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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.

After a trial on the dischargeability of the debtor's student loan indebtedness, the court ruled that the debt was excepted from discharge because the plaintiff did not meet her burden of proving an undue hardship. Questions remain as to available sources of income for the debtor and her minor children, and whether certain expenses are necessary or likely to exist for the foreseeable future. The debtor is also eligible for an income-based repayment plan and, as an employee of a non-profit agency, may be eligible for a public service loan forgiveness program under which she could discharge her loan obligation after 10 years of payments. The totality of the debtor's circumstances weighed against discharge of this debt.

The bankruptcy court granted summary judgment to a creditor in this Chapter 13 case, finding the debt non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a)(4). The creditor holds a judgment for actual and punitive damages and attorneys' fees for the debtor's willful, malicious, and reckless violation of the Iowa law against unauthorized interception and disclosure of oral communications. The court determined that the debt constitutes a debt "for . . . damages awarded in a civil action against the debtor as a result of willful or malicious injury by the debtor that caused personal injury to an individual" and is not dischargeable pursuant to § 1328(a)(4).

The holder of a super-priority unsecured administrative expense claim sought disgorgement of all administrative expenses paid during the Chapter 11 and subsequent Chapter 7 phases of this bankruptcy case in order that the funds could be applied to its claim. The court denied the motion due to the unique facts and circumstances of this case.
First, the court ruled, the Chapter 7 administrative expenses were paid from another creditor's collateral, so disgorgement would simply return those funds to the secured creditor rather than make them available for the super-priority claimant. Moreover, the super-priority claimant had notice of and did not object to the arrangement between the lender and the trustee, and there is no basis now for disturbing that arrangement.
Second, the court ruled, disgorgement of the Chapter 11 administrative expenses would be inequitable because they were paid without objection from the super-priority claimant, even though the debtor was not paying the super-priority claimant at the time. "It simply would be inequitable to allow Hansen's to come in at this late stage to seek disgorgement of duly earned fees from estate professionals. Hansen's had the ability to control this outcome. It could have stopped supplying fuel as soon as debtor defaulted on payment terms. That would have greatly reduced the claim of Hansen's. It also could have objected to payment of administrative claims as soon as it knew that the debtor was not in compliance with payment terms. It did not do those things. Hansen's took a risk that the debtor would successfully reorganize. It gambled and lost."

First Nebraska Bank ("Bank") filed a Complaint seeking denial of Debtors/ Defendants Nolan Balfour's and Maegan Balfour's discharge under 11 U.S.C. §§ 727(a)(2) and 727(a)(4). Alternatively, the Bank requests that the Balfours' debt to the Bank be excepted from discharge under 11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(2)(A) and 523(a)(2)(B). In its Complaint, the Bank alleges the Balfours sold or transferred collateral that serves as security for debt to the Bank but did not submit the proceeds to the Bank, misrepresented their financial condition and intentionally provided the Bank incorrect financial information on which the Bank relied in making its lending decisions. The Balfours filed an Answer to the Complaint, denying they intentionally provided the Bank false information and denying that the Bank relied on information they provided in making its lending decisions. Defendants denied other allegations as well. They seek an order dismissing the Complaint.
The court found the Bank met its burden of proving Nolan transferred the Balfours' property, within one year of bankruptcy, with intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor. Nolan's discharge is denied under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2).
The Bank did not satisfy its burden of proving Maegan transferred her property, within one year of bankruptcy, with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud a creditor. Its cause of action against Maegan under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2) is dismissed.
The Bank did not prove that the Balfours knowingly and fraudulently made a false oath in connection with a case under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(4). This claim and cause of action against both Nolan and Maegan is dismissed.
Since the Court denied Nolan's discharge under section 727, it is not necessary to analyze the Bank's section 523 claims against Nolan.
The Bank did not meet its burden of showing Maegan's debt to it should be discharged under section 523(a)(2)(A) or (B). These claims and causes of action are dismissed.

