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Case Numbersort ascending Opinion Summary ( date sorted)
James F. Schneider
99-6-4239
Treshman
Jan 01, 2001

The plaintiffs are individual physicians and their corporate employers engaged in performing legal abortions. The corporate plaintiffs are providers of women's health services. The debtor, a regional leader of the American Coalition of Life Activists ("ACLA"), a radical organization opposed to abortion, targeted the individual plaintiffs for possible injury and death by posting their names and addresses on the Internet and by distributing wanted posters bearing their likenesses. The plaintiffs sued the debtor and other members of the ACLA in the Federal district court in Oregon and obtained substantial judgments against them for damages based upon the infliction of willful injury. The debtor filed bankruptcy in this Court, and the plaintiffs filed the instant complaint to determine the Oregon judgments to be nondischargeable based upon the doctrine of collateral estoppel. Before the Court are the motions for summary judgment [P. 9] filed by the plaintiffs, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc., Portland Feminist Women's Health Center, Robert Crist, M.D., Warren M. Hern, M.D., Elizabeth P. Newhall, M.D. and James Newhall, M.D., and by the debtor-defendant, Donald J. Treshman, as to the second cause of action stated in the instant complaint, namely the nondischargeability of debts. For the reasons set forth, the plaintiffs' motion will be granted and the defendant's motion will be denied.

James F. Schneider
99-59994
Preston Trucking Company, Inc.
May 08, 2005

Interpleader filed by Chapter 11 debtor after confirmation of liquidating plan against union and company that paid employees for assignment of their WARN Act claims. Union cross-claimed against assignee to invalidate assignment of claims by employees on grounds of fraud, unconscionability, that union was holder of claims and not the employees, and for violation of Rules of Professional Responsibility because union claimed that its counsel represented the individual employees and that assignee was barred from contacting employees directly. Assignee cross-claimed against union alleging breach of contract and tortious interference.
Held, (1) Union had standing to sue on behalf of employees; (2) however, claims were property of the employees and not the union, and therefore, employees had the right to assign claims without union approval; (3) assignments were not procured by fraud and were not unconscionable; (4) refusal of employees to honor assignments constituted breach of contract; the conduct of union did not amount to tortious interference with contract because the union acted in good faith in advising members not to honor assignments. Judgment for assignee.

James F. Schneider
99-59684
Dobbins, Vera Lynn
Apr 07, 2000

The issue in this case is whether a claim for sexual harassment may be exempted from the Chapter 7 debtor's bankruptcy estate under Maryland's personal injury exemption statute, Md. Cts. and Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 11-504(b)(2). The Chapter 7 trustee objected on that basis to the debtor's claimed exemption of $29,575 paid to her in settlement of a claim for sexual harassment brought against the debtor's former employer.

James F. Schneider
99-59684
Dobbins, Vera Lynn
Apr 07, 2000

Based upon the Memorandum Opinion filed simultaneously herewith, the Chapter 7 trustee's objection to the debtor's exemption of proceeds from a settlement of a claim for gender discrimination and harassment is hereby OVERRULED and the said exemption is hereby ALLOWED.

James F. Schneider
99-54703
Bunch v. Hopkins Savings Bank, Et.al,
May 30, 2000

For reasons set forth in the memorandum of opinion filed simultaneously herewith, the defendants' motion to dismiss the instant adversary proceeding is hereby DENIED.

James F. Schneider
99-53923
MAXINE’S, INC
Sep 30, 2003

Upon the objection of the debtor-in-possession to the application of former counsel for compensation, it was held that the quality of the legal representation for which compensation was sought, being the most important consideration, did not justify the award of a fee in the amount requested. Whereupon, a counsel fee in a reduced amount was granted.

James F. Schneider
99-52417
Baltimore County Savings Bank v. Malinowski
May 30, 2000

The issue raised on summary judgement in the instant complaint to determine nondischargeability of debt for willful and malicious injury is not whether the debtor's conduct in torching his own automobile in which the plaintiff held a security interest was willful and malicious. Rather, it is whether such willful and malicious conduct was satisfactorily proven at an earlier trial in a State court so as to bar relitigation of the issue in the present context. For the reasons stated, the complaint will be granted on summary judgement and the debt will be determined to be nondischargeable.

James F. Schneider
99-52416
Baltimore County Savings Bank v. Malinowski
May 30, 2000

For reasons set forth in the Memorandum Opinion filed simultaneously herewith, the plaintiff's motion for summary judgement is hereby GRANTED and the debt owed to it by the debtor, pursuant to a judgement rendered in the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County in Case No. 12903-1997, in the amount of $14,109.41, plus pre-judgement interest of $1,149.92, attorney's fees of $2,116.41 and costs of $35, plus post-judgement interest at the legal rate is hereby determined to be NONDISCHARGEABLE.

James F. Schneider
99-5-8658
Stern
Aug 01, 2001

This matter came on for hearing upon the motion of BARCODING.COM to vacate the debtor's Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge and to dismiss the instant Chapter 13 case [P. 15]. For the reasons set forth, the instant Chapter 13 case will be dismissed, but the debtor's Chapter 7 discharge will not be revoked.

