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United States Courts Opinions

United States Courts Opinions (USCOURTS) collection is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) to provide public access to opinions from selected United States appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts.

The District of Nebraska offers a database of opinions for the years 1997 to current, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

The court granted a creditor’s motion to file a proof of claim more than two years late in a Chapter 7 case. Section 509(b) permits the allowance of a late-filed claim if it falls within the scope of § 726(a)(1), (2), or (3). Here, the claim is not a priority claim under § 507 and the movant had timely notice of the case, so the only applicable subsection is § 726(a)(3) as the trustee has not yet made a final distribution of assets.

The court denied a debtor’s motion to reopen her Chapter 7 case to file a reaffirmation agreement. The discharge had been entered and the case was closed more than a year before the motion to reopen was filed. Because § 524(c)(1), which says that a reaffirmation agreement is enforceable only if filed before a discharge is granted, is strictly construed by courts, granting the motion to reopen the case simply to file an unenforceable reaffirmation agreement would be futile.

The plaintiff was injured by the debtor in a bar fight. The debtor pled no contest to criminal charges and was ordered to pay restitution. The plaintiff also obtained an award of damages in a state-court civil lawsuit against the debtor. After a trial, the bankruptcy court excepted the debt from discharge under § 523(a)(6), finding that the debtor acted willfully – by invading a legally protected interest of the plaintiff – and maliciously, because in striking the plaintiff, harm was substantially certain to occur.

The court denied the debtor’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and gave creditors who moved for an extension of time to file a dischargeability proceeding – after the deadline had expired – an opportunity to show that equitable grounds exist for extending the deadline. To equitably toll the deadline, the creditors must prove they pursued their rights diligently and that some extraordinary circumstance stood in their way. An evidentiary hearing was scheduled on the creditors’ motion.

After a trial in four related adversaries concerning competing rights to the proceeds of the sale of cattle subject to a calf-share agreement, the court determined the appropriate division of the proceeds among the debtors, the owners of the cattle, and the debtors’ lender. One of the debtors had also filed an agister’s lien against the plaintiffs, which the court found to be invalid and unenforceable. As for the plaintiffs’ complaint seeking to except certain indebtedness from discharge under §§ 523(a)(2)(A) and (a)(4), the court dismissed those claims because there was no identifiable debt owed to the plaintiffs, no evidence of missing cattle, and no evidence the debtors intentionally misappropriated any of the cattle.

In calculating how the sale proceeds should be divided among the parties, the court said, “[T]he issue in those cases is simply a question of who owned the cattle that resulted in the proceeds. So, at the outset, the Court recognizes that due to the verbal nature of the cattle share agreement, the length of time that the agreement was in effect, and the lack of contemporaneous records kept by the parties, it is impossible to answer that question with 100% accuracy. The Court will instead endeavor to find the most fair result based on the facts as presented.”

The court granted summary judgment to the debtor’s former spouse, finding the debt owed by the debtor to equitably divide the parties’ property pursuant to the divorce decree is excepted from discharge under § 523(a)(15). The non-dischargeable amount includes the attorney’s fees awarded by the state court in connection with a contempt order entered in the plaintiff’s favor when the debtor failed to make an installment payment on the property judgment when due.

After a trial seeking denial of discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 727, the court ruled in favor of the debtor. The plaintiff had filed the complaint seeking a declaration that the debtor is a business partner to his non-debtor spouse, who owns a business that buys, breeds, and sells cattle. Because the debtor did not list this alleged partnership interest in his bankruptcy schedules or Statement of Financial Affairs, and declared under oath the schedules as filed were correct, the plaintiff sought to deny him a discharge from his debts under §§ 727(a)(2) and (4).

After hearing the evidence, the court found that the business belongs to the debtor’s wife and is operated by her and her children without input or assistance from the debtor. The court ruled:

The plaintiff’s argument is based primarily on assumptions and inferences rather than facts. Plaintiff is essentially asking the court to assume that [Debtor’s wife] could not conduct the business of buying, breeding, and re-selling cattle without substantial involvement by [the debtor], who had a longer history of such activities. The court, however, cannot rely on assumptions and inferences. Instead, facts must be presented. As discussed above, the facts are lacking.

Plaintiff has failed to prove the existence of a partnership by a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, Count I of plaintiff’s complaint seeking a declaratory judgment as to the existence of a partnership is denied. Further, Counts II and III seeking denial of discharge are also denied as they are premised on the existence of a partnership under Count I.


After a trial on a creditor’s motion for relief from the automatic stay and the debtor’s objection to that creditor’s proofs of claim, along with a request for valuation and cramdown, the court granted the motion for stay relief because the debtor did not own nor did he have a leasehold or possessory interest in the secured real estate, and no justification was shown for extending the automatic stay to third parties.

While the debtor does not own the real estate and his discharge would not affect the creditor’s lien against the property pursuant to § 524(e), the court ruled on the valuation issues concerning the land in order to ascertain whether the debtor could develop a confirmable plan. After evaluating the testimony of each party’s expert witness, the court found the creditor’s valuation to be more reliable, resulting in the creditor being over-secured. The court therefore overruled the debtor’s objection to the creditor’s claims.

Because the debtor’s pending Chapter 12 plan was predicated upon the creditor’s claims being crammed down as under-secured, the court gave the debtor an opportunity to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for failure to propose a confirmable plan.

This adversary proceeding was filed by a creditor holding a judgment in a state-court lawsuit finding that the debtor had committed tortious conversion. The complaint seeks a denial of discharge under § 727(a)(4)(A) because the debtor failed to disclose certain assets in his bankruptcy schedules and at his § 341 meeting, or, alternatively, an exception from discharge based on § 523(a)(4).

The debtor filed a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings as to the denial of discharge. The court denied the motion, stating that while “there is no dispute that certain information was omitted from Navarro’s initial set of bankruptcy schedules, although they were later amended, and that testimony he gave at his § 341 meeting was not factually accurate[, t]he key issue is whether those statements were knowingly and fraudulently made. It is difficult for the court to determine whether a debtor’s actions were intentional without the opportunity to hear from the debtor and gauge his credibility.”

The creditor filed a motion for summary judgment regarding the exception from discharge under § 523(a)(4) for larceny, on the basis that the state court judgment is res judicata. Had that judgment been made part of the record in the bankruptcy court, the summary judgment motion likely would have been granted. However, the court denied it on the grounds that the lack of evidence rendered it impossible to determine what facts, if any, concerning dischargeability under § 523(a)(4) were in dispute.

The court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on its § 523(a)(2) claims to except a debt from discharge because factual issues exist as to the debtor’s intent in his statements to the bank and whether the bank justifiably relied on that information.