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Judge Janet S. Baer

15 B 35358, 16 A 00727
The Debtor filed an adversary complaint against Walsh Construction Company (“Walsh”), seeking to avoid and recover certain funds deposited with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (the “Deposited Funds”) pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 547(b), 548(a), 550(a), and 553(b).  Walsh filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that under the doctrine of res judicata, the dismissal of the Debtor’s prior adversary complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that the Deposited Funds were property of the bankruptcy estate and turnover of those Funds barred any further litigation arising from a judgment order (the “Judgment Order”) entered by the Circuit Court.  In the alternative, Walsh asked the Court to abstain from making a decision because the appeal of the Judgment Order is pending in the Circuit Court.  The Court found that, although the three elements required for res judicata had been met, the “Statutory Scheme Exception” to claim splitting in § 26(1)(d) of the Restatement (Second) of Judgments precluded the application of res judicata to bar the Debtor’s adversary proceeding, and, thus, Walsh’s motion to dismiss was denied.  In its discretion, the Court abstained from conducting further proceedings in connection with the adversary until the state court renders its decision on the related appeal of the Judgment Order.

16 B 31591
The Debtor, appearing pro se, proposed to pay Hale Gardens Condominium Association (the “Association”) $857 through her chapter 13 plan. The Association objected to confirmation of the Debtor’s plan because it did not provide for full payment of the Association’s alleged $14,938.25 secured claim, which claim was comprised mostly of attorneys’ fees related to the Association’s pre-petition attempts to collect assessments and fees from the Debtor. The Debtor argued that she owed the Association only $602, which the Court considered as an objection to the Association’s claim. The Court sustained in part both parties’ objections, finding that the Association had not applied the Debtor’s payments appropriately and that most of the attorneys’ fees were unreasonably incurred by the Association. The Court allowed the Association’s secured claim in the amount of $1,303.49 and held that the Debtor’s chapter 13 plan must provide for the payment of such claim in full pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§ 1322(b)(2) and 1325(a)(5).

14 B 13155
The Debtors claimed three exemptions against $23,000 in settlement proceeds derived from a workplace discrimination and disability lawsuit initiated by Debtor James Henry Sullivan, Jr. against his former employer.  The chapter 7 trustee (the “Trustee”) objected to the Debtors’ exemptions pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 4003(b) on the basis that they were not properly claimed under Illinois law.  The Trustee had intervened and later settled the legal claims in the lawsuit with the authorization of the Court pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9019(a).  Without addressing the merits of the Trustee’s objection, the Debtors argued that they had been deprived of their due process rights with respect to the Trustee’s settlement motion.  The Court found that there was no violation of due process in connection with the settlement motion and that the Debtors had not made proper claims of exemption under Illinois law.  Thus, the Court sustained the Trustee’s objection and disallowed the Debtors’ amended claims of exemption.

In re David L. Dini
April 6, 2017

13 B 25078
In September 2016, John H. Sammarco filed a motion to dismiss debtor David L. Dini’s chapter 7 case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 707(a).  Relying on In re Schwartz, a decision issued by the Seventh Circuit in August 2015, Sammarco alleged that Dini’s case should be dismissed because he is living “lavishly” while refusing to pay his unsecured creditors.  The question before the Court was whether the equitable doctrine of laches barred Sammarco’s § 707(a) motion.  The Court found that Sammarco’s thirteen-month delay in filing the motion was both unreasonable and inexcusable under the circumstances of the case and that Dini suffered material prejudice as a result of that delay.  Accordingly, the Court concluded that Sammarco’s motion is barred by laches, and, as such, the motion was denied.

Judge Deborah L. Thorne

16 B 39654

Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar

In re Scott N. Jaffe
June 7, 2017

15 B 39490

Judge Jack B. Schmetterer

Judge Jacqueline P. Cox

In re EHC, LCC
April 25, 2017

15 B 40866
In this ruling the court sanctioned an attorney pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9011 for pursuing a bankruptcy case solely to delay a foreclosure case, to avoid the lawful appointment of a receiver and to needlessly increase a secured creditor's legal fees and costs.