On February 4, 2013, in Hoffman v. Lang, et al. (In re Swan), United States Bankruptcy Judge Alan Jaroslovsky, of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California, Santa Rosa division, issued a short but interesting decision more notable for the unusual facts of the case than for the decision itself. A would-be debtor had been fleeced of her vineyard by a “business acquaintance,” and the chapter 7 trustee filed suit to recover the property pursuant to section 548(a)(1)(B) of the Bankruptcy Code. While expressing extreme displeasure with the defendant’s actions and morals, the court found that “it does not appear that the law allows the court to undo the transaction, much as it would like to do so.”
Background and Facts
Santa Rosa is the county seat of beautiful Sonoma County, next door to Napa County and right in the heart of world-renowned Northern California wine country. The debtor’s story is set in Healdsburg, a small but rapidly gentrifying town on the northern reaches of Sonoma County.