James F. Schneider
98-66211
Doctors Health, Inc.
Apr 15, 2005

Adversary proceeding by health care provider and debtor in possession against HMO with which the plaintiff contracted to administer Medicare plans. The complaint sought the disallowance of the defendant’s claim against the estate in the amount of $29,796,049.37, and for breach of contract, including improper draws of letters of credit, that caused the debtor to file bankruptcy. The defendant HMO counterclaimed that it was excused from performance because the debtor’s prior breach that entitled the defendant to draw down the letters of credit.
Held, (1) the bankruptcy court had subject matter jurisdiction because the complaint concerned the disallowance of a claim against the estate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157; (2) the contract was executory and could properly have been assumed by the debtor; (3) the defendant anticipatorily breached the contract; (4) Court disallowed the defendant’s claim in its entirety because the HMO was party ultimately liable under state law to pay the amounts asserted; and (5) the plaintiff was entitled to damages in the amount of $21.3 million as consequential damages arising from breach of contract. Judgment for the plaintiff.

James F. Schneider
98-65483
Marshall & Illsley Trust Co. v. Morton M. Lapides,
Oct 05, 2007

After the award of a $7 million judgment by the bankruptcy court against the alter ego of a debtor corporation in an earlier adversary proceeding, a second suit was brought in the bankruptcy court by the successor in interest of the judgment creditor to enforce the judgment by avoiding alleged fraudulent transfers of real and personal property by the alter ego to other non-debtor defendants. Held, the bankruptcy court lacked “related to” subject matter jurisdiction over the second suit because it was so tangential to the bankruptcy case that it would not have a minimal impact on the administration of the debtor’s estate.

James F. Schneider
98-6-5599
McGee
Jan 01, 2001

The debtors, Robert W. McGee and Janis S. McGee, filed the instant Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition on November 4, 1998. On April 1, 1999, the debtors filed objections to the claims of Benfield Electric Co., Inc. ("Benfield") and Ridge Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, Inc. ("Ridge"). For the following reasons, the objection of Janis S. McGee will be sustained, the objection of Robert W. McGee will be overruled and the said claims will be allowed, but only as to Mr. McGee

James F. Schneider
98-6-5483
Transcolor Corperation
Jun 13, 2003

Held, the creditor of a Chapter 7 debtor corporation had standing to sue on the claim in the bankruptcy court against the debtor and the debtor’s alter ego whose fraudulent misrepresentations on behalf of the debtor caused injury to the plaintiff and gave rise to the creditor’s claim. The plaintiff as trustee under certain indentures sued the insider and various corporations he owned or controlled, including the debtor, for misrepresentation, concealment by breach of duty to disclose and fraudulent conveyance. The Chapter 7 trustee consented to the suit and entered into an agreement with the plaintiff whereby the estate would share pari passu in any recovery against the insider. The bankruptcy court permitted the plaintiff to “pierce the corporate veil” because of the insider’s multiple fraudulent transactions between shell corporations which gave rise to the claim. The court awarded the plaintiff a $7M judgment against the insider.

James F. Schneider
98-6-5483
Transcolor
Jan 01, 2001

The defendants, Cerberus Partners, L.P. ("Cerberus"), Madeleine L.L.C. ("Madeleine"), and Gordon Brothers Capital Corporation ("Gordon Brothers") filed the instant motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, for judgment on the pleadings [P. 13]. This opinion addresses the question, "May a party (in this case, a debtor) that sustained injury or alleged that it sustained injury from the rejection by a debtor in a different bankruptcy case of an unexpired lease or executory contract maintain a cause of action in a State court against the insiders of the other debtor who caused it to file bankruptcy and reject the contract or lease?" For the reasons stated, the answer is "No," thereby requiring the dismissal of the instant complaint upon the defendants' motion.

James F. Schneider
98-5-2674
Gundry
Jan 01, 2001

Upon cross motions for summary judgment, this Court is called upon to decide two questions of law, namely whether the debtor and FINOVA Capital Corporation ("FINOVA") may avoid a prepetition tax lien of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore (the "City") for unpaid personal property taxes, and whether the said municipal tax lien primed an earlier deed of trust lien of FINOVA upon proceeds of the debtor's real property that was sold free and clear of liens. A tax lien of the Internal Revenue Service is not the subject of this opinion. There are no material facts in dispute because the parties, including the IRS, joined in a stipulation of material facts. For the reasons stated, the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment will be granted.

James F. Schneider
97-5-18Xx
Luskins
Jan 01, 2001

On February 13, 1997, Ashby Enterprises, Ltd., Luskins Appliances, Inc., Luskins, Inc., We-Are-Electronics, Inc., and Sound and Sight, Inc., (the "plaintiffs," or collectively "Luskins") filed voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in this Court. On July 10, 1997, the plaintiffs filed the instant amended complaint for breach of contract and damages against the defendant, Petters Company, Inc. At trial on January 21, 1999, this Court found the defendant liable to the plaintiffs for breach of a contract dated December 21, 1996 ("Collateral Disposition Agreement" or "Agreement") by which Petters obligated itself to purchase "factory-fresh" inventory from Luskins located at a warehouse in Columbia, Maryland, and retail outlets located in Towson and Woodlawn, Maryland. Determination of the amount of damages was reserved, and the parties submitted post-trial briefs on that issue. Based upon the submissions and the evidence presented at trial, the Court has determined damages to have been sustained by the plaintiffs in the amount of $94,594.07, and will enter judgment in that amount in favor of Luskins, Inc., against Petters, Inc.

James F. Schneider
97-5-1033
Lewis
Jan 01, 2001

MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING DEBTORS' MOTION FOR STAY OF PROCEEDINGS. This matter came before the Court upon the defendants' motion for stay of proceedings pursuant to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940. For the stated reasons, the motion will be denied.

