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Opinions

Notice: Not all of the Judges Opinions will be made available on this site. Individual Judges have the option of specifying that all, some or none of their opinions be posted.

Chief Judge Phyllis M. Jones

Bank failed to prove debt owed to it should be nondischargeable under Section 523(a)(2) based on statements made in balance sheet regarding the Debtors’ cattle and equipment.  Bank also failed to prove there were “unaccounted for” cattle or “converted” checks from the sales of cattle, or that the Debtors acted with malice, and thus failed to meet its burden under Section 523(a)(6).  Finally, Bank failed to prove the Debtors did not maintain adequate records under Section 727(a)(3).  Judgment entered in favor of Debtors.

State court judgment for past-due child support was a prepetition domestic support obligation, notwithstanding language in the judgment allowing payment over a term of years.  OCSE’s proof of claim was allowed. 

The terms of the debtor’s confirmed plan, when reviewed as a whole, required payment of the full amount of the claim over the life of the plan.  A second proof of claim filed by OCSE for postpetition child support payments, however, was disallowed.

Summary judgment granted in part and denied in part on Trustee’s fraudulent transfer claims.  Summary judgment granted in favor of the Trustee as to whether the Debtors had an interest in the Property, whether the Debtors voluntarily transferred their interest, and whether the Transfer occurred within two years of the petition date.  Summary judgment denied as to whether the Debtors received less than reasonably equivalent value for the Transfer, whether the Debtors were insolvent at the relevant time, and whether the Debtors made the Transfer with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any creditor.

Judge Bianca M. Rucker

The Court found that equitable subrogation is not a legally sufficient affirmative defense to a preference action brought under 11 U.S.C. § 547(b) and, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), the Court granted the chapter 7 trustee’s motion to strike the affirmative defense of equitable subrogation from the defendants’ answer.

In this subchapter v chapter 11 case, the debtor in possession filed an application to employ an accountant pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 327.  The application requested that the accountant’s employment be approved with an effective date “nunc pro tunc” to the date of the filing of the debtor’s bankruptcy petition.  The Court found that nunc pro tunc relief was inapplicable in this instance because there was no court error or delay to correct for the record.  However, the Court found that it was authorized to approve a pre-application employment date under § 327 because Congress included no temporal limitation in that code section.  As a result, the Court approved the employment of the accountant effective as of the date the debtor filed his petition on the condition that the debtor file an amended affidavit of disinterestedness executed by the accountant that fully complied with the disclosure requirements stated in Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2014(a).

Judge Richard D. Taylor

A pro se litigant personally as well as his attorney who promotes and advocates a pleading unwarranted by existing law and without evidentiary support may be held liable for sanctions under Rule 9011.

While res judicata may not be appropriate in dischargeability actions premised on prior judgments, the application of collateral estoppel may be sufficient to compel a finding of non-dischargeability.

Proximity to urban amenities, while a factor, is not sufficient by itself to adequately distinguish between urban versus rural property for purposes of the Arkansas homestead exemption.

Motion to set aside default judgment denied on basis that service was proper per information supplied on filed proof of claim and at the corresponding secretary of state’s office.

Judge Ben T. Barry

The Court granted in part and denied in part the chapter 7 trustee’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that the trustee’s designated “triggering creditor” held an allowed unsecured claim on the date of the debtor’s petition but that factual issues remained for trial regarding whether the trustee’s proffered “triggering creditor” had a viable pre-petition cause of action against the debtor that would enable the trustee to step into the creditor’s shoes under 11 U.S.C. § 544(b) for the purpose of pursuing an avoidance action to recover the debtor’s allegedly fraudulent transfers of real property for the benefit of the estate. 

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