News

Case Summaries

Bankruptcy Law

[04/20] Mastan v. Salamon
In a Chapter 11 case, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's decision affirming the bankruptcy court's order disallowing a claim is affirmed where under 11 U.S.C. section 1111(b), those who hold non-recourse liens on real property are granted recourse against the bankruptcy estate upon the filing of the bankruptcy petition.

[04/20] In re Tronox Inc.
In an appeal of a district court order enforcing a permanent anti?suit injunction issued after a bankruptcy settlement, involving the toxic tort claims of than 4,300 individuals who allege significant injuries from the operation of a wood?treatment plant in Avoca, Pennsylvania between 1956 and 1996, the appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction where the claims are barred by the injunction because they are generalized 'derivative' claims that fall within the property of the bankruptcy estate.

[04/20] Porter v. Nabors Drilling USA, L.P.
In a lawsuit asserting a claim under California's Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA), the court grants defendant's motion to recognize an automatic stay, triggered by its filing for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, where the exception to an automatic stay established in 11 U.S.C section 362(b)(4), described as the governmental regulatory or governmental unit exception, did not apply to a claim brought by a private party under PAGA.

[04/20] Privitera v. Curran
In a Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding involving a creditor-plaintiff's attempt to avail herself of two exemptions from debt discharge, the bankruptcy court's denial of plaintiff's motion for leave to amend the complaint is affirmed where an adequate basis existed for the bankruptcy court's denial of the plaintiff's motion to amend: the new claim, like the old claim, would have been futile.

[04/14] Brown Media Corporation v. K&L Gates, LLP
In an action asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference, and common law fraud against a law firm and two of its former partners, brought by unsuccessful bidders in a bankruptcy proceeding, alleging that defendants used their prior representation of the plaintiffs to undermine the plaintiffs' attempt to acquire assets in a bankruptcy sale, the district court's dismissal of the complaint on res judicata grounds is reversed where plaintiffs could not have brought their claims during the bankruptcy proceedings, and this present action will not disturb the orders of the bankruptcy court.

[04/10] In Re: Lansaw
In a case arising out of repeated violations of the bankruptcy automatic stay of debt collection activities, 11 U.S.C. section 362(a), committed by debtors' landlord, the district court's judgment in favor of debtors and award of damages under section 362(k)(1) are affirmed where:1) section 362(k)(1) authorizes the award of emotional-distress damages and the debtors presented sufficient evidence to support such an award; and 2) debtors were properly awarded punitive damages.

Read More

Probate Trusts

[04/20] Bresler v. Wilmington Trust Co.
In a breach of contract action brought by personal representatives of an estate, the district court's judgment that trustee-defendant breached an agreement to lend money for the acquisition, maintenance, and certain investments relating to life insurance policies obtained for plaintiffs, is affirmed over defendant's arguments that the district court erred in admitting testimony from the plaintiffs' expert witness, the jury verdict including the award of damages was not supported by the evidence, and additional terms of the district court's order also were not supported by the evidence.

[04/20] US v. Harris
In a case in which the beneficiary owes restitution ordered following his 1997 conviction, the district court's decision that a writ of continuing garnishment attaches to a beneficiary's interest in discretionary support trusts is affirmed where the beneficiary's interest in the trusts, which were established by his parents for his support, qualifies as 'property' under 28 U.S.C. sections 3002(12), 3205(a) and 18 U.S.C. section 3613(c).

[04/19] Tepper v. Wilkins
In a suit among siblings on behalf of plaintiff's 88-year-old mother, claiming plaintiff's siblings' actions individually and while serving as trustees of mother?s revocable living trust constituted financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult, the trial court's judgment, sustaining defendant's demurrer without leave to amend and dismissing plaintiff's elder abuse action on standing grounds, is affirmed where: 1) the cause of action for elder financial abuse belongs to mother as the real party in interest; and 2) the court did not err in sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend.

[04/04] US Small Business Admin. v. Bensal
In the SBA's action seeking to satisfy a default judgment assigned to it, arising after the default on a loan that SBA guaranteed between a private bank and defendant's company, the district court's judgment in favor of the SBA is affirmed where: 1) the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act (FDCPA)'s 'fraudulent transfer' provision allows the federal government to void a fraudulent transfer by a debtor owing a debt to the United States; 2) the FDCPA displaced California's disclaimer law, California Probate Code section 283; 3) defendant's disclaimer constituted a transfer of property under the FDCPA, and California disclaimer law did not operate to prevent the SBA from reaching defendant's trust share; and 4) defendant owed a 'debt' to the United States.

[03/28] Pizarro v. Reynoso
In an acrimonious family squabble that erupted over the property of the deceased patriarch and spilled over into the courts, in which the trial court determined the patriarch-settlor appointed defendant was the most reliable and credible of the family members, and that other family members were not credible, the trial court's denial of a petition for relief against defendant concerning the sale of the real property and award of attorney fees to defendant is: 1) reversed as to the award of attorney fees and costs to the extent it imposed personal liability; but 2) otherwise affirmed.

[03/23] Carmack v. Reynolds
In response to a certified question from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, in an underlying bankruptcy case in which a debtor who was to receive money from a family spendthrift trust declared bankruptcy before receiving his first trust payment, and the bankruptcy trustee seeks to determine what interest the bankruptcy estate has in the trust, the Court concludes that a bankruptcy trustee, standing as a hypothetical judgment creditor, can reach a beneficiary's interest in a trust that pays entirely out of principal in two ways: 1) it may reach up to the full amount of any distributions of principal that are currently due and payable to the beneficiary, unless the trust instrument specifies that those distributions are for the beneficiary's support or education and the beneficiary needs those distributions for either purpose; and 2) separately, the bankruptcy trustee can reach up to 25 percent of any anticipated payments made to, or for the benefit of, the beneficiary, reduced to the extent necessary by the support needs of the beneficiary and any dependents.

Read More

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use. Users may not download or reproduce a substantial portion of the AP material found on this web site. AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing.