the commencement of the adversary proceedings on May 11, 2012 was timely as Congress clearly intended to afford a bankruptcy trustee no less than a year to bring avoidance actions, while at the same time limiting the time period to no more than three years; and (ii) an additional year afforded to the trustee runs from the date an interim trustee begins service under section 701, if that appointment occurs within two years of the order for relief and if that interim trustee becomes the permanent trustee by operation of section 702(d).  Motion to dismiss denied.

08 B 10095, 10 A 00998
Upon the Defendant’s motion for summary judgment in the adversary proceeding brought by the Chapter 11 Liquidation Trustee to avoid and recover fraudulent and preferential transfers and disallow claims, held: (i) without evidence supporting an implied contract theory, the Liquidation Trustee could not establish that the transfer was on account of an antecedent debt, an element of the preference avoidance claim; but (ii) for many of the same reasons that the preference avoidance claim fails, genuine factual disputes exists as to whether an indirect benefit defense exists as to the fraudulent transfer avoidance claim.  Motion for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part.

08 B 10095, 10 A 00824
Upon the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the Chapter 11 Liquidation Trustee’s adversary proceeding to avoid alleged fraudulent or preferential transfers, citing Stern-challenges to constitutional grounds and failure to state cause of action on which relief could be granted, held: (i) bankruptcy court, even as non-Article-III court, had constitutional authority to enter final decision on preference avoidance claims; (ii) court also had authority to finally decide fraudulent transfer claims, regardless of whether claims were asserted under bankruptcy fraudulent transfer statute or pursuant to state law in exercise of powers accorded under strong-arm statute; and (iii) allegations in the Liquidation Trustee’s complaint stated plausible claim for relief.  Motion to dismiss denied.

Judge Janet S. Baer

12 B 12318

The debtors filed a motion to avoid a judicial lien pursuant to section 522(f)(1)(A). The parties did not dispute that the debtors could avoid the lien. The sole issue–one on which there is no binding case law in the Seventh Circuit–was whether the debtors must complete their chapter 13 plan and receive a discharge before the lien is avoided and the creditor is required to release the lien. Agreeing with the majority view, the Court found that in light of the creditor’s objection, the lien avoidance will not be effective until the debtors make all plan payments and obtain a discharge. Accordingly, the Court conditionally granted the debtors’ motion to avoid the judicial lien, provided that they completed their chapter 13 plan and received a discharge in the bankruptcy case.

Judge Jack B. Schmetterer

11 B 33575

Judge Eugene R. Wedoff

In re: Brenda J. Payton
November 5, 2012

12 B 29448

Judge Jacqueline P. Cox

12 B 08807

In this Chapter 13 proceeding, the Court sustained Creditors’ objection to confirmation of Debtors’ Plan, holding that the Debtors’ obligations under a Settlement Agreement with a former employer (including a non-compete clause) were non-monetary in nature, and therefore were not a "claim" for bankruptcy purposes. Only claims for money can be discharged. The Settlement Agreement included language that the non-monetary provisions of Articles 3 and 4 were the essence of the agreement and that should the Debtors fail to perform the duties prescribed in those provisions, injunctive relief would be appropriate to require the Debtors to perform the duties. The Court also noted that the provision governing attorney’s fees was not a compensation remedy, but was designed to make the prevailing party whole after the resolution of disputes.

11 B 42873, 11 A 02278

4100 West Grand LLC, debtor in possession, filed this adversary proceeding against defendant, TY Grand LLC, to avoid and recover a transfer alleged to be fraudulent pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 544, 548 and 740 ILL. COMP. STAT. §§ 160/5 and 160/6. As a threshold matter, the Court relied on the Stern v. Marshalldecision and its progeny in determining that the Court had authority to enter a final judgment in the adversary, as the proofs of claim filed by the defendant made clear that their resolution depended on the outcome of the debtor’s fraudulent conveyance claims. Proof of claim no. 3-5 provided that if TY Grand did not prevail in the litigation, its secured claim would be $2,722,170.34. If TY Grand prevailed, it would have no claim against the Debtor. Because the fraudulent conveyance cause of action was resolved in the process of ruling on the proofs of claim, the bankruptcy court has authority to enter a final order herein. Stern v. Marshall, —U.S.—, 131 S.Ct. 2594, 2620 (2011). In the alternative, should a reviewing court find that this court lacked authority to enter a final order, the Court held that its memorandum opinion may serve as its proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law under section 157(c)1. This adversary proceeding was initiated after TY Grand LLC recorded a deed in lieu of foreclosure for Property valued at $1.115 million after 4100 West Grand LLC defaulted under the terms of the parties’ Forbearance Agreement. During the forbearance period, TY Grand also received cash payments in the amount $485,000. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, after the recording of the deed, TY Grand LLC waived its right to sue for non-monetary defaults under the agreement, as well as the deficiency amount of $2,510,123.90. The Court entered judgment in favor of TY Grand, holding that 4100 West Grand LLC received reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the transfer. The Court determined that TY Grand LLC received value in the amount of $2,310,000, which amount represents the value of the Property transferred ($1.115 million); $485,000 in cash payments; and a claim under the Forbearance Agreement worth approximately $710,000; whereas the Debtor received a release of a $2.5 million debt

Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar

10 B 36039, 10 A 02174