Articles Posted in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

People with all-consuming debt will often seek financial relief by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can help many people regain control of their finances, but if they do not proceed carefully, they may incur additional debt. This was demonstrated in a recent California bankruptcy case in which the court sanctioned debtors for filing an inappropriate pleading. If you have debts you are unable to pay, it is wise to talk to a California bankruptcy lawyer about whether bankruptcy may be right for you.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the petitioner filed an adversary proceeding and was awarded a default judgment against the debtors by the Bankruptcy Court. Over a year later, the debtors filed a motion with the Bankruptcy Court under Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure seeking relief from the default judgment. Their motion was based on Rule 60(b)(4) (relief from a void judgment) and Rule 60(b)(1) (relief from judgment due to mistake).

Allegedly, in response, the petitioner moved for sanctions under. The Bankruptcy Court denied the debtors’ motion to vacate and granted the petitioner’s motion for sanctions. The Bankruptcy Appellant Panel affirmed the decision. The debtors, representing themselves, appealed.

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Businesses grappling with debts they are unable to pay can often seek relief via bankruptcy. The United States Bankruptcy Code sets forth the requirements and relief available for debtors under various chapters. Many businesses choose to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy actions, as it allows them to maintain operations and assets. In some instances, though, the court will convert a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to a Chapter 7 case despite the debtor’s protests. In a recent California opinion issued in a bankruptcy matter, the court discussed the grounds for entering and vacating a conversion order. If you need assistance seeking bankruptcy relief, it is advisable to speak with a California bankruptcy lawyer as soon as you can.

Procedural History of the Case and Factual Setting

It is alleged that the debtor filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy action. The bankruptcy court subsequently entered a Conversion Order, which converted the case from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. At the hearing on the matter, the debtor contends that it was not provided with sufficient notice of the hearing on the motion to convert and that it was not timely served with notice of the motion.

People saddled with unbearable debts are often able to take advantage of the United States bankruptcy laws and seek relief by filing a petition for bankruptcy. If they do, however, they must be cognizant of any procedural rules; otherwise, their bankruptcy petitions may be dismissed. For example, the Bankruptcy Code provides, among other things, that people cannot seek simultaneous relief for the same debt in different courts by filing multiple bankruptcy petitions. This principle was highlighted in a recent ruling issued by a California court in a bankruptcy case, in which the court ultimately affirmed the dismissal of the debtor’s bankruptcy petition filed in California court. If you have substantial debt and you have questions about what relief may be available, it is in your best interest to contact a California bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the debtor initiated a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in June 2023. Five days later,  the Bankruptcy court issued an order dismissing the case on the grounds that the debtor had another bankruptcy action pending in Oregon. The debtor then appealed.

Grounds for Dismissing Bankruptcy Cases

On appeal, the court considered the Supreme Court ruling in Freshman v. Atkins, which established that a debtor cannot have concurrent bankruptcy cases involving the same debts. The court cited precedent supporting this principle, emphasizing that only one bankruptcy case may be pending for a debtor at a given time. Consequently, the court found that the Bankruptcy court properly dismissed the case because the debtor already had an open Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon.

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The filing of a bankruptcy action triggers an automatic stay in litigation against the debtor, which, in many instances, helps them protect their assets. If a bankruptcy action is dismissed, the stay will be lifted, though, leaving property vulnerable to credits. A debtor can argue that an action was dismissed in error, but they must do so in a timely manner; otherwise, they may waive their right appeal, as demonstrated in a recent California bankruptcy case. If you have unmanageable debts and are interested in learning more about what relief you may be able to obtain by filing for bankruptcy, it is prudent to speak to a California bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible.

Case Setting

It is reported that the plaintiff deemed a vexatious litigant, filed multiple bankruptcy cases between 2011 and 2020. The focal point of the cases was a property co-owned by the plaintiff’s business partner. The defendant held a deed of trust on the property. Fractional interests in the property were granted to the plaintiff and his wife, who then participated in the aforementioned filing scheme to trigger the automatic stay and prevent foreclosure.

Allegedly, despite an in rem order favoring the defendant until July 2021, the plaintiff’s Chapter 11 case was dismissed in February 2021. Subsequently, the defendant foreclosed on the property, obtained an unlawful detainer judgment, and evicted the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed an adversary complaint alleging a violation of the automatic stay and fraudulent transfer, seeking damages and a restraining order. The bankruptcy court issued an order to show cause and later dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint, citing insufficient service, lack of jurisdiction, and untimeliness. The plaintiff moved to vacate the dismissal order under Civil Rule 60(b), asserting hospitalization during the order to show cause hearing. The court denied the motion, prompting the plaintiff’s appeal.

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In Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, trustees are typically entitled to receive compensation for their services, which is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court. These fees can vary but are typically determined based on the complexity of the case and the extent of the trustee’s responsibilities. To ensure fairness and transparency, the Bankruptcy Code sets certain guidelines and fee caps to prevent excessive compensation. If a party involved in the case feels the fees are excessive, however, they can object. Their objection will only be considered if they have standing, however, as demonstrated in a recent California case.  If you cannot pay your debts and are considering filing for bankruptcy, it is smart to talk to a California bankruptcy lawyer.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the debtor, a renowned Los Angeles restaurant chain known for its historic menu and celebrity endorsements, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016 when faced with a $3.2 million judgment in a racial discrimination lawsuit. A committee of unsecured creditors, chaired by the Creditor, was appointed to oversee ECF’s activities. The bankruptcy court later appointed the Trustee for ECF. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan was approved, guaranteeing full payment to creditors, including the Creditor, with interest secured by ECF’s assets and contributions from its founder.

Allegedly, the Trustee filed a final fee application seeking the maximum allowable fee in excess of $1 million under the Bankruptcy Code’s fee cap. This amount included the lodestar plus a 65% enhancement for exceptional services. The Creditor objected to this fee request. The bankruptcy court awarded the trustee the statutory maximum fees, which the Creditor appealed. The district court upheld the bankruptcy court’s decision, and the Creditor appealed again.

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Bankruptcy courts are courts of limited jurisdiction; generally, they only handle bankruptcy matters. While they can exercise jurisdiction over other claims, their authority is limited to claims that are related to or arise under or in bankruptcy. Thus, if a party attempts to bring a claim before a bankruptcy court and the court lacks jurisdiction, the claim will be dismissed, as demonstrated in a recent California case. If you have questions about what relief is available via bankruptcy, it is wise to talk to a California bankruptcy lawyer at your earliest opportunity.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that in May 2016, the debtor filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Almost a year later, the Bankruptcy Court converted the case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Subsequently, the Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of most of the debtor’s assets to a second party for $78,000, along with a settlement and mutual releases. Before the asset sale, a third party raised various challenges to the sale and initiated an adversary proceeding against the second party in July 2020.

It is alleged that in July 2020, the third party began the adversary case. However, in December 2021, a bankruptcy judge ruled that even though the third party might have potential claims against the second party, the court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. The judge clarified that the claims did not fall under the categories of “arising under,” “arising in,” or “related to” the Bankruptcy Code. Consequently, the judge denied the third party’s request to amend the complaint and dismissed the adversary case due to lack of jurisdiction. The third party appealed.

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In bankruptcy actions, debtors are typically protected from claims from creditors. The bankruptcy code only protects debtors from personal liability, however, not claims to property interests in a partnership, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling issued in a bankruptcy case. If you need assistance managing your debts, it is in your best interest to talk to a California bankruptcy lawyer to determine what relief may be available.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the subject claim arises out of a dispute regarding ownership rights to a commercial property in Oceanside, California. The owners did not have a written partnership agreement. The debtor asserts an 85% interest in the property, based on the recorded title in 1996. The claimant asserted that there was an oral agreement in 1995 to reduce Keenan’s partnership interest to 55%.

