Articles Posted in U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals

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This appeal concerned a heavily contested Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. After the bankruptcy court determined a secured creditor’s entitlement to post-petition interest under 11 U.S.C. 506(b) and confirmed the debtors’ Chapter 11 plan, the secured creditor appealed to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit (“BAP”). The BAP reversed in part, vacating and remanding the confirmation order and significantly increasing the secured creditor’s entitlement to post-petition interest under section 506(b). The City of Boston, as a junior creditor, and the debtors appealed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals (1) vacated the BAP’s section 506(b) order, holding that the BAP erred in reversing the bankruptcy court’s post-petition interest determination; and (2) vacated the BAP’s confirmation order because it was based solely on the BAP's erroneous interest determination. View "SW Boston Hotel Venture, LLC v. Prudential Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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In 2002, the developer of a timeshare real estate venture (Developer) and Ernesto Brito and Marigloria Del Valle (together, Appellees) entered into a purchase agreement pursuant to which the Developer transferred a “period of ownership” of seven days to a unit of the timeshare regime to Appellees. In 2009, the Developer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and listed Appellees as secured creditors in its bankruptcy schedules. Appellees filed a proof of claim asserting a security interest over the real property. Appellant-bank, the holder of a mortgage over the timeshare property, filed an adversary proceeding against Appellees seeking a declaratory judgment that Appellees did not possess a valid lien over the timeshare property. Appellant moved for summary judgment, contending that Appellees did not have a real property interest because the applicable formalities of the Puerto Rico Timeshare and Vacation Club Act had not been satisfied. The bankruptcy court denied the motion, and the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court correctly concluded that Appellees held property rights in the real property. View "Scotiabank de P.R. v. Burgos" on Justia Law

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Appellant obtained a loan from a Bank for a home equity line of credit secured by a second mortgage on her home in Rowley, Massachusetts. Appellant later sold her home but did not notify the Bank of the sale. Appellant later took advantage of a mistake made on the part of the Bank and obtained $124,200, the exact limit on the home equity line. After Appellant failed to pay back the $124,200 drawn from the home equity account, the Bank commenced foreclosure proceedings on the Rowley property. The new owners were insured by Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, which paid the debt, took an assignment of all of the Bank's rights against Appellant, and sued Appellant in state court. A default judgment was entered against Appellant. Thereafter, Appellant filed for bankruptcy. Old Republic sought a determination that its pre-petition judgment was excepted from discharge as a debt. The bankruptcy court determined that Appellant's debt was not dischargeable in bankruptcy because it was for money Appellant obtained by false pretenses and because it was a debt arising from willful and malicious injury. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court was correct to find the debt to be non-dischargeable. View "Old Republic Nat'l Title Ins. Co. v. Levasseur" on Justia Law

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In this bankruptcy proceeding involving a turnover action and a revocation action, the bankruptcy court ruled (1) Debtor failed to maintain his profit-sharing plan in substantial compliance with applicable tax laws, which meant that assets in the profit-sharing plan and two IRAs funded with the plan assets were part of the bankruptcy estate; and (2) Debtor intentionally failed to disclose the existence of the two IRAs into which he had transferred assets from his profit-sharing plan, which ruling provided alternative grounds for treating the IRAs as nonexempt and provided the basis for the bankruptcy court to revoke Debtor's discharge. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed both rulings, holding (1) the plan assets were not exempt from the bankruptcy estate; (2) Debtor indisputably demonstrated a reckless indifference to the truth of material information during his bankruptcy proceedings; (3) the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying Debtor's Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motion for relief on the turnover judgment on the basis of newly discovered evidence and excusable neglect; and (4) the bankruptcy court did not err in granting summary judgment to the U.S. Trustee in the revocation action. View "Daniels v. Agin" on Justia Law

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Because Munce's Superior Petroleum Products, Inc. (MSPP) failed to comply with a state court order compelling it to bring its facilities into compliance with New Hampshire environmental law, $194,220 in contempt fines was levied against MSPP. The state court orders were issued after MSPP filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, although the violations of New Hampshire law began before MSPP filed its Chapter 11 petition. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services filed a motion to give the fines administrative expense priority, which the bankruptcy court granted. The district court affirmed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the post-petition contempt fine assessed by the New Hampshire state court against MSPP, a debtor-in-possession, was entitled to administrative expense priority. View "Munce's Superior Petroleum Prods., Inc. v. N.H. Dep't of Envtl. Servs." on Justia Law

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Appellant, an experienced real estate developer, defaulted on his personal-guaraty obligations after obtaining a loan for his limited liability company with a "materially false" personal financial statement (PFS). Appellee, the lendor, successfully sued O'Donnell in state court on the personal guaranty. Thereafter, Appellant filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Appellee responded by initiating this adversary proceeding in the bankruptcy court, alleging that Appellant's debt to him was nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2)(B), which makes debts for money procured by use of a written statement nondischargeble if the statement was "materially false" related to the debtor's "financial condition" and the debtor made it with "intent to deceive." The bankruptcy judge refused to discharge Appellant's debt to Appellee, and the bankruptcy appellate panel (BAP) affirmed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the BAP did not clearly err in its finding that Appellant's act of willfully turning "a blind eye" to the accuracy of the PFS proved his intent to deceive. View "Toye v. O'Donnell " on Justia Law

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For nearly twenty years, Plaintiff, Condominium Associations, and several IDC development entities disputed the ownership and use of certain property in Rhode Island. IDC Properties constructed and Defendant, IDC Clambakes, operated the Newport Regatta Club on the contested property after Plaintiff asserted that the rights of the IDC entities to own or develop the property had lapsed. The Rhode Island Supreme Court found in favor of Plaintiff. Defendant later declared bankruptcy. This case came to the First Circuit Court of