A landlord filed a request for payment of an administrative expense claim for the difference between the amount of post-petition rent it claimed it was due and the amount the debtor actually paid. In December 2018, shortly before the debtor filed bankruptcy in January 2019, it asked the landlord to make some rent concessions to allow the debtor to keep its store open and not reject the lease immediately upon filing its petition. The landlord agreed to, and accepted payment of, a reduced rental rate. The debtor then rejected the lease and closed the store in late April 2019. The landlord argued that the lease as modified was not valid because there was no consideration, so the debtor owed the higher amount of rent pursuant to the original lease.
The court denied the request, finding the debtor's promise to not close the store immediately constituted consideration for the landlord's promise to accept reduced rent. The debtor's subsequent closure of the store was not a failure of consideration, but was simply a breach of contract.
The request for payment of the administrative expense claim was denied except for the post-petition rent owed for January at the reduced rate, which the debtor conceded it owed.

The court granted summary judgment to a creditor and denied the discharge of a debtor who omitted several assets from his schedules and failed to list certain transfers of his interest in assets on his statement of financial affairs. The court found that these omissions were too numerous to be simple oversights; rather, they showed, at a minimum, reckless indifference to the truth, which evidences fraudulent intent concerning false statements under oath that relate materially to the bankruptcy case and warrant a denial of discharge under § 727(a)(4)(A).

The debtor failed to comply with terms of its confirmed Chapter 11 plan applicable to one secured creditor. After extensive litigation, the bankruptcy court ruled in the creditor's favor in part, but denied its request to force the debtor to sell certain vehicles, finding that the plan did not include the vehicles among the assets the debtor had agreed to liquidate to pay this creditor's claim.
The creditor then filed a motion seeking derivative standing to prosecute claims on behalf of the bankruptcy estate concerning the allegedly fraudulent transfer of the vehicles and unauthorized use of cash collateral. The debtor did not object or appear at the hearing on the motion, although one of the debtor's members did appear without counsel. The bankruptcy court granted the motion for derivative standing.
Members of the debtor then filed a motion to reconsider or amend the order, which is what the court addressed here.
First, the court granted the motion to reconsider its order granting the creditor derivative standing, despite the court's observation that the matter had either been waived or raised by parties who lacked authority to assert it, because standing is a jurisdictional prerequisite that courts are obligated to examine.
Second, the court granted the motion to amend its order concerning standing, finding that the creditor had not established either element necessary under § 1123(b)(3). The debtor did not reserve under the terms of the confirmed plan, to itself or its designee, the right to bring Chapter 5 enforcement actions, nor can the creditor establish it is acting as a representative of the estate to benefit unsecured creditors. Instead, the court found, the moving creditor would be the only creditor to benefit from the litigation.
Accordingly, the court vacated its order granting derivative standing and denied the creditor's motion.

A secured creditor filed a motion for civil contempt and sanctions to force the debtor to turn over machinery and equipment and execute a deed as provided for in the confirmed plan. After hearings, the court granted the motion and entered a writ of execution authorizing the creditor to repossess and sell the machinery and equipment at issue. Members of the debtor then filed a motion to amend the order, claiming that some of the equipment actually belonged to them and not to the debtor.
After an evidentiary hearing on the ownership issues, the bankruptcy court concluded the members were equitably estopped from claiming ownership of the bulk of the machinery and equipment. The court specifically found that one of the members had intentionally and willfully made false representations to the court and the creditor concerning ownership of the equipment. The court further found the creditor exercised reasonable prudence, relied on the false representations in the debtor's schedules, and acted in accordance with that reliance by agreeing to the terms of the plan and dismissing litigation against the members in their capacity as guarantors. Accordingly, the court denied in large part the members' motion to amend the sanctions order and ordered the members to turn over the property at issue.

The debtors filed this adversary proceeding to stop the IRS's post-discharge collection of pre-petition taxes that the debtors believed were paid through the Chapter 13 plan. The court granted summary judgment to the IRS because the taxes arose from late-filed returns and were not dischargeable under §§ 1328(a)(2) and 523(a)(1)(B)(ii). The debtors had miscalculated the amount due when they objected to the IRS's claim; because the IRS was not properly served with notice of the objection, it did not oppose the objection. Regardless of the notice issue, the debt was not discharged and the IRS did not violate the discharge injunction in renewing its collection efforts.

The debtors filed this show-cause motion to challenge the IRS's post-discharge seizure of tax refunds and Social Security payments to collect post-petition interest when the underlying taxes and penalties were paid in full through the confirmed Chapter 13 plan. Eighth Circuit precedent is clear that post-petition interest and penalties are non-dischargeable, and the debtors remain personally liable for that interest subsequent to bankruptcy proceedings, so the motion is denied.