Allegedly, the debtor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. During his bankruptcy proceedings, he consistently treated his interest as 55%. After his Chapter 11 plan was confirmed, however, he filed an amended property schedule asserting the larger interest. The bankruptcy court rejected the debtor’s post-confirmation assertions. Subsequently, the claimant filed a state court action seeking to amend the recorded deed to reflect the adjusted interest. The state court ruled in favor of the claimant in 2017, and the debtor’s appeal was dismissed.

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Bankruptcy actions generally offer people relief from significant financial burdens, as most debts are discharged in bankruptcy. There are exceptions to the general discharge rule, however. For example, claims arising out of willful misconduct, such as fraud or intentional injury, will often be deemed non-dischargeable. Recently, a California court analyzed a debtor’s counterclaims to a creditor’s action to deem debts nondischargeable, in a case in which it was disputed whether California’s Anti-SLAPP law applied in bankruptcy matters. If you need help dealing with overwhelming debts, it is smart to confer with a California bankruptcy lawyer about your options.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the debtor filed a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in February 2021; it was later converted into Chapter 7 petition. The creditor subsequently filed a complaint against the debtor in June 2021, asking the court to determine the creditor’s claims were nondischargeable because they arose out of the debtor’s willful and malicious conduct. The creditor then amended its complaint on July 1, 2021, to include an objection of discharge on the grounds the debtor made false oaths.

It is reported that, in response, the debtor filed an answer to the amended complaint and a cross-complaint that contained various claims for relief under California law. The creditor then filed a motion to strike the cross-complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. The court granted the creditor’s motion to strike the debtor’s cross-complaint, and the debtor appealed.

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One of the many benefits of filing a bankruptcy action is that it automatically stays any parties from pursuing civil claims against the debtor. Generally, a stay will last for the duration of the bankruptcy case. In some instances, though, the stay will expire after a much shorter time period. In such instances, the debtor may petition the court to extend the stay. Recently, a California court explained the grounds for granting a request to extend a stay in a matter in which a creditor objected to the bankruptcy court’s decision. If you are unable to manage your debts, you may be eligible to file for bankruptcy, and you should speak to a California bankruptcy lawyer regarding your rights.

The Background of the Case

It is reported that the debtor filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in May 2019. Two months later, the court dismissed his case on the grounds that the debtor’s attorney did not sufficiently represent or counsel him. The debtor filed a second Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in January 2020. In the second case, he was not represented by an attorney. The debtor subsequently filed a motion to extend the automatic stay; while the stay granted in a bankruptcy case usually endures for the duration of the case, if a debtor had a pending Chapter 11 case dismissed within the preceding year, the stay only lasts 30 days.

Allegedly, the debtor also filed a declaration stating the served notice of the motion on all known creditors. The court granted the motion, extending the stay until terminated by operation of law or an order of the court. The creditor then learned of the bankruptcy proceeding and filed a claim against the debtor in civil court. The bankruptcy court dismissed the debtor’s case, pursuant to a motion by the trustee, and the state court dismissed the creditor’s case. The creditor moved to reopen the bankruptcy case for the limited matter of determining whether the stay was terminated as to them. The court granted the motion but found that the stay applied to the creditor. The creditor then appealed.

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Filing for bankruptcy is an option for many people struggling to pay their debts. While many debts are dischargeable via bankruptcy, not all are. For example, people cannot seek relief from certain tax obligations by filing bankruptcy actions, as clarified by a California court in a recent ruling issued in a bankruptcy matter. If you have debts that you are unable to pay, you may be eligible to file for bankruptcy, and you should speak to a California bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the debtor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2015. The action was converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the court ultimately ordered a discharge. In August 2021, the debtor received a notice from the IRS informing him that he owed approximately $10,000 in taxes for the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years. He subsequently moved to open his bankruptcy case.

Reportedly, after the court granted his motion, he filed an adversary complaint against the IRS, asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment that his 2012 and 2013 tax obligations were discharged by his Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. The IRS filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted. The debtor then appealed.

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