Opinion Archive

Case Title Date & Status Case Number(s) Judge & PDF Summary
In re Abel

Aug-14-2020

UNPUBLISHED

20-21042

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 20-21042_dkt_30.pdf

The Debtor moved from Montana to Utah prior to filing her bankruptcy petition and the Bankruptcy Code's domiciliary provision required her to claim Montana exemptions. The issue was whether the Montana residency limitation on exemptions applied to debtors in bankruptcy, or in the alternative, whether 11 U.S.C. Section 522(b)(3) permitted the Debtor to claim federal or Montana exemptions against some, none, or all of her assets. Based on precedent from the Montana Supreme Court and applying the plain meaning of each word while observing the distinction between an individual and a resident, the Court found that the specifics of Mont. Code Ann. Section 31-2-106 controlled over the general of Mont. Code Ann. Section 25-13-6. In the alternative the Court held that if Montana limits its exemptions to residents, then the Debtor was rendered ineligible for any exemption and the safety net in 11 U.S.C. Section 522 applied. The Court would apply the State specific interpretation to apply the state law to the fullest extent possible, including any limitations imposed by the Montana exemption statute on the category or amount of a Montana exemption.
In re Ulloa

Jun-18-2020

PUBLISHED

18-20366

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-20366_dkt_106.pdf

The Debtors sought to retain $16,813.44 issued by Wells Fargo as a refund for an unecessary, forced placement of collateral protection insurance in 2008 in connection with the Debtors' vehicle loan. The Court found that the refund was property fo the bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. Section 541 to which the trustee was entitled to administer for the benefit of the estate.
In re Hazlett

Feb-13-2020

PUBLISHED

16-30360

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-30360_dkt_183.pdf

The Court denied the Debtor's motion to reconsider seeking relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(b), 59(e), and 60(b) made applicable to bankruptcy cases by Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7052, 9023, and 9024. The Debtor did not persuade the Court than an error, manifest or otherwise, was committed in the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in this matter.
Arma Yates, LLC v. Robertson (In re Robertson)

Jan-9-2020

PUBLISHED

18-02059

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-02059_dkt_54.pdf

In an action objecting to the Debtors' discharge under 11 U.S.C. Section 727(a)(2)(A), 727(a)(2)(B), 727(a)(3), 727(a)(4), and 727(a)(5), the Court denied the Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.
In re Cloward

Nov-19-2019

PUBLISHED

18-24837

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-24837_dkt_34.pdf

Under Utah Hospital Lien Statute, lien arises and attaches when hospital provides emergency medical services to patient injured in an accident.
In re Hazlett

Oct-17-2019

PUBLISHED

16-30360

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-30360_dkt_171.pdf

Debtors attorney did not violate the automatic stay under SS 362 because the attorneys post-petition services arose under a post-petition agreement.
First Am. Title Ins. Co. v. Smith (In re Smith)

Sep-5-2019

PUBLISHED

17-02076

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 17-02076_dkt_56.pdf

Following entry of a judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs on the Plaintiffs' SS 523(a)(6) claim, the parties disputed the amount of attorney fees and costs and post-judgment interest that should be included in the non-dischargeable debt amount. The Court held that the attorney fees and costs awarded to the Plaintiffs previously by the District Court were non-dischargeable. As to Plaintiffs' attorney fees and costs incurred in prosecuting its nondischargeability action, the Court found no statutory basis to award fees and costs and found that the American Rule precluded such an award because the action arose in tort rather than contract. The Court found that the interest rate set forth in the District Court's previous judgment remained the rate of interest on the non-dischargeable District Court judgment.
J. Hoyt Stephenson et al v. Thrive National Corp et al (In re Thrive National Corp. and Thrive Systems, Inc.)

Aug-12-2019

PUBLISHED

18-02076

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-02076_dkt_37.pdf

After evaluating the factors of permissive abstention set forth in 28 U.S.C. Section 1334(c)(1) and In re Commercial Fiv. Servs., Inc., 251 B.R. 414 (Bankr. N.D. Okla. 2009), the Court in its discretion opted to exercise permissive abstention.
Bird v. Wardley (In re White)

Jul-11-2019

PUBLISHED

16-02089

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-02089_dkt_102.pdf

Trustee could not use statute of frauds and SS 544 to avoid a personal guaranty because it was an affirmative defense unique to the debtor. Further, the trustee could not step into the shoes of the debtor under SS 541 to assert the statute of frauds because the debtor previously waived the defense to the guaranty when he paid it. The case also discusses the Main Purpose and Partial Performance exceptions to the statute of frauds. Finally, the effective date stated in the guaranty controlled even though it was signed some months later. The Court thus rejected the trustee's theories to avoid the guaranty obligation.
First Am. Title Ins. Co. v. Smith (In re Smith)

Jul-10-2019

PUBLISHED

17-02076

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 17-02076_dkt_48.pdf

Debtor started company and took key employees that directly competed with his employer, resulting in damages to former employer. Court held debt was non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. SS 523(a)(6), finding that debtor willfully and maliciously injured creditor.
In re Hazlett

Apr-10-2019

PUBLISHED

16-30360

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-30360_dkt_155.pdf

Sanctions were not warranted against debtor's attorney for use of bifurcated fee agreement in Chapter 7 case because there were adequate disclosures, fees were reasonable, and process did not harm debtor, but instead facilitated debtor's ability to afford legal counsel to receive a discharge.
In re Sugarloaf Holdings, LLC

Apr-2-2019

PUBLISHED

18-27705

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-27705_dkt_129.pdf

Debtor's appraiser did not file an application to be employed before performing services; thus, Court disallowed fees incurred before filing of application. In addition, appraiser did not establish extraodinary or exceptional circumstances to support a grant of nunc pro tunc relief.
Valadez v. Salazar (In re Salazar)

Jan-18-2019

PUBLISHED

17-02005

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 17-02005_dkt_122.pdf

Debtor borrowed money from plaintiff and gave him the certificate of title to her car as collateral. Debtor then fraudulently obtained duplicate title and used it to secure other loans. Based on this and other misconduct, the Court found debt to be nondischargeable under SS 523(a)(2)(A) for actual fraud.
In re Traylor

Jan-10-2019

PUBLISHED

18-23314

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-23314_dkt_41.pdf

The Court sustained trustee's objection to confirmation of chapter 13 plan, holding that the debtors may not take the vehicle ownership deduction on the Mean Test for a title loan on their vehicle.
In re Kelley

Jan-4-2019

PUBLISHED

17-29915

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 17-29915_dkt_82.pdf

The Court granted debtors' motion for sanctions, holding that creditor (Vivint) had actual notice of the bankruptcy and was willfully violating the automatic stay under SS 362(k) when it continued to contact the debtors for collection and ultimately assigned the debt to a collection agency for legal action. Vivint received five notices from the Bankruptcy Noticing Center but claimed it had no notice of the debtor's filing. The Court awarded compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorney's fees and costs.
In re Kiley

Dec-4-2018

PUBLISHED

15-27838

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 15-27838_dkt_73.pdf

One day before bankruptcy filing, a divorce mediation awarded debtor one-half of value of ex-spouse's retirement account (essentially a lump sum, cash award). A few weeks later, the divorce court entered its order dividing the couple's marital property. The bankruptcy court held that an interest in marital property remains inchoate until the divorce court makes a formal division of the marital property. Because the debtor's interest in the value of the retirement account became choate within 180 days of the bankruptcy filing, it was property of bankruptcy estate subject to administration by the trustee. The decision also discusses the Utah exemption of interest in a retirement plan and a qualified domestic support obligation.
In re VidAngel, Inc.

Nov-9-2018

PUBLISHED

17-29073

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 17-29073_dkt_252.pdf

The Court granted creditors' motion for relief from stay, holding that debtor would not be prejudiced in its reorganization efforts if the creditors' continued with the California Copyright Litigation.
Arma Yates, LLC v. Robertson (In re Robertson)

Oct-10-2018

PUBLISHED

18-02059

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 18-02059_dkt_17.pdf

The Court granted plaintiffs'/counterclaim defendants' motion to dismiss the debtors' counterclaim, holding that the bankruptcy court lacked constitutional authority to enter final judgment on debtors' claims, and even if it did, debtors' lacked standing and the counterclaims were barred by doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata.
Hofmann v. Damarc Quality Inspection Servs., LLC (In re Mt. West Indus., LLC)

Sep-26-2018

PUBLISHED

15-02262

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 15-02262_dkt_101.pdf

The Court dismissed trustee's claims for breach of contract and professional negligence arising from faulty inspection of tanker trailers. The Court held that the economic loss rule applied and the exculpatory clauses in the contract were clear and unequivocal and would be enforced.
Bird v. Ryan and Myrna White (In re White)

Sep-6-2018

PUBLISHED

16-02090

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-02090_dkt_74.pdf

Debtor signed a $1 million note to his family, who provided him with monetary and other support in a lawsuit that ultimately resulted in a $15 milliion judgment. Three years before his bankruptcy filing, the debtor repaid the note from the judgment proceeds. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants based on a finding that the trustee was time barred from avoiding the note under SS 544 and the Utah Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. Further, the trustee could not avoid the note under SS 541 due to the debtor's pre-petition waiver of any defenses to the note when he paid it. Finally, the makers of the note gave good consideration by providing funds to support the debtor and by waiting years to receive payment.
In re Reynolds

May-9-2018

PUBLISHED

16-22038

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-22038_dkt_88.pdf

Discussion of standards to be followed by Trustee's counsel when requesting fees that render the estate insolvent.
Hofmann v. Damarc Quality Inspection Servs., LLC (In re Mt. West Indus., LLC)

Mar-30-2018

PUBLISHED

15-02262

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 15-02262_dkt_85.pdf

The Court denied Trustee's motion on choice-of-law issue and held that Utah law governed claims for tort and breach of contract. Extensive discussion on Utah jurisdprudence on choice of law.
Bird v. Wardley (In re White)

Mar-28-2018

PUBLISHED

16-02089

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-02089_dkt_78.pdf

Summary judgment granted for defendant because debtor received reasonably equivalent value under the Utah Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act in connection with notes and a guaranty used to start-up a much-desired business for the debtor that paid him a $235,000 salary.
Hunt v. Citibank N.A. (In re Telford)

Mar-7-2018

PUBLISHED

17-02120

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 17-02120_dkt_11.pdf

Court denied Trustee's motion for default judgment, finding that the the facts as alleged in the complaint were insufficient for the Court to determine the start date of the statute of limitations regarding a creditor's trust deed.
Bird v. Wardley (In re: White)

Jan-17-2018

PUBLISHED

16-02089

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-02089_dkt_75.pdf

The Court denied Trustee's motion for summary judgment, holding there were insufficient, undisputed facts to conclude that the debtor was not paying his debts as they came due so as to shift burden of insolvency to the debtor under the Utah Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
Ray Klein, Inc. v. Daniel Jeff Webb (In re Call and Webb)

Nov-14-2016

PUBLISHED

15-02119

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 15-02119_dkt_49.pdf

Debtor made false representations to lender regarding his financial condition in connection with the purchase of a commercial boat (debtor stated he had the backing of Kraft Foods and the LDS church). The Court excepted the debt from discharge for false pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud, but denied cause of action for willful and malicious injury.
In re Castle Service, LLC

Nov-9-2016

PUBLISHED

16-26302

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 16-26302_dkt_44.pdf

The Court denied creditor's motion for relief from stay holding that the real property at issue was an asset of the estate, and the creditor did not establish sufficient cause to grant relief from the automatic stay.
In re Bench

Aug-26-2016

PUBLISHED

12-26827

Judge Anderson

PDF icon 12-26827_dkt_58.pdf

Debtor failed to comply with the trustee's requests that ultimately resulted in the entry of a default judgment denying his discharge. Some 2.5 years later, the Debtor moved to set aside the judgment because he was now willing to cooperate with the trustee and to pay in $2,793 for creditors. Based on the circumstances and the passage of time, the Court denied the Debtor's request to set aside the default judgment under Rule 60.
Densley v. Dyches (In re Dyches)

Dec-13-2019

UNPUBLISHED

10-2653

Judge Mosier

PDF icon 10-02653_dkt_55.pdf

Plaintiff obtained a money judgment in Utah state court against Defendant. When the Defendant filed bankruptcy, Plaintiff commenced a § 523 proceeding to except the judgment from discharge. Defendant failed to answer, and a default judgment was entered. Shortly less than eight years after entry of the bankruptcy default, Plaintiff filed a motion in the adversary proceeding to renew the default judgment in accordance with Utah law. The Court denied the Plaintiff’s motion, concluding that the Plaintiff had not filed it within the "original action", as required by Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-1802. The Court noted that a nondischargeability judgment is composed of two parts: the judgment on the underlying debt and the judgment of nondischargeability. The Court then held that the "original action," within the context of a nondischargeability judgment, is the judicial proceeding in which the judgment liquidating the underlying debt is first obtained. Because the debt between the Plaintiff and Defendant had been liquidated in state court, that proceeding was the "original action" under Utah law.
Banner Bank v. Robertson (In re Robertson)

Mar-30-2017

UNPUBLISHED

14-2189

Judge Mosier

PDF icon 14-02189_dkt_114.pdf

Defendant submitted personal financial statements and documents he represented to be his tax returns to a bank in order to obtain loans. The purported tax returns were not the returns he had filed with the IRS and showed significantly greater income than the ones filed with the IRS. The bank made the loans, the defendant subsequently defaulted, and the bank obtained a deficiency judgment. When the defendant filed for bankruptcy, the bank commenced an adversary proceeding to except the judgment from discharge under § 523(a)(2)(B). The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, with the defendant arguing that the bank’s complaint should be dismissed under the unclean hands doctrine. The Court denied the defendant’s motion, concluding that the bank did not have unclean hands based on the findings made in the state court proceedings. The Court granted the bank’s motion and excepted the debt from discharge under § 523(a)(2)(B), finding in particular that the defendant’s purported tax returns were materially false because they were not, in fact, his tax returns.

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