James F. Schneider
96-58962
Mueller
Nov 07, 2000

The Chapter 7 trustee objected to the debtors' exemption of a deferred compensation plan. This opinion holds that The Maryland State Employees Deferred Compensation Plan and Trust (the "Plan") is a pension plan that is both excludable from the debtors' bankruptcy estate pursuant to Section 541(c)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code and and that even if it is includable in the estate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 541(a), it is exemptible from the estate pursuant to the law of the State of Maryland. Accordingly, the objection will be overruled, for the following reasons.

James F. Schneider
96-5-129
George Transfer
Jan 01, 2001

This matter came on for hearing on cross motions for summary judgment upon the instant complaint brought by the liquidating trustee for the recovery of a preference. For the reasons stated, the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [P. 25] will be granted, the defendant's motion for summary judgment [P. 27] will be denied, and the preferential transfer will be avoided.

James F. Schneider
95-54703
Bunch v. Hopkins Savings Bank, Et.al.
May 30, 2000

This opinion holds that while a decedent's estate is not eligible to file a Chapter 13 banktuptcy petition because it is not within the definition of an "individual" as set forth in 11 U.S.C. § 109 for purposes of Chapter 13, a debtor who is serving as a personal representative of a decedent's estate is not thereby barred from filing a Chapter 13 petition in his individual capacity, if otherwise eligible.

James F. Schneider
95-5-8431
Arbutus Shopping Center
Jan 01, 2001

On Friday, November 17, 1995, an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition was filed in this Court against the debtor, Farm Fresh Supermarkets of Maryland, Inc. ("Farm Fresh"). On the same day, the appointment of an interim trustee was authorized by this Court and Terry L. Musika was appointed to that position by the United States Trustee. On Sunday, November 19, 1995, Beckenheimer's, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Farm Fresh, filed a voluntary Chapter 7 petition in Case No. 95-5-8441 on an emergency basis at the home of the undersigned bankruptcy judge. On that occasion, Mr. Musika was appointed interim trustee in that case as well. On the same day, this Court approved Mr. Musika's motion that the two cases be jointly administered, Farm Fresh having consented to adjudication as a Chapter 7 debtor. Thereafter, the United States Trustee appointed Mr. Musika as Chapter 7 trustee in both cases. On April 28, 1998, the trustee filed the instant complaint for avoidance of a postpetition transfer, turnover and other relief, against Arbutus Shopping Center Limited Partnership ("Arbutus" and/or "landlord"), the landlord of one of the debtor's stores. For the following reasons, the instant complaint will be dismissed.

James F. Schneider
95-5-1368
Geonex
Jan 01, 2001

The issue presented is whether the administrative claim of Norritech for postpetition, prerejection damages arising from the rejection of its unexpired lease of nonresidential real property includes interest and counsel fees. According to the provisions of the lease and applicable law, this opinion holds that it does.

James F. Schneider
94-52706
Wright v. Asbury
Mar 01, 2000

For the reasons set forth in the Memorandum Opinion filed simultaneously herewith, the instant complaints to determine dischargeability of debt, etc., are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. All costs of these proceedings to be assessed to the plaintiffs.

James F. Schneider
92-52338
Rinn v. Fraidin
Oct 14, 2008

Chapter 7 debtor objected to trustee’s professional fees, entered as a sanction against debtor under Federal Rule 37, to be paid from non-estate assets. Held, in light of debtor’s oppressive and obstructive behavior, trustee’s fees were more than reasonable and objection was overruled.

James F. Schneider
92-52338
JACOB FRAIDIN
Sep 30, 2003

In a complaint to avoid and recover fraudulent transfers, default judgment was entered against the debtor for his failure to respond to discovery requests. Thereafter a hearing was held on the trustee’s ex parte motion for damages and this Court awarded the trustee a judgment. The judgment was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit based upon the failure to afford the debtor an opportunity to produce evidence on the issue of damages. Upon remand, this Court conducted a second hearing on damages to which the debtor was invited to attend and which he did in fact attend. At the conclusion of the second hearing this court awarded the Chapter 7 trustee a judgment in the identical amount entered as a result of the earlier hearing, to wit: $1.6 million plus fees and costs.

James F. Schneider
92-5-2338
Fraidin
Jan 01, 2001

This matter came on for hearing before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland at Baltimore on December 21, 1998, June 29, 1999 and July 1, 1999. For the following reasons, the complaint will be granted and judgments will be entered against the defendants.

James F. Schneider
92-5-2338
Fraidin
Jan 01, 2001

PURSUANT to Bankruptcy Rule 7054 and Federal Rule 54, and the Court finding that there is no just reason for delaying entry of final judgment, it is ORDERED that final judgment be and it is hereby ENTERED against the defendant, Michael Fraidin, and in favor of the plaintiff, Michael G. Rinn, Chapter 7 trustee, in the principal amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), plus interest from March 22, 1996, at the rate of 5.25% per annum, plus costs.

James F. Schneider
92-5-2338
Fraidin
Jan 01, 2001

PURSUANT to Bankruptcy Rule 7054 and Federal Rule 54, and the Court finding that there is no just reason for delaying entry of final judgment, it is ORDERED that final judgment be and it is hereby ENTERED against the defendant, Laura Fraidin Overmier, and in favor of the plaintiff, Michael G. Rinn, Chapter 7 trustee, in the principal amount of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), plus interest from March 22, 1996, at the rate of 5.25% per annum, plus costs.

