Articles Posted in Bankruptcy

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11 U.S.C. 363(f), which authorizes a trustee to sell a debtor's assets free and clear of third-party interests, applied to the facts of this case, and did not conflict with section 365(h), which protects the rights of lessees, because the trustee did not "reject" the leases. Therefore, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment affirming the bankruptcy court's decision that a bankruptcy trustee's sale of debtor's property was free and clear of unexpired leases. View "Pinnacle Restaurant at Big Sky, LLC v. CH SP Acquisitions, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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The Ninth Circuit filed an amended opinion affirming the denial of defendant's motion for summary judgment. The panel held that Infinity's attorney, who sued for violation of a bankruptcy automatic stay, was not entitled to quasi-judicial immunity for acts other than drafting the order at the judge's request—an issue the court need not reach because the order was never filed. View "Burton v. Infinity Capital Management" on Justia Law

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The Bankruptcy Code's automatic stay provision, 11 U.S.C. 362, does not operate to prevent the government's collection of criminal restitution under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA). In this case, debtor pleaded guilty to embezzlement and theft of labor union assets, for which she served eighteen months in prison and agreed to pay $193,337.33 in criminal restitution. After debtor's bankruptcy filing, the government offset payments made as income to debtor against the balance of the restitution debt. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy appellate panel's decision affirming the bankruptcy court's denial of debtor's motion to hold the government in contempt for violating the automatic stay through its collection efforts. View "Partida v. DOJ" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's grant of appellees' motion to dismiss Rosanna Mac Turner's and David Turner's Adversary Complaint without leave to amend. The panel held that the Turners' claims for wrongful foreclosure, breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under the Pooling and Servicing Agreement, and violation of the Unfair Competition Law were correctly dismissed without leave to amend because the Turners' lack of standing could not be cured by amendment. The panel also held that the district court correctly dismissed the Turners' claims for breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under the Deed of Trust (DOT) and violation of Cal. Civ. Code 2923.5 without leave to amend because any amendment would be futile. The panel explained that the DOT permitted the substitution of the Trustee, the Turners cannot allege that they suffered damages for the alleged breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing under the DOT, and appellees have complied with Section 2923.5, leaving the Turners no remedy. View "Turner v. Wells Fargo Bank NA" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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The one-year filing deadline imposed by 11 U.S.C. 727(e)(1) was a non-jurisdictional claim-processing rule. Debtor filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition that fraudulently omitted his home, a key asset. Because no one notice, debtor subsequently received a discharge of his debts under 11 U.S.C. 727(a). The panel held that a non-jurisdictional time bar was an affirmative defense that may be forfeited if not timely raised, and debtor forfeited the defense by failing to raise it in the bankruptcy court. On the merits, the bankruptcy court's determination that debtor fraudulently concealed his ownership interest in the home was plainly correct. Therefore, the panel reversed the bankruptcy court's judgment dismissing the trustee's request for relief under section 727(d)(1) and remanded with instructions. View "Weil v. Elliott" on Justia Law

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In Associates Commercial Corp. v. Rash, 520 U.S. 953, 956 (1997), the Supreme Court adopted a replacement-value standard for 11 U.S.C. 506(a)(1) cram-down valuations, holding that replacement value, rather than a foreclosure sale that will not take place, is the proper guide under a prescription hinged to the property's disposition or use. In this case, the en banc court held that, because foreclosure would vitiate covenants requiring that the secured property—an apartment complex—be used for low-income housing, foreclosure value in this case exceeds replacement value, which is tied to debtor’s actual use of the property in the proposed reorganization. The en banc court held, as Rash teaches, that section 506(a)(1) requires the use of replacement value rather than a hypothetical value derived from the very foreclosure that the reorganization was designed to avoid. The bankruptcy court did not err here by approving debtor's plan of reorganization and valuing the collateral assuming its continued use after reorganization as low-income housing. Accordingly, the en banc court affirmed the district court's judgment affirming the bankruptcy court's affirmance of debtor's Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. View "First Southern National Bank v. Sunnyslope Housing Ltd. Partnership" on Justia Law

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Movant-Appellee Nabors Drilling USA, L.P. filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. That filing triggered the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. 362(a)(1), which generally applied to protect a debtor after it has filed for bankruptcy protection. The question presented in this case was whether that stay applied to a lawsuit filed by appellant-plaintiff Jeremy Porter, who has asserted a claim under California’s Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”). Porter contended the exception established in 11 U.S.C. 362(b)(4) applied to exempt his PAGA claim from the automatic stay. The Ninth Circuit concluded that the exception does not apply to a claim brought by a private party under PAGA, and therefore granted Nabors’s motion to recognize the automatic stay. View "Porter v. Nabors Drilling USA, L.P." on Justia Law

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In this bankruptcy appeal, the issue presented for the Ninth Circuit’s review was one of first impression regarding some key provisions of 11 U.S.C. 1111(b) that apply to Chapter 11 proceedings for those who hold non-recourse liens on real property who are granted recourse against the bankruptcy estate upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Those protected are creditors who have “a claim secured by a lien on property of the estate.” The issue before the Court was whether the creditor continues to have a right of recourse after there has been a non-judicial foreclosure, so that the property is no longer part of the estate and the liens have been extinguished. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (“BAP said no and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. View "Mastan v. Salamon" on Justia Law

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When debtors filed for bankruptcy in 2013, PNC Bank filed a claim based on a 2007 note. Debtors objected, contending that the claim was barred by California's applicable four-year statute of limitations. PNC argued, however, that the claim was timely because the promissory note's choice of Ohio law incorporated Ohio's six-year limitations period. The bankruptcy judge agreed that Ohio's six-year limitations applied to this case. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed. The court concluded that where a choice-of-law provision does not expressly include the statute of limitations, the court has construed it as silent on the issue. The court explained that where no statute of limitations is provided for a federal cause of action, the law of limitations of the forum state is followed. However, in this case, the court reasoned that the application of Section 142 of the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws compels the conclusion that California's shorter statute of limitations does not apply, because this case presents the sort of "exceptional circumstances" under which the 1988 version of the Second Restatement looks past the law of the forum, and applies a longer foreign limitations period. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded to the bankruptcy court for further proceedings. View "PNC Bank v. Sterba" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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Debtor was the former owner and operator of two towing companies, Yellow Logistics and Yellow Express. In this case, the bankruptcy court sanctioned the companies for violating the automatic stay by pursuing civil contempt proceedings against debtor based on his failure to pay discovery sanctions in a state court action. The court held that under In re Berg, civil contempt proceedings are exempted from the automatic stay under the Bankruptcy Code's government regulatory exemption, when, as here, the contempt proceedings are intended to effectuate the court's public policy interest in deterring litigation misconduct. Therefore, the court concluded that the bankruptcy court erred, and affirmed the decision of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP), though on a different basis than that discussed by the BAP. View "Dingley v. Yellow Logistics, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy