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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:
U.S. Trustee's objection to flat fee charged by chapter 7 debtor's attorney is dismissed.  Court applies factors identified in In re Reliable Investors Corp., 60 B.R. 98 (Bankr. W.D. Wis. 1986) and determines that flat fee of $3,000 was reasonable, even though that amount exceeded by $487 what fee would have been under a hypothetical hourly rate.

Key Terms:
Attorney Fees

Case Summary:
Court interprets ambiguous trustee appointment order of October 28, 1986, as placing sole responsibility for the collection, recording and paying of payroll taxes on the debtor corporations' "agent" Paul Hemker.  The trustee, Melvin Hoffman, was therefore not responsible for collecting, recording and paying those taxes.

Assuming the trustee to be a "responsible person" pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6672, he is not entitled to indemnification from the bankruptcy estate for any payments made for a 100% penalty assessed pursuant to that provision.  Citing Levit v. Ingersoll Rand Financial Corp., 874 F.2d 1186 (7th Cir. 1989).

Payments made by trustee as a "responsible person" pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 6672 to satisfy 100% penalty do not constitute administrative expense under 11 U.S.C. § 503(b)(1)(a).  11 U.S.C. § 346(f) obligates trustee to withhold from wage claims any amount required under applicable federal tax law.  Result is not changed by fact that trustee was able to collect substantial amount ($160,000) for payment to holders of unsecured and administrative claims.

Post conversion payments made for 100% tax penalty pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 6672 are not entitled to administrative super priority status under 11 U.S.C. § 726(b).  Court's finding that payments were not entitled to administrative expense status under 11 U.S.C. § 503(b) mandates this result.

Statue/Rule References:
11 U.S.C. § 346(f) -- Trustee Tax Withholding Obligations
11 U.S.C. § 503 -- Administrative Expenses
26 U.S.C. § 6672 -- "Responsible Person" - Tax Withholding

Key Terms:
Administrative Expenses
Taxes - Penalties

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

Judge Robert D. Martin

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

Key Terms:

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
Letters of Credit
Mortgages - Interpretation
Rents and Profits
Rule Against Perpetuities

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