James F. Schneider
92-5-2338
Fraidin
Jan 01, 2001

Based upon the memorandum opinion filed simultaneously herewith, the complaints brought by Michael G. Rinn, the Chapter 7 trustee of the estate of Jacob Fraidin, are granted against the defendants. The fraudulent transfer from the debtor to Brian Fraidin in the amount of $60,000 is hereby AVOIDED. The fraudulent transfer by the debtor to each of the defendants, Brian Fraidin, Michael Fraidin and Laura Fraidin Overmier, in the amount of $10,000 each, is hereby AVOIDED.

James F. Schneider
92-5-2338
Fraidin
Jan 01, 2001

PURSUANT to Bankruptcy Rule 7054 and Federal Rule 54, and the Court finding that there is no just reason for delaying entry of final judgment, it is ORDERED that final judgment be and it is hereby ENTERED against the defendant, Brian Fraidin, and in favor of the plaintiff, Michael G. Rinn, Chapter 7 trustee, in the principal amount of Seventy Thousand Dollars ($70,000.00), plus interest from March 22, 1996, at the rate of 5.25% per annum, plus costs.

James F. Schneider
91-52706
Wright v. Asbury
Mar 01, 2000

On remand from the U.S. District Court, the instant complaint to determine dischargeability was dismissed for a second time by memorandum opinion and order [PP. 54 and 55] dated March 31, 1998. The unsuccessful plaintiffs, Stephen M. Wright and Stephen M. Wright, CPA, P.A., filed motions to alter, amend or vacate the order dismissing complaint with prejudice, a motion for new trial and a motion to revoke and/or strike discharge of debtor. For the following reasons, the motions will be denied.

James F. Schneider
91-52706
Wright v. Asbury
Mar 01, 2000

In 1992, the plaintiffs filed a complaint, an amended complaint, and a second amended complaint to determine dischargeability of debt, which this Court dismissed at trial because the evidence related solely to the general denial of a discharge in bankruptcy, but it was too late to amend the complaint because the deadline had passed for bringing complaints objecting to discharge. See Wright v. Asbury, Adversary Proceeding No. 92-5257-JS. After the second amended complaint was dismissed and while the debtor's instant Chapter 7 case was still open, the plaintiffs filed the instant complaint objecting to discharge. After a two-day hearing, the Court will dismiss the instant complaint on grounds of res judicata, issue preclusion and limitations. The plaintiffs and defendant are pro se.

James F. Schneider
09-00443
In re Alan Brian Fabian, Guttman v. Fabian
Sep 13, 2011

This opinion holds that the trustee of an involuntary Chapter 11 corporate debtor who sued the sole insider for the recovery of fraudulent transfers made with actual intent to defraud creditors, has standing as a creditor on behalf of the Chapter 11 estate to obtain a nondischargeable judgment against the insider in his subsequently-filed voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in the amount of the avoided transfers.

James F. Schneider
08-26688
In re Brian and Marlene White
Jun 23, 2009

Unsecured creditor objected to confirmation of joint debtors’ Chapter 13 plan on ground that bankruptcy court should look to Schedule I in calculating debtors’ “projected disposable income” under 11 U.S.C. § 1325 and arguing that debtors improperly deducted monthly secured debt payments on real property that they were surrendering on Form B22C. Held, debtors’ deduction of monthly secured debt payments on real property that they were surrendering was improper, but creditor did not provide sufficient evidence to cause bankruptcy court to deviate from Form B22C when calculating monthly income. This opinion is in accord with the decision of Chief Judge Keir in the case of In re Watson, 366 B.R. 523 (Bankr. D. Md. 2007), which held that only in rare instances will the bankruptcy court consider confirming Chapter 13 plans where the “projected disposable income” does not conform with the calculations on Form B22C. In Watson, Judge Keir held that disposable income as calculated on Form B22C is the presumptive “projected disposable income” for application of Section 1325(b)(1)(B). but “if the presumption is rebutted, a projected budget based upon the evidence, reflecting projected earnings and projected reasonable necessary expenses will govern the determination of ‘projected disposable income’ for purposes of confirmation of the plan.” In re Watson, 366 B.R. at 531.

James F. Schneider
08-21030
In re Thomas Alfred Smith, IV
Nov 25, 2008

Creditor moved for an order declaring nondischargeable a debt that was held to be nondischargeable by default in a previous bankruptcy case, and also for an order declaring no stay in effect because no motion to extend the automatic stay had been filed by the debtor within 30 days of the petition date. Held, debt which is non-dischargeable in one bankruptcy was nondischargeable in subsequent case, even where the previous judgment was granted by default; because the automatic stay expired as to non-estate property, the creditor could execute on the debtor’s post-petition wages; however, because § 522(c)(1) disallowed execution on exempt property, the creditor would not be permitted to execute on commissions earned prepetition, and which had been exempted without objection.

James F. Schneider
08-18259
In re Day, Muse v. Day
Jul 30, 2009

Plaintiff moved for summary judgment in adversary proceeding on grounds that collateral estoppel applied to render state court judgment for defamation and abuse of process nondischargeable as a debt for willful and malicious injury under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6). Held, collateral estoppel rendered state court judgment for defamation nondischargeable because (1) issue of malice had been necessarily litigated in state court; plaintiff was a public official and therefore was constitutionally required to prove actual malice to obtain a judgment for defamation; (2) the issue of willfulness, defined as intent to cause injury, was necessarily litigated in state court because conduct was defamatory per se, creating a presumption of intent to cause injury, and state court trial transcript did not show rebuttal of presumption; (3) collateral estoppel rendered state court judgment for abuse of process nondischargeable because judgment was necessarily based on findings of willfulness and malice.

James F. Schneider
08-17058
In re Paul and Capri McClendon. Gulati v. McClendo
Aug 11, 2009

Creditor filed complaint to determine State court judgment nondischargeable for fraud under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2). State court judgment was entered after debtors filed one page pro se answer but did not appear for trial. Held, collateral estoppel did not apply to render State court judgment nondischargeable under 523(a)(2)(A) because it was not based on the debtor’s intent not to perform a contract; further, collateral estoppel did not apply to render State court judgment nondischargeable under 523(a)(2)(B) because it was not based upon a written misrepresentation of financial ability.

James F. Schneider
08-14174
In re Hurst, Simpson v. Sun Trust Mortgage, Inc.
Feb 26, 2009

Chapter 7 trustee filed opposition to secured creditor’s motion for relief from the automatic stay as to the debtor’s residence, but the trustee did not attend the hearing on motion, which was granted after the secured creditor’s presentation of evidence. The trustee filed motion to vacate the lift stay order on grounds that secured creditor had received a preference as a result of its late recordation of an indemnity deed of trust. Trustee then withdrew the motion to vacate in order to pursue an adversary proceeding to avoid the preference. On secured creditor’s motion to dismiss the adversary as barred by collateral estoppel, Held, collateral estoppel did not apply because the issue of the preferential transfer was not “actually litigated” at the hearing on the motion for relief from stay.

James F. Schneider
08-00225
In re Joseph W. Janssens. Freedom Medical v. Jans
Jun 15, 2010

Debtor’s breach of non-competition clause in pre-petition employment contract, accompanied by tortious conduct that amounted to fraud, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty to the plaintiff, resulted in a finding that the resulting damages were non-dischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(2), (a)(4), and (a)(6).

James F. Schneider
07-21814
In re Fieldstone Mortgage Co., Inc.
Feb 25, 2010

On remand from the U.S. district court (which held that certain key employees of the Chapter 11 debtor were officers and therefore subject to the provisions of Section 503(c)(1) as insiders of the debtor), the issue was whether any of five employees could satisfy limitations set forth in the statute in order to receive payments under a Key Employee Retention Plan (“KERP”). Held, Section 503(c)(1) requirements not satisfied by the agreement of the purchaser of Chapter 11 debtor corporation’s stock (pursuant to confirmed plan) to pay the same compensation as that proposed by the KERP, because the agreement to match the debtor’s KERP was not a bona fide job offer as not coming from a different business, and therefore not an offer in competition with the KERP. As being the same business as that of the debtor, the purchaser’s offer did not test the value of the KERP as a competing offer.

James F. Schneider
07-21814
In re Fieldstone Mortgage Co., Inc.
Mar 22, 2010

(In the matter of the Administrative Claim of Moody’s Wall Street Analytics)

Held, (1) Chapter 11 debtor corporation had standing to reject executory contract notwithstanding the fact that the debtor’s parent corporation was the contracting party and not the debtor, where the obligee demanded payment from the debtor and the debtor was unwittingly in possession of the claimant’s computer equipment on the petition date; (2) debtor may reject an executory contract to which it was not a party in the exercise of its sound business judgment based upon the reasonable belief that the debtor might be liable for performance of the contract; (3) debtor’s rejection of an executory contract is not an acknowledgment of indebtedness per se; (4) while rejection of an executory contract may give rise to an unsecured claim and/or an administrative claim against the bankruptcy estate for breach of contract, administrative claimant seeking rejection damages bears burdens of proving damages and that the debtor was obligated to perform the contract, particularly where the debtor is not a party to the rejected contract, but might be liable on some other basis; (5) debtor’s rejection of an executory contract to which it was not a party did not give rise to a claim for any damages against the bankruptcy estate where administrative claimant failed to prove both debtor’s obligation to perform the contract and that debtor’s rejection thereof caused damage to the claimant.

James F. Schneider
07-20367
In re Balzano
Jun 13, 2008

Creditor moved to vacate an order determining an automatic stay to be applicable on real property titled and mortgaged in the name of Chapter 13 debtor’s non-filing spouse. Held, motion granted because debtor’s marriage to the titled owner of real property did not create an interest sufficient to bring the property into the debtor’s bankruptcy estate.

James F. Schneider
07-13229
In re Denise A. Ciotti. Ciotti v. Franchot.
Aug 11, 2009

In complaint for declaratory judgment that tax debt owed to State of Maryland for years 1992 to 1996 was dischargeable in bankruptcy, debtor had filed returns for those tax years but had not filed a report of federal adjustment after the IRS audited her and found additional income. Held, the failure to file a report of federal adjustment did not render tax debt to the State nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(B)(i) because a report of federal adjustment is not the type of “equivalent report” of which the failure to file would render tax debt nondischargeable.

James F. Schneider
07-11502
In re Michele Y. Williams
Aug 24, 2007

The Chapter 13 debtor was a director of a corporation who allegedly employed the claimant as a project manager. The claimant filed a proof of claim in the debtor’s case for $9,453.90, representing unpaid wages and business expenses. Held, the debtor’s objection to the proof of claim was sustained because the claimant was unable to prove that the debtor was personally liable for a debt owed by the corporate employer to the claimant.

