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 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 Eugene R. Wedoff

Judge Donald R. Cassling

13 B 05090

Judge Jack B. Schmetterer

11 B 34774

Judge Timothy A. Barnes

In re Victoria C. Quade
August 8, 2013

12 B 26779
Secured judgment creditor brought motion for stay pending appeal of prior court order avoiding its judicial lien on debtor’s exempt retirement accounts and denying creditor’s motion for relief from stay. The Bankruptcy Court held that pursuant to the four factors balanced in analyzing a motion for stay pending appeal under Rule 8005 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure: (i) creditor failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits by not raising a new issue or case law supporting its position not already addressed in the court’s previous opinion; (ii) creditor showed irreparable injury absent a stay due to lack of clarity as to the value of debtor’s assets and possibility that creditor might not be able to recover the full value of its judgment; (iii) substantial harm to other parties in the litigation existed where debtor’s pending motion to convert from chapter 7 to chapter 11 would not be possible without access to the retirement accounts in question; and (iv) harm to the public interest existed where prolonged litigation goes against the bankruptcy public policy of distribution to creditors within a reasonable time. Pursuant to its discretion to fashion an equitable remedy under Rule 8005 for the benefit of all parties in interest, the court granted the motion with instruction to debtor that the stay would be lifted upon its specific request to the court to use the exempt funds, as, until the court’s previous order became final, the funds were still property of the bankruptcy estate.

Chief Judge Bruce W. Black

In re Timothy Liou
August 8, 2013

12 MP 90002
503 B.R. 56

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