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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 Robert D. Martin

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 522(d) -- Exemptions - Federal

Key Terms:
Exemptions


Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) -- Nondischargeability - Willful and Malicious Injury

Key Terms:
Collateral Estoppel
Default Judgment
Willful and Malicious - Defined


Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 544 -- Trustee as Lien Creditor
11 U.S.C. § 547 -- Preferences
11 U.S.C. § 552 -- Postpetition Effect of Security Interest
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1009 -- Amendment of Petition and Schedules
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3002(c) -- Time for Filing Proof of Claim
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012 -- Dismissal for Failure to State Cause of Action

Key Terms:
Cash Collateral
Claims
Letters of Credit
Mortgages - Interpretation
Preferences
Rents and Profits
Rule Against Perpetuities
Taxes


Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(1) -- Nondischargeability - Taxes
Wis. Stat. § 70.10 -- Income Taxes
Wis. Stat. § 71.21 -- Tax Returns

Key Terms:
Taxes - Dischargeability


Judge Thomas S. Utschig

Case Summary:
Plaintiff Joan Stolp's motion for declaratory judgment excluding her interest in debtor's (plaintiff's former husband) military pension from the bankruptcy estate is granted.  Any existing interest which the debtor had in that portion of his pension was dissolved by the state court divorce decree which granted portion of pension to debtor's wife.  Decree entitled debtor's former wife to receive her portion of pension benefits directly from the government.  Former wife's share was thus not property of the bankruptcy estate.

Key Terms:
Divorce Decrees - Property of Estate
Property of the Estate


Case Summary:
Trustee's failure to timely object to debtor's claimed exemption cannot create an exemption which would otherwise have no legal basis.  [NOTE:  see Taylor v. Freeland & Kronz, 118 L. Ed. 2d 280 (1992) -- trustee's failure to timely object to debtor's claimed exemption prevented him from challenging the validity of the exemption regardless of whether the debtor had a colorable statutory basis for claiming the exemption.]

Self-employed dentist's independent retirement accounts were exempt from creditors' claims pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 815.18(31) -- the exemption provision for "interest of any person in any employees' benefit plan."

Statue/Rule References:
Wis. Stat. § 815.18 -- Exemptions

Key Terms:
Exemptions


Case Summary:
Debtor motorcycle-dealer's conversion of proceeds from sale of motorcycle inventory in which creditor had a security interest did not constitute "willful and malicious" injury pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6).
Creditor's objection to debtors' claim of exemption in individual retirement accounts is denied.  IRAs qualify as "similar plan[s]" pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 522(d)(10)(E) -- addressing debtor's interest in a "stock bonus, pension, profit sharing, annuity, or similar plan." Third party defendant insurance agency's claim against debtors is equitably subordinated to claim of creditor which provided inventory financing, due to agency's misrepresentations and coercive dealings in connection with the sale of debtor's business.

Statute/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 510(c) -- Equitable Subordination
11 U.S.C. § 522(d) -- Exemptions - Federal
11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) -- Nondischargeability - Willful and Malicious Injury

Key Words:
Equitable Subordination
Exemptions
Retirement/Pension Plans
Willful Malicious


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