James F. Schneider
07-10535
In re Skeen Goldman LLP
Dec 20, 2007

Creditor filed motion to dismiss second Chapter 11 case filed by asbestos law firm. Held, the case must be dismissed for bad faith under 11 U.S.C. § 1112 because it was a repeat filing seeking to undermine a settlement agreement which concluded the first case.

James F. Schneider
06-17963
In re Richard L. and Pamela L. Cutaio
Sep 13, 2007

The Court overruled the Chapter 13 debtors’ objection to the secured claim of the holder of an indemnity deed of trust on their house issued to enable their daughter to purchase a house through a membership interest in a Maryland limited liability company. The daughter’s property was sold at foreclosure and the sale was ratified by the state court. Held, (1) the IDOT did not create any personal liability on the part of the debtors, (2) the IDOT served as security for the underlying promissory note, (3) although the promissary note was not filed with the proof of claim, its existence was not in dispute and therefore the proof of claim was sufficient, (4) the presentation of a check to the lender did not constitute tender of payment, and (5) because proper notice of the foreclosure sale was given to the daughter, the debtors’ objection would be overruled.

James F. Schneider
06-16634
Pultz v. Novastar Mortgage, Inc.
Jun 13, 2008

Complaint by Chapter 13 debtor against mortgage lender alleged that termination of automatic stay applied only to in rem foreclosure remedies, that personal contact by defendant after the stay was lifted violated the automatic stay. On cross motions for summary judgment and defendant’s motion to dismiss, Held, plaintiff’s motion denied; both defendant’s motions granted. Contact of debtor by defendant was either necessary to in rem foreclosure proceedings, required by RESPA, or informational in nature and permissible under Local Bankruptcy Rule
4001-5.

James F. Schneider
06-16027
n re Haley F. Adams
Oct 18, 2007

The U.S. Trustee’s office filed a motion to dismiss debtor’s Chapter 7 case for bad faith under 11 U.S.C. § 707(b)(1) and 707(b)(3). Held, the case must be dismissed for bad faith because the totality of the circumstances suggested abuse.

James F. Schneider
06-13894
In re William Henry Smith
Oct 12, 2007

Held, a motion to file claim after claims bar date, to which the debtor and the Chapter 13 Trustee objected must be denied because the bankruptcy court does not have the authority to extend the 90-day period in which a creditor may file a proof of claim in a Chapter 13 case, and that the defense of “excusable neglect” is not applicable in a Chapter 13.

James F. Schneider
06-12034
In re Gloria Ann Megginson
Sep 05, 2007

On April 10, 2006, the Chapter 7 debtor filed the instant case pro se. The U.S. Trustee determined that her case was presumptively abusive after a review of her schedules, statement of financial affairs and statement of current monthly income and means test calculation, pursuant to Section 707(b)(2). The debtor indicated a 60-month disposable income of only $2,752.80, thus the presumption of abuse is not apparent in the instant case, as it is required to be greater than $10,000. After the debtor obtained counsel and amended her schedules, the U.S. Trustee continued to argue that the case was abusive because the debtor was not entitled to deduct the full amount of $471 allowed by the IRS Local Standards for a motor vehicle she owned because it was not encumbered and she has no obligation to make car payments. Held, debtors are entitled to claim the full amount of the transportation exclusion regardless of whether or not they are obligated to make car payments.

James F. Schneider
05-36514
In re Marshall R. Rief
Jul 19, 2007

Chapter 7 trustee objected to the exemption of life insurance policies because they named as beneficiary the “Trustee Named in the Last Will and Testament of the Insured.” Held, objection sustained because neither the debtor nor his wife were dependents of their minor children and thus, the policies were not within the statutory exemption.

James F. Schneider
05-36349
In re Wilbert and Christine Freeland
Dec 21, 2006

This opinion stands for the following propositions: (1) that certain debts that arose as a result of undue influence are nondischargeable pursuant to Section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code, where the plaintiff proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendants obtained property of the creditor by exerting undue influence accompanied by fraud; and (2) that in an adversary proceeding brought in the bankruptcy court to determine the nondischargeability of a debt, where no prior judgment had been awarded in a nonbankruptcy forum, the bankruptcy court may liquidate the damages, enter a nondischargeable judgment, and may also, where appropriate, award punitive damages as part of the nondischargeable judgment, where the plaintiff also proved actual malice in the commission of fraud by clear and convincing evidence.

James F. Schneider
05-36176
Jacobs v. Jacobs
Oct 10, 2008

Debtor’s former wife filed complaint against him to declare certain debts nondischargeable. The parties settled most of the controversy, except the former wife’s interest in the debtor’s military pension, which the debtor had exempted. Held, because the military pension was either the spouse’s property or the debtor’s exempt property, the Court lacks jurisdiction over the dispute because it did not affect the bankruptcy estate.

James F. Schneider
05-28334
Logan v. Williams
Mar 17, 2008

Cross motions for summary judgment filed to the Chapter 7 trustee’s complaint to avoid lien, turnover property and damages, as well as objection to debtor’s use of tenancy by the entirety exemption. Debtor was separated from wife but not divorced until 197 days after petition date. Issues presented were whether the trustee’s objections were timely and meritorious, and whether the tenancy was severed by the divorce or by any property settlement agreement. Held, the objection filed was not timely because objections to exemptions must be filed within 30 days of the conclusion of the last meeting of creditors, which the trustee unreasonably delayed, as determined on a case-by-case basis. The trustee’s objection was without merit. Entireties property is exempt from collection if there are no joint creditors and can only become part of the debtor’s bankruptcy estate if the divorce settlement occurs within 180 days of the petition date.

