Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fifth Circuit Report: 4th Quarter 2017

The fourth quarter of 2017 was another slow period for Fifth Circuit opinions dealing with bankruptcy.  There was only one published opinion and there were several opinions that I found on the Fifth Circuit's page but were not in LEXIS.  Nevertheless, here they are for your consideration.   The cases cover mootness, standing, and verbal statements about financial condition.
Dick v. Colo Hous. Enters., LLC, 872 F.3d 709 (5th Cir. 10/4/17)

Debtor sought to prevent a foreclosure sale including filing several bankruptcies.  Two years after the last bankruptcy was dismissed, the substitute trustee posted the property for foreclosure.   The Debtor obtained a TRO in state court.  The Defendants removed the case to federal court.  The U.S. District Judge denied the request for a preliminary injunction.   The Debtor appealed and requested a stay pending appeal in the Fifth Circuit.   The stay was requested the day before the foreclosure sale and was approved the next day.  However, by this time, the substitute trustee had already conducted the foreclosure sale and sold the property to the lender.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fifth Circuit Report: Third Quarter 2017

The third quarter of 2017 had one blockbuster opinion reaffirming the finality of exemptions in Chapter 7 and several less remarkable decisions.   It was a slow quarter for bankruptcy.

Rosbottom v. Schiff (Matter of Rosbottom), 701 Fex. Appx. 330(5th Cir. 7/17/17)(unpublished)
The Debtor and his spouse conveyed their interests in a Louisiana residence to trusts.   They then sold the residence for $1,850,000 and each deposited half the money in their own account.   In 2005, Rosbottom divorced his spouse.  He purchased a condominium in Dallas using his share of the proceeds from the Louisiana residence.  He then conveyed the condo to his trust.   Rosbottom filed for bankruptcy in 2009.   He was convicted of bankruptcy fraud and a Chapter 11 trustee was appointed.   After the Trustee confirmed a plan, the Trustee and the ex-spouse brought a declaratory judgment action seeking to determine that the Dallas condo was property of the estate.

The Bankruptcy Court found that the trust created by Rosbottom was invalid under Louisiana law because it violated Louisiana law prohibiting the conveyance of an undivided interest in community property.    The Fifth Circuit affirmed.    Because the creation of the trust was a nullity under Louisiana law, it never gained title to the Louisiana property.  When that property was sold and a new residence was purchased, that property belonged to the Debtor and was property of the estate.