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The District of Utah offers a database of opinions for the years 1979 to Current, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter the keyword or case number in the search box above.

Opinion Archive

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Title: In re Neiheisel, 32 B.R. 146 (Bankr.D.Utah)In re PlantIn re CooperIn re Poyner | Date: Jul-26-1983 | Status: PUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82C-0354, -0384, and -0410; and 81C-1981

Debtors challenged the constitutionality of the Utah Exemptions Act, Utah Code Ann. §78-23-1 through 78-23-15, under the United States Constitution, alleging that the Act violated the supremacy clause. Debtors asserted that the Utah Act, which did not exempt certain items of personal property that debtors wished to exempt, and that would be exempt under federal law, frustrates the federal "fresh start" policy in bankruptcy. The court disagreed, holding that 11 U.S.C. § 522(b) allows a state discretion with respect to its exemptions, and does not require that state exemptions be comparable to, or concomitant with, the federal exemptions. Therefore, Utah's Exemptions Act, which was passed pursuant to the federal opt out provision in § 522, was valid.

Title: In re Stewart, 32 B.R. 132 (Bankr.D.Utah)In re Fairbourne | Date: Jul-24-1983 | Status: PUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82C-0011 and -0159

Trustees in two chapter 7 cases objected to debtors' exemption claims in prepetition wages. The court held that the Utah Exemptions Act, Utah Code Ann. §78-23-1 through 78-23-15, prohibits the use of 11 U.S.C. § 522(d) exemptions by Utah debtors. However, § 78-23-15 does not prohibit Utah debtors' use of exemptions that are provided by Utah laws outside of the Exemptions Act, of which there are many. Moreover, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(2)(A), Utah debtors may also claim federal exemptions that are provided by federal statutes other than § 522(d). Together, Utah Code Ann. § 70B-5-105 and Utah R. Civ. P. 64D exempt Utah debtors' wages in bankruptcy, even though they are technically garnishment laws and do not specifically state that they are applicable in bankruptcy. Non-bankruptcy exemptions need not specify that they apply in bankruptcy cases in order to do so.

Title: Am.-Strevell, Inc. v. Termicold Corp. (In re Am.-Strevell, Inc.) | Date: Jul-22-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82PM-0379

Unpaid warehouseman refused to deliver stored goods to chapter 11 debtor-in-possession where debtor's demand was not accompanied by an offer of adequate protection. The court held that, under Utah Code Ann. § 70A-7-209(4), warehouseman would not have lost its lien if it had delivered the goods to debtor in response to the demand, and did not lose the lien for refusing to release the goods, because the refusal was justified by debtor's failure to include a reasonable offer of adequate protection. The court noted that both common sense and prudent practice require the parties to attempt to negotiate adequate protection prior to requesting a court determination. Finally, the court found that the parties' contract, under which debtor relinquished possession and control of frozen turkeys to warehouseman, was clearly a bailment, rather than a lease, and was not avoidable under 11 U.S.C. § 545.

Title: Kojima v. Stevens (In re Stevens) | Date: Jun-30-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82PC-0828

In an action to determine dischargeability under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a), the court held as follows: (1) a non-dischargeable judgment entered by a bankruptcy court is a judgment entered "for and on behalf of the United States District Courts" in a "district court civil proceeding," under In re Color Craft Press, Ltd., 27 B.R. 962 (D. Utah 1983), so that postpetition interest on the judgment is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1961; (2) pre-judgment interest in dischargeability actions is awardable at the contract rate if there is a contract, or at the legal rate if there is not; (3) pursuant to In re Cowart, Civ. No. 81-0929J (D. Utah Sept. 20, 1982) (Jenkins, J.), punitive damages are not awardable in non-dischargeability actions, notwithstanding contrary case law from other jurisdictions; (4) a state court's default judgment that is based on the operative facts underlying their dischargeability action in bankruptcy has no res judicata effect; and (5) although collateral estoppel is a viable doctrine in non-dischargeability actions, the bankruptcy court will not give collateral estoppel effect to a default judgment.

Title: In re Escobar | Date: Jun-24-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 80C-2417

Creditors had a claim against chapter 11 debtors that arose from liens that had been attached to their residence. Numerous hearings were held and numerous orders entered, which set the amount of creditors' claim and credited debtors for liens they were able to have released from creditors' property. However, creditors had also incurred expenses in defending some of the lien claims. The court denied debtors' motion to deem creditors' judgment satisfied finding that, since the court's last order, debtors had only paid the attorney's fees they were ordered to pay and provided one release of a $2,050 lien, which was significantly less than the $7,103.51 plus interest the court had determined was owed to creditors. The court further rejected debtors' assertion that they could now show that they were not responsible for some of the liens on creditors' home, noting that debtors had shown substantial disregard for the court's orders and had been given numerous opportunities to make such a showing, and had failed to do so.

Title: In re ColeIn re LandersIn re PhelpsIn re Mascaro | Date: Jun-23-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED (Judge Mabey) | Case(s): 81M-0299, 80M-2353, 79M-1520, and 81M-0565

The court considered four chapter 13 cases in which creditors had failed to file timely proofs of claim under Bankruptcy Procedure Rule 13-302(e). The court first held that Rule 13-302(e) was not inconsistent with the new Bankruptcy Code and, therefore, that it continued to apply in Bankruptcy Code cases. Under Rule 13-302(e), a secured creditor that failed to file a proof of claim before the conclusion of the meeting of creditors will be treated as unsecured. An unsecured creditor's failure to file a proof of claim within six months of the creditors meeting will receive no disbursements under the plan. The new Code, however, allows the debtor or trustee to file a proof of claim on behalf of a creditor that did not timely file one, and there is no time limit placed on that action. Therefore, where debtors had filed such proofs on behalf of their creditors, the claims were preserved. The court further held that a provision for payment of a creditor's claim under a debtor's plan amounts to a consent to the claim by the debtor, which has the same effect as debtor filing a proof of claim on creditor's behalf. With respect to untimely proofs of claim filed by the IRS, none of which was included in debtors' plans, the court concluded that taxes become "payable" on the date the returns are originally due, not when the returns were filed, nor when the tax was assessed. Therefore, all but one of the IRS claims were barred by Rule 13-302(e), but a claim that had become payable postpetition was allowed by 11 U.S.C. § 1305(a)(1).

Title: In re Career Concepts, Inc. | Date: Jun-13-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED See 73.pdf (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 81C-1939

In accordance with the court's previous ruling that debtor's attorneys could not represent debtor in its chapter 11 proceedings because they were not "disinterested," attorneys submitted an application for fees incurred in representing debtor in its converted chapter 7 case. The court denied some of the claimed fees as having been incurred prior to the conversion, and others because they related to attorneys' attempts to obtain payment for their chapter 11 services. Based on those exclusions, attorneys had been slightly overpaid for the remaining services, and were directed to remit the overpayment to the chapter 7 trustee.

Title: Amalgamated Concrete Corp. v. Mast Constr. Co. (In re Amalgamated Concrete Corp.) | Date: Jun-10-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82PC-0728, -1187

In a removed case based on state law, defendant's jury trial demand was denied by the court as untimely under interim Bankruptcy Rule 7004(g) and Local Rule 11(a), and defendant was deemed to have waived trial by jury. Although Rule 11(a) allows such waivers to be set aside for good cause, an oversight by counsel was not good cause. Defendant's motion to transfer the case from the bankruptcy court to the district court, which had been improperly filed with the bankruptcy court, was referred to the district court for disposition.

Title: Red Mountain Mining Co., Inc. v. Reeves (In re Reeves) | Date: May-31-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED See 50.pdf (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82PC-0709

Court granted debtor's motion to dismiss corporate plaintiff's claim, as the motion had not been opposed. Debtor's motion for summary judgment on the dismissal of individual plaintiff's claim was denied, as debtor's motion was based on state law fraud, while plaintiff's 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) dischargeability claim against debtor was governed by federal, rather than state, law.

Title: Ute-Cal Land Dev. Corp. v. Kenai Oil & Gas, Inc. (In re Ute-Cal Land Dev. Corp.) | Date: May-23-1983 | Status: UNPUBLISHED (Judge Clark) | Case(s): 82PC-1219

Debtor filed an adversary action asserting that defendant had failed to make royalty payments required under the parties' lease, and seeking to terminate the parties' contract. Debtor and the purchaser of oil from defendant agreed that purchaser would thereafter pay royalties directly to debtor, leaving only the lease termination to be determined by the court. However, the court exercised its discretion to abstain from hearing the lease dispute, concluding that the state had a comprehensive regulatory system in place to deal with oil and gas production and drilling activity that was uniquely situated to fashion an appropriate remedy. Therefore, the court considered debtor's claim to be premature, as state administrative remedies had not been exhausted.