All items from Michigan Bankruptcy Blog

A recent decision in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan[1] granted a Motion filed by the Chapter 7 Trustee requesting turnover by the debtor of proceeds of a life insurance policy that were used by the debtor to pay the burial expenses of her father.
In the case, the Chapter 7 Trustee filed a Motion to Compel Turnover of Non-Exempt Assets seeking $9,698.90 from the debtor, including non-exempt cash, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy, and the proceeds from an insurance policy on her father's life. The debtor disputed that she was required to turn over the $7,208.84 in life insurance on her father's life, who died two days after her bankruptcy filing. The debtor argued that she used the proceeds to pay for her father's burial, and that she was not a beneficiary of the policy, but rather the owner. Read More ›
Tags: Chapter 7, Western District of Michigan

Posted 3 weeks 5 days ago

Baldridge v. Douglas Stanley Ellmann (In re Baldridge), Appeal No. 13-1700 (6th Cir., Feb. 3, 2014).
On appeal from the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Sixth Circuit held that a $28,000 “carve out” recovered by the Chapter 7 Trustee pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 506(c) after closing a sale on the debtors’ property was not property of the estate that could be subject to the debtors’ exemption because the property was over encumbered by two mortgages, leaving no equity for the debtors to exempt. Read More ›
Tags: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 7

Posted 5 weeks 5 days ago

Section 110 of the United States Bankruptcy Code provides that a non-attorney can assist in the preparation of the bankruptcy petition. However, as an Inkster, Michigan man just learned (the hard way), the Bankruptcy Code places numerous requirements on bankruptcy petition preparers and subjects those who do not comply to substantial penalties.
On Tuesday, February 25, Derrick Hills of Inkster was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Sean F. Cox to 46 months in prison after being convicted by a jury in September of five counts of criminal contempt. The contempt proceedings stemmed from repeated violations of orders issued by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes from 2007 to 2009. According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office following Hills' conviction at trial:

Posted 7 weeks 14 hours ago

In re Newcomb Print Communications, Inc., Case No. 12-08042 (Bankr. W.D. Mich., Sept. 6, 2013).
When a debtor files a case under Chapter 11 and retains legal counsel, another person or entity may fund the debtor’s retainer. But even when the debtor is not the source of the funds, the retainer is property of the bankruptcy estate – which is particularly important if the case later converts to Chapter 7. Read More ›
Tags: Chapter 11, Chapter 7

Posted 28 weeks 2 days ago

Lindsey v. Pinnacle Nat’l Bank (In re Lindsey), Appeal No. 12-6362 (6th Cir., Aug. 13, 2013)
The Sixth Circuit held this week in a published opinion that a bankruptcy court’s denial of confirmation of a Chapter 11 plan is not a final appealable order. In so holding, the Sixth Circuit joins four other circuits, while three other circuits have held to the contrary. Read More ›
Tags: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Chapter 11

Posted 35 weeks 1 day ago

The Bankruptcy Court of the Western District of Michigan recently held that a spendthrift provision in a trust was negated by other trust provisions, and resulted in a debtor’s beneficial interest in the trust becoming property of the estate.1

Posted 38 weeks 6 days ago

In a recent decision, the United States Supreme Court provided guidance relating to the term “defalcation” of the Bankruptcy Code under Section 523(a)(4).1 In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that the term “defalcation” of the Bankruptcy Code includes a “culpable state of mind requirement involving knowledge of, or gross recklessness in respect to, the improper nature of the fiduciary behavior.” Read More ›
Tags: U.S. Supreme Court

Posted 44 weeks 2 days ago

The Bankruptcy Court of the Western District of Michigan recently denied a Trustee’s Motion to Sell Avoidance Actions pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 363(b).1 The Trustee’s Motion sought authority to sell potential causes of actions under Chapter 5 of the Bankruptcy Code, as the estate had limited resources to pursue the actions. The Court noted that the Sixth Circuit has not decided the issue of whether a Bankruptcy Trustee has authority to sell avoidance actions.
The real issue before the Court was whether an avoidance action is “property of the estate” given a Trustee has authority to sell property of the estate pursuant to § 363(b). The Court rejected the Trustee’s argument that avoidance actions are included within property of the estate. Read More ›
Tags: Western District of Michigan

Posted 50 weeks 15 hours ago

Effective May 1, 2013, the Bankruptcy Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Michigan will begin charging a new fee of $25 for each claim transferred. The purpose of the fee, as stated by the Judicial Conference Committee, relates to the number of claims transferred and the impact they have on the workload of the Bankruptcy Courts, including Court time and resources.
The fee will be assessed upon the filing of the claim transfer, regardless of who files the claim transfer. The $25 fee will be charged for each individual claim transfer, and it will also apply to partial claims transfers.

Tags: Eastern District of Michigan, Western District of Michigan

Posted 1 year 1 week ago

In re Casey Marie Anthony, Bankr. M.D. Fla., Case No. 8:13-bk-00922-KRM
Although this blog typically focuses on Michigan bankruptcy cases, last week’s Chapter 7 filing by Casey Anthony raises interesting questions about the impact of bankruptcy on public figures.
Casey Anthony held the national spotlight for nearly three years after being charged with murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee.  Anthony initially alleged that Caylee was kidnapped by her nanny, then claimed that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool.  After a jury found her not guilty on all charges except some misdemeanors, Anthony faced a barrage of lawsuits, including claims for defamation and for reimbursement by private investigators who searched for Caylee in the months before her remains were found.
Those lawsuits ground to a halt when Anthony filed a voluntary Chapter 7 petition in the Middle District of Florida on January 25, 2013.  In her bankruptcy papers, Anthony lists few assets (comprised mostly of household goods) but discloses unsecured debts of nearly $800,000, plus numerous debts of unknown amounts.  The debts include the pending lawsuits against her and $500,000 in legal fees owed to her criminal defense attorney. Read More ›
Tags: Chapter 7

Posted 1 year 11 weeks ago