James F. Schneider
05-20168
Premier Automotive Services, Inc.
Jun 08, 2006

Memorandum Opinion Granting Summary Judgment To The Defendants And Relief From The Automatic Stay to the Maryland Port Administration

James F. Schneider
04-37512
Air Cargo, Inc. Litigation Trust v. i2 Technologie
Feb 07, 2007

Chapter 11 debtor’s liquidating plan created litigation trust for purposes including the pursuit of fraudulent conveyances and preferences. Litigation trustee filed complaint against two defendants, alleging various state law claims as well as claims for fraudulent conveyances, and the defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Held, bankruptcy court had subject matter jurisdiction because the plan was a liquidating plan where recovery of proceeds would benefit creditors, because the claims were partially federal in nature, and because the claims arose prepetition.

James F. Schneider
04-34214
Calvin C. and Cynthia M. Jones
Jun 08, 2006

Order Adjudging Robert L. Kline, III, To Be In Contempt

James F. Schneider
04-16203
Manufacturers and Traders Trust Co. v. Levitsky
Sep 30, 2008

A trial was held on cross complaints filed by two secured lenders and the Chapter 7 trustee seeking a declaratory judgment concerning whether Chapter 7 debtor’s residence titled in the name of his wholly-owned corporation was property of his bankruptcy estate and the validity of liens. Held, reverse veil-piercing was appropriate under Maryland law to bring the property within the bankruptcy estate where debtor set up the corporation solely to own his residence, he did not observe corporate formalities, and he used the corporation to launder money to hinder, delay and defraud creditors; lien of the senior secured lender was void under Maryland law because it had been released of record by an unknown party that filed an incorrect certificate of satisfaction; while the junior lien was valid, the trustee took priority to it as successor to the first lienholder’s position.

James F. Schneider
03-80215
Baltimore Marine Industries, Inc.
Jun 08, 2006

Memorandum Opinion Denying the Motion of Baltimore County, Maryland, for Allowance and Payment of Administrative Expense Claim

James F. Schneider
03-60757
Howlette v. Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden
Dec 11, 2008

After plaintiff voluntarily dismissed adversary proceeding against defendant law firm that had formerly represented him, defendant moved under Federal Rule 41 to stay future action absent payment of duplicate fees and costs. Held, motion was not ripe because plaintiff had not yet filed a second action, and Court did not have authority to impose a stay until he did so.

James F. Schneider
03-58769
In re Raymond Grauer, Jr., Bob Colton Enter., Inc
Dec 10, 2009

Nondischargeable judgment in the amount of $341,233.00 was entered by the bankruptcy court against Chapter 7 debtor by default after which the bankruptcy case was closed. Thereafter clerk of bankruptcy court issued to judgment creditor's assignee a writ of garnishment in which the debtor's first name was incorrect. Debtor objected because the initial writ used the wrong first name for the debtor. In response the creditor filed an amended writ, and a corrected writ was issued, to which the debtor again objected. Held, (1) debtor’s wages were properly withheld by garnishee and were not refundable to debtor where initial writ issued in debtor’s incorrect first name was nevertheless valid because identifiable to judgment debtor and where an amended, corrected writ was issued timely; (2) debtor was entitled to exempt 75% of the garnished funds pursuant to the Maryland wage exemption statute (Md. Comm. Law Code §15-601.1); (3) bankruptcy court possessed subject matter jurisdiction to enforce its own nondischargeable judgments even after the underlying bankruptcy case was closed.

James F. Schneider
02-68523
Kimberly Slattery and Alfred Murray Slattery
Sep 06, 2005

Summary judgment granted to Chapter 7 trustee who sued debtor to deny her a discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 727(a)(4)(A) on grounds that she had made false oath in failing to list interests in real property on her bankruptcy schedules.

James F. Schneider
02-68523
Kimberly Slattery and Alfred Murray Slattery
Sep 06, 2005

Summary judgment granted to Chapter 7 trustee who sued debtor to deny her a discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 727(a)(4)(A) on grounds that she had made false oath in failing to list interests in real property on her bankruptcy schedules.

James F. Schneider
02-67584
In re Baltimore Emergency Services, II, LLC
Oct 15, 2010

Chapter 11 debtor provided staffing to hospital emergency rooms and paid for malpractice insurance for its doctors. Malpractice insurer hired claimant law firm to defend two doctors against malpractice claims. After law firm had performed legal work at behest of malpractice insurer, malpractice insurer went into receivership. Subsequently, the debtor filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. The law firm filed a claim against the debtor, and the debtor, succeeded in interest by a Plan Trust, objected to claim of law firm. Held, because law firm’s claim would only be enforceable under state law against malpractice insurer, debtor’s objection to claim was sustained.

James F. Schneider
02-58492
MICHAEL M. DOUGLAS
Nov 23, 2003

In a suit brought by the United States Trustee against bankruptcy petition preparers, it was held that § 110 of the Bankruptcy Code is constitutional and supplies sufficient authority to the United States Trustee to bring an action against the defendants for fraud and deception.

