Opinions

The Middle District of Louisiana offers a database of opinions for the years 2002 to the present, listed by year. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

The following synopses are provided for the benefit and assistance of parties and attorneys who appear and practice in this Court. The synopses are brief and general in nature and may not be cited as authority in and of themselves. They are not intended to be a substitute for a review of the opinions in their entirety.

Judge Douglas D. Dodd

  • Case No.   08-10756 (Carroll)
  • Adv. No.     08-10933 (RedPen)
ISSUES:  Whether the assets, liabilities and financial affairs of debtors William and Carolyn Carroll and debtor RedPen Properties are so entangled that it is in the best interests of the creditors to substantively consolidate the two estates for further administration.
 
RULING:  After reviewing the relevant tests for substantive consolidation, as applied to the specific facts of the two bankruptcy cases, the court concluded that the evidence showed that the assets and liabilities of the Carrolls and RedPen are virtually the same and the affairs of the debtors so intermingled that substantive consolidation would benefit the creditors by allowing for a more orderly administration by the trustee.
 
  • Case No.   12-11241
  • Adv. No.     13-1040

ISSUES: Whether the actions of the debtor Melvin Hampton in connection with an accident in which his car collided with plaintiff John Johnson's car willfully and maliciously caused the injuries Johnson sustained in the accident; whether Johnson's theory of recovery in his state court suit against Hampton judicially estopped him from pursuing a judgment of non-dischargeability under 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(6).

 

RULING: The court concluded that Johnson did not prove that Hampton was drag racing before the accident that injured Johnson, nor that Hampton's actions in causing the accident otherwise willfully and maliciously resulted in Johnson's injuries under the provisions of section 523(a)(6); the court also concluded that Johnson's state court judgment arose from a claim of negligence on Hampton's part which claim was inconsistent with Johnson's position in bankruptcy court that Hampton willfully and maliciously injured him and thus judicially estopped Johnson from asserting his claim under section 523(a)(6). 

 

  • Case No.   11-11933
  • Adv. No.     13-1001

ISSUE: Whether debtors Peter and Alfreda Williams's pre and post-petition acts and omissions were sufficient to bar their discharge under 11 U.S.C. §727(a)(4)

 
RULING: The court concluded that the debtors knowingly and fraudulently misstated information in, and omitted information from, their schedules of assets and debts and statements of financial affairs; testified falsely at their meetings of creditors; and lied under oath when creditors examined them pursuant to Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7004.  This evidence established that the debtors were not entitled to a chapter 7 discharge.
  • Case No.   12-11811
  • Adv. No.     13-1022

Soundra Temple Johnson, et al. v. Woodlands Development, LLC, et al., Adv. No. 13-1022. ISSUES: Whether the court should dismiss or abstain from considering the plaintiffs/debtors' amended complaint for declaratory judgement regarding ownership insurance proceeds, objecting to claims and seeking to avoid preferential transfers; whether the court should dismiss or abstain from considering the cross-claim filed by Regions Bank seeking a ranking of claims to the insurance proceeds.

RULING: The court concluded that: (1) using the standard for ruling on motions for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Bankr. Proc. 7012(b) enunciated in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) and In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191 (5th Cir. 2007), the claims of the plaintiffs' amended complaint were sufficient to "state a claim that is plausible on its face;" (2) that there were no grounds for mandatory abstention under 28 U.S.C. §1334(c)(2) or for permissive abstention under 28 U.S.C. §1334(c)(1); but (3) that the pronouncements of Stern v. Marshall, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2594, 180 L.Ed.2d 475 (2011), as explained by the Fifth Circuit in In re BP RE, L.P., 735 F.3d 303 (5th Cir. 2013), regarding the bankruptcy court's authority to issue a final ruling on the claims of the plaintiffs' amended complaint raised sufficient concerns that the court required the parties to consent to bankruptcy court jurisdiction or move to withdraw the reference of the case to the United States District Court.

  • Case No.   12-11811
  • Adv. No.     13-1049

Woodlands Development, LLC et al. v. Regions Bank, et al., Adv. No. 13-1049 ISSUE: Whether the bankruptcy court should abstain under 28 U.S.C. §1334(c)(1) or (2) from hearing a state court action removed to bankruptcy court by the debtor following several judgments entered by the state court.

RULING: After examining the statutory requirements as applied to the facts of the removed proceeding, the court concluded that mandatory abstention under 28 U.S.C. §1334(c)(2) was proper. The court also applied the factors for discretionary abstention under 28 U.S.C. §1334(c)(1) as set out in Browning v. Navarro, 743 F.2d 1069 (5th Cir. 1984) to the case facts and decided that it should permissively abstain from hearing the removed proceeding. Based upon these conclusions, the court remanded the proceeding to the state court under 28 U.S.C. §1452(b).

