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Philip Kelly, Chap. 7 Trustee v. Valda McDonald (In re Marissa Lynn Dedrick), Ch. 7, BK22-40277-TLS, A22-4014-TLS (Feb. 23, 2023)

The Chapter 7 trustee filed this adversary proceeding to recover a preferential payment the debtor allegedly made for past-due rent. The defendant denied that the payment had been made and asserted that her signature on the payment receipt was forged. At trial, the only question before the court was whether the trustee had met his burden of proving the existence of the payment by a preponderance of the evidence.

The court decried the assault on the integrity of the legal system evident from the contradictory testimony by the witnesses, but found the trustee had met this burden, on the basis of evidence that the debtor and the defendant did have an expectation that rent would be paid for the living quarters, the debtor withdrew a similar amount of money from her bank account on the same day the payment was allegedly made, and the debtor consistently disclosed this payment throughout her bankruptcy case. There was no evidence to support the defendant’s assertion that her signature on the written receipt was a forgery.

Judgment was entered setting aside the transfer and directing the defendant to pay that amount to the trustee.

Thursday, February 23, 2023
Judge Thomas L. Saladino