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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.

Judge Phyllis M. Jones

Abstaining from and remanding lawsuit to Lonoke County Circuit Court, where it originated prior to removal by debtor/defendant.

Relief from stay to pursue eviction proceedings against the Debtor is denied where, although the subject property was not property of the Debtor’s bankruptcy estate due to the completion pre-petition of a foreclosure action against the Debtor and property, the Debtor provided treatment for the creditor’s claim in its plan and the plan was confirmed without objection from the creditor. The Debtor may continue to reside on the property not as owner, but as lessee.

Judge Ben T. Barry

The court overruled the creditor’s objection to confirmation of the debtor’s plan for the debtor’s failure to file an insurance claim for pre-petition damage to the debtor’s vehicle. The debtor stated an approximate value of the damaged vehicle in her petition but the creditor argued that it was not adequately protected because the debtor refused to file a claim for the damage with her insurance company.

Based upon the court's findings that (1) the debtor could not effectuate a confirmable plan of reorganization and (2) the debtor's estate had incurred substantial and continuing losses and was not reasonably likely to be rehabilitated, the court converted the chapter 11 case filed by a bank holding company to a case under chapter 7 pursuant to § 1112(b) upon the motions of three of the debtor's creditors.

The debtors’ amended their confirmed plan to require the creditor to release its lien on a vehicle upon completion of the debtors’ payments under the plan, even though the debtors were not paying the contract rate of interest under their plan. At issue was a third party’s ownership interest in the subject vehicle. The court found that because the third party had also given a security interest in the vehicle to the creditor, the debtors could not provide for the release of the creditor’s lien in their amended plan unless the underlying debt as determined by non-bankruptcy law was paid.

In this case, the court found that attorney fees that were awarded to the non-debtor in a state court action were non-dischargeable under § 523(a)(5) because the state court action focused on the health and welfare of the minor child.

In this case, the court found that a chapter 13 debtor whose plan payments were funded by his wife’s income through automatic withdrawal was an “individual with regular income” and eligible to be a chapter 13 debtor under § 109(e).

In this chapter 13 case, the debtors filed a complaint to determine the extent of a creditor’s lien on the debtors’ residence, arguing that because the debtors’ personal obligation on the note was discharged in a prior chapter 7 case, the creditor’s lien should only attach to the value of the collateral. The court granted the creditor’s motion for summary judgment holding that the proposed “cram-down” was not permissible under § 1322(b)(2). The court also explained why the debtors’ proposed modification of their confirmed plan was not permissible under § 1329(b) and § 1325(a)(5).

The Court found that the debtor did not possess an express or implied private right of action under PACA and, thus, the chapter 7 trustee lacked standing to bring such causes of action on behalf of the debtor's estate. Therefore, the Court dismissed two of the chapter 7 trustee's adversary proceeding complaints in full and partially dismissed a third complaint.

Judge Richard D. Taylor

The homeowners' association fees of a Chapter 13 debtor are nondischargeable when the creditor has not filed a proof of claim and the debt accrues postpetition.

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