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Opinions

The Western District of Wisconsin offers a database of opinions for the years 1986 to present, listed by year and judge. For a more detailed search, enter a keyword, statute, rule or case number in the search box above.

Opinions are also available on the Government Printing Office website for Appellate, District and Bankruptcy cases. The content of this collection dates back to April 2004, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete for this earlier time period.

For a direct link to the Western Wisconsin Bankruptcy Court on-line opinions, visit this link.

Available Decisions:

  • Chief Judge Catherine J. Furay -- 2013 - present
  • Judge Rachel M. Blise -- 2021 - present
  • Judge William V. Altenberger -- 2016 - present
  • Judge Thomas M. Lynch -- 2018 - present
  • Judge Katherine M. Perhach -- 2020 - present
  • Judge Brett H. Ludwig -- 2017 - 2020
  • Judge Robert D. Martin (retired) -- 1990 - 2016
  • Judge Thomas S. Utschig (retired) -- 1986 - 2012

Judge Rachel M. Blise

Case Summary:  
Debtors requested and obtained voluntarily dismissal of a previous chapter 13 case after their mortgage creditor requested relief from the automatic stay. They commenced another chapter 13 case less than 180 days later.  Section 109(g)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that an individual debtor who voluntary dismisses his or her case following the filing of a request for relief from the automatic stay may not file another bankruptcy case until 180 days have passed.  The Court found that the Debtors dismissed the previous case after and as a result of the mortgage creditor’s motion for relief from stay.  The Court held that it did not have discretion to allow the case to proceed under the circumstances, and that § 109(g)(2) compelled the Court to dismiss this case because the Debtors are ineligible to be debtors.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 109(g)(2) -- Who may be a debtor

Key Terms:
Eligibility
Voluntary Dismissal


Chief Judge Catherine J. Furay

Case Summary:  
Plaintiffs sought a determination that the debt owed to them is nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A). Debtor opposed Plaintiff’s assertion and argued Plaintiffs were collaterally estopped. The Court found collateral estoppel was inapplicable. After a trial on the issue, the Court determined Debtor’s debt to Plaintiffs was nondischargeable because it was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) - False pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud

Key Terms:
Nondischargeability


Case Summary:
Plaintiffs sought a determination that the debt owed to them is nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A). Debtor opposed Plaintiff’s assertion and argued Plaintiffs were collaterally estopped. The Court found collateral estoppel was inapplicable. After a trial on the issue, the Court determined Debtor’s debt to Plaintiffs was dischargeable because Plaintiffs did not sufficiently establish Debtor’s participation in the fraudulent misrepresentation that led to incurring the debt.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) - False pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud

Key Terms:
Nondischargeability


Case Summary:
Plaintiffs sought a determination that the debt owed to them is non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A). Debtor opposed Plaintiff’s assertion and argued Plaintiffs were collaterally estopped. The Court found collateral estoppel was inapplicable. After a trial on the issue, the Court determined Debtor’s debt to Plaintiffs was nondischargeable because it was obtained by fraudulent misrepresentation.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) - False pretenses, false representation, or actual fraud

Key Terms:
Nondischargeability


Case Summary:
Debtor sought contempt remedies for violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction related to the Government’s attempt to satisfy restitution owed by Debtor’s husband with sequestered property, tax refunds, and Debtor’s pension. The district court made determinations about Debtor’s interest in the property and returned to this Court for sanctions. Debtor argued the Government violated the automatic stay and discharge injunction when it sought to collect restitution from Debtor’s interest in property. Further, Debtor seeks sanctions for the Government’s refusal to release a lien on property she owns with her father. The Government contended its argument in district court, that Debtor had no legitimate interest in any of the tax refund or her retirement account, was not a violation of the automatic stay or discharge injunction. Further, the Government asserted its lien on the property at issue was proper. The Court found there was no violation of the automatic stay as to the sequestered property. The Court did find violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction in the Government’s pursuit of 100% of the tax refunds and 100% of Debtor’s pension. Further, the Court found the Government’s conduct relating to the lien on the property violated the discharge injunction.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 105 - Powers of court
11 U.S.C. § 362(a) – Automatic stay
11 U.S.C. § 362(k)(1) – Automatic stay violation damages
11 U.S.C. § 524(a) – Discharge injunction

Key Terms:
Automatic Stay
Contempt
Discharge Injunction
Taggart Standard


Case Summary:
The United States Trustee brought a motion to examine an attorney’s fees and sought disgorgement of $800 due to counsel’s repeated failure to provide routinely provided documents in their entirety. Counsel disclosed compensation of $2,000 and asserted disgorgement was not appropriate and that the United States Trustee should not be allowed to “proscribe” counsel’s fees. Counsel provided the Court with time records. The Court ordered disgorgement of $800 finding counsel’s lack of attention to detail and poor communication with Debtor imperiled Debtor’s opportunity for a fresh start and discharge which warranted disgorgement of some of counsel’s fees. 

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 329 - Debtor’s transactions with attorneys
11 U.S.C. § 330(a)(3) - Compensation of professionals
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2017 - Examination of Debtor’s Transactions with Debtor’s Attorney

Key Terms:
Disgorgement
Attorney Fees - reasonable compensation


Judge Thomas M. Lynch

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