James F. Schneider
02-58062
Medimaging Technology v. Mallinckrodt, Inc.
Oct 12, 2007

On cross motions for summary judgment on complaint to recover alleged preferential payments, held,(1) the filing of cross motions for summary judgment does not require the granting of judgment for either movant as a matter of law because each motion must be considered on its own merits and all facts and inferences are viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party; (2) that a reasonable trier of fact could not find in favor of defendant on its “ordinary course of business” defense, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to it as the non-moving party, where the defendant engaged in certain unusual collection activities against the debtor; (3) the defendant failed to carry its burden of proof by a mere preponderance that the transactions were made according to ordinary business terms; and (4) affidavits containing mere conclusory statements that transfers were made in the ordinary course of business are insufficient to prevail against the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.

James F. Schneider
01-64463
Guttman v. IMPulse NC
Mar 14, 2008

Defendant was sub-subcontractor to subcontractor debtor, and entered into agreement with debtor and general contractor that required, in addition to checks made payable solely to debtor, that contractor would issue checks payable jointly to debtor and defendant. Chapter 11 plan created two entities, the reorganized debtor and litigation trust. The defendant and debtor entered into a release agreement that was approved by the court but not served on litigation trustee. The litigation trustee sued the defendant seeking recovery of amount of joint checks issued by contractor, as preferential transfers. On defendant’s motion for summary judgment, defendant contended that suit was barred by both the plan and the release agreement and the joint checks were not “property of the estate,” as required by 11 U.S.C. § 547(b). Held, summary judgment granted and complaint dismissed on the second ground. Neither the plan nor the release barred the litigation trustee from bringing the suit to recover a preference because the plan did not divest the litigation trustee of claims against a party to a contract that was assumed by the reorganized debtor after confirmation; but the joint checks were not property of the estate because Texas law provided that subcontractor held joint checks only as “constructive trust” for sub-subcontractor.

James F. Schneider
01-64463
Guttman v. Signal Electric Construction
Oct 06, 2008

Trustee’s assignee filed a motion to amend the name of a defendant against which a default judgment had been entered. The trustee had filed a complaint to recover a preferential transfer, naming the defendant as “Signal Electric Construction,” rather than “San Jose Signal Electric Construction.” The defendant received service but did not respond, and a default judgment was entered against “Signal Electric Construction.” Limitations ran on any action the trustee might have pursued against San Jose Signal Electric Construction. Held, because the trustee lacked a reasonable excuse for failing to name the proper defendant and because the defendant had not behaved inappropriately, the motion to amend the judgment was denied.

James F. Schneider
00-63163
BETTY IRENE FRENCH
Oct 07, 2003

In a suit brought by the Chapter 7 trustee to avoid and recover an alleged fraudulent transfer of certain real property located in the Bahamas made by the debtor to her son and daughter, it was held that the complaint was sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss based upon the subject matter jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court over property of the debtor’s estate wherever located.

James F. Schneider
00-6-0731
INNER CITY MANAGEMENT, INC
Oct 07, 2003

In a suit brought by a Chapter 7 trustee against defendants who had conspired with the debtor to injure others, it was held that the trustee lacks standing to assert a fraud claim on behalf of the bankruptcy estate against third parties with whom the debtor was engaged in wrongdoing.

James F. Schneider
00-57983
THOMAS R. SAVAGE
Sep 29, 2003

In a dischargeability action brought against the pro se debtor by a credit card company, it was held that the debtor’s failure to respond to requests for admissions did not entitle the plaintiff to summary judgment, where the debtor had answered the complaint and denied allegations of fraud and where the plaintiff made no effort to warn the pro se defendant as to the possible effect of his failure to respond.

James F. Schneider
00-57812
Creditrust Corporation
Jun 17, 2002

The claimant, Tom D. Kelsey, sued Creditrust and Key Bank for breach of contract, violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and defamation of credit. Kelsey filed a proof of claim against the debtor based upon the grounds set forth in the lawsuit and the debtor objected to the claim. Debtor’s objection to the claim was sustained. HELD:1) objections to claims are core proceedings over which the bankruptcy court has jurisdiction, even where the claim is based upon the FDCPA; 2) the FDCPA applies to consumer debt, not business debt; 3) there was insufficient evidence of injury to the claimant; and 4) any communications by the creditor to various credit bureaus were made in good faith.

James F. Schneider
00-51381
Pamela Bell-Breslin
Jun 17, 2002

Chapter 7 trustee and creditor objected to the debtor’s exemption of rings given to her after marriage by the non-filing spouse. Debtor claimed the rings were held as tenants by the entireties and that the full value of $8,000 was exempt. The objections to debtor’s exemptions were sustained. HELD: 1) property held by the entireties is not subject to the claims of individual creditors; 2) tenancy by the entireties may be created in personalty; 3) one spouse may make a gift of personal property to the other, even if the property was purchased from assets held jointly by both parties as husband and wife; and 4) presumption of tenancy by the entireties in marital household goods is not present where rings were for the exclusive use of wife by gift, even when purchased from marital funds.

James F. Schneider
00-50451
Diana Carol Stoltz
Jun 17, 2002

Debtor’s former boyfriend objected to the Chapter 7 trustee’s proposed sale of a diamond engagement ring in debtor’s possession at time of bankruptcy filing. The objection was sustained. HELD: the engagement ring was a conditional gift made in contemplation of marriage that debtor was obligated to return upon dissolution of the relationship prior to the filing of the bankruptcy.