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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 -- 1990 - 2016
  • Judge Thomas S. Utschig -- 1986 - 2012
  • Judge William H. Frawley -- 1973 - 1986

Judge Thomas S. Utschig

Case Summary:
Novation of retail seller's purchase money security interest in household goods sold to debtor on credit did not occur upon the seller's assignment of the sale contract to a third-party finance company.  Finance company had a close nexus with the retail seller which predated the sale of goods to the debtor.  Sale was consummated by the seller in reliance on the finance company's pre-sale approval of a credit application submitted by the debtor.

Statue/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 522(f) -- Lien Avoidance
Wis. Stat. § 409.107 -- Purchase Money Security Interest

Key Terms:
Novation
Security Interests -- Purchase Money


Case Summary:
Debtor's motion to avoid the lien of Sears in her washer and dryer pursuant to § 522(f)(2)(a) is denied.  Issue of whether Sears was required to file a financing statement to perfect its interest pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 409.302(1)(d) is irrelevant for the court's analysis.  Even an unperfected security interest remains valid and enforceable as between the parties to it.  Fact that a purchase money security interest is unperfected does not destroy its purchase money status.  Chapter 7 trustee took no position as to Sears' lien because the debtor claimed the property as exempt.  Trustee thus did not take priority over the lien of Sears.

Statue/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 522(f) -- Lien Avoidance
11 U.S.C. § 544 -- Trustee as Lien Creditor
Wis. Stat. § 409.107 -- Purchase Money Security Interest
Wis. Stat. § 409.302 -- Security Interests - Perfection

Key Terms:
Financing Statements – Perfection
Lien Avoidance
Security Interests – Perfection
Security Interests – Purchase Money


Case Summary:
Past taxes for which the debtor never filed a tax return are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  Citing 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1)(B)(i).  Plaintiff debtors acknowledged that they did not file returns for the years in question.  Granting IRS's motion for summary judgment is therefore warranted. Debtor's assignment of personal injury proceeds to the defendant IRS did not constitute a "filing" of a tax return for purposes of § 523(a)(1)(B)(i).

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1) -- Nondischargeability - Taxes

Key Words:
Summary Judgment
Taxes


Case Sumamry:
Chapter 11 debtor can properly schedule a previously discharged debt and include it in her reorganization plan.  Citing Johnson v. Home State Bank, 111 S. Ct. 2150 (1991). Effect of § 1111(b) election by the creditor is to secure its claim to the full extent to which it is allowed, notwithstanding the value of the collateral as determined under §506(a).  Fact that debtor's personal liability had been previously discharged in a prior chapter 7 proceeding does not change this result.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 1111(b) -- Claims and Interests

Key Words:
Discharge


Case Summary:
Anti-discrimination provision of § 525(a) can apply to the denial by the ASCS/CCC of a request to participate in the Conservation Reserve Program.  CRP contracts are executory contracts for purposes of § 365.

Denial of debtors' application to participate in the CRP program was not done "solely" on the basis of their bankruptcy and was therefore not in violation of anti-discrimination provision of § 525.

Statue/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 365 -- Executory Contracts
11 U.S.C. § 525 -- Bankruptcy Discrimination

Key Terms:
Agricultural Programs
Conservation Reserve Program
Discrimination
Executory Contracts


Judge Robert D. Martin

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 507(a)(3) -- Priority of Claims - Wages

Key Terms:
Claims
Claims - Prioity


Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 506(a) -- Determination of Secured Status

Key Terms:
"Strip Down"


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