  • Case No.   02-10076

In re J. Co. Medical Management, Inc., Case No. 02-10076 ISSUES: Whether the court can appoint a tax preparer/accountant nunc pro tunc more than eleven years post-petition under 11 U.S.C. §327 so that post-petition services would be an allowable administrative expense; whether attorney performing pre-petition legal services for the debtor is entitled to a wage claim under 11 U.S.C. §507; whether the same attorney is entitled to an administrative expense under 11 U.S.C. §503(b)(3)(C) and (b)(4) for criminal defense of debtor's principal; and whether tax preparer or attorney were entitled to any claims against the estate due to untimeliness of the filing of their claims, their lack of disinterestedness and failure to prove that their services were necessary to and benefitted the estate.

RULING: The court concluded that: (a) there were no exceptional circumstances existing that would allow nunc pro tunc appointment of tax preparer/accountant after extraordinary delay in seeking appointment; (b) the attorney for the debtor was not entitled to a wage claim under 11 U.S.C. §507 due to lack of supporting documentation and untimely filing of claim under 11 U.S.C. §726(a); (c) that attorney was not entitled to an administrative expense under 11 U.S.C. §503(b)(3)(C) and (b)(4) because his services related to the criminal defense of the debtor's principal and were not related to the criminal prosecution of the debtor; and (d) the claims of both the tax preparer and the attorney were inexcusably untimely, the claimants were not disinterested but were instead closely connected to the debtor. the debtor's principal and affiliates of the debtor and there was insufficient evidence that the services of the tax preparer and the attorney were necessary to and for the benefit of the debtor and not merely or also for the benefit of other related parties.

  • Case No.   13-10157

In re Price, 2013 WL 1655678, Case No. 13-10157 ISSUE: Whether there was a basis for amending the ruling denying the incarcerated debtor's request for temporary waiver of credit counseling and the dismissal of the debtor's chapter 7 case for failure to obtain prepetition credit counseling as required by 11 U.S.C. §109(h)(1). RULING: The court concluded that the debtor had not shown at the original hearing on his request for waiver of credit counseling that he was entitled to that relief because (1) incarceration alone is not an exigent circumstance justifying the waiver and (2) there was no evidence that the debtor had tried but failed to obtain counseling under the provisions of 11 U.S.C. §109(h)(3)(A)(ii). At the hearing on the motion to alter or amend, the debtor offered more evidence of his attempts to obtain credit counseling. However, the court found that the debtor possessed this evidence at the time of the original hearing and so it did not qualify as "newly discovered" and did not support relief under Federal R. Civ.. Proc. 59(e) (adopted by Fed. R. Bank. Proc. 9023). The court also held that the "new" evidence offered by the debtor still did not constitute the certification of his attempt to obtain counseling as required by 11 U.S.C. §109(h)(3)(A)(ii). Finally, the court noted that the 11 U.S.C. §109(h)(3)(B) allows an extension of only 30 days to obtain credit counseling with the possibility of a further 15 day extension, but that the debtor's motion to alter or amend was filed more than 45 days post-petition removing the court's authority to extend the time period. Ultimately, the court found no basis for altering the judgment denying the waiver of credit counseling or for amending the judgment dismissing the debtor's chapter 7 case.

  • Case No.   11-11548 
  • Adv. No.     12-1026

Khosravinapour v. Pasman, 2013 WL 594476 , Adv. No. 12-1026

ISSUE: Whether the defendant/debtor's improper dissolution, under state law, of a limited liability company in which he was the only member created a new post-petition debt that was not discharged in his chapter 7 case or whether the dissolved company's debt to the plaintiff was a pre-petition contingent debt covered by the debtor's chapter 7 discharge.

RULING: The court concluded that the relevant state statute, La. R.S. 12:1335.1(A), did not create a new liability of the debtor to the plaintiff as a result of the debtor's improper dissolution of the limited liability company. Rather, the failure to comply with the statute's provisions shifted responsibility for the debt to plaintiff from the company to its members, here, the debtor. Thus, using the approach endorsed by the Fifth Circuit in In re Lemelle, 18 F.3d 1268 (5th Cir. 1994), the court found that (1) the plaintiff and debtor had a prepetition relationship; (2) that the debtor's potential liability for the company's debts arose prepetition when the company was formed; and (3) that the plaintiff could have contemplated the debtor might become liable for the company's debts. Therefore, the court held that the plaintiff's claim against the debtor was a prepetition contingent claim that was subject to the chapter 7 discharge.

  • Case No.   11-11694
  • Adv. No.     11-1109
  • Case No.   09-10888
  • Adv. No.     09-1106
  • Case No.   10-10454
  • Adv. No.     10-1051
  • Case No.   08-10603
  • Adv. No.     09-1017
  • Case No.   09-11820 
  • Adv. No.     10-1005
  • Case No.   09-11448
  • Adv. No.     09-1137
  • Case No.   10-10222
  • Adv. No.     10-1034
  • Case No.   10-10301 
  • Adv. No.     10-1041
  • Case No.   09-11784
  • Case No.   09-11027
  • Adv. No.     10-1042
  • Case No.   10-10275
  • Case No.   09-11759
  • Adv. No.     09-1135
  • Case No.   09-10538
  • Adv. No.     09-1034
  • Case No.   09-11881
  • Case No.   09-11394 
  • Case No.   05-14225
  • Adv. No.     09-1005
  • Case No.   09-11009
  • Adv. No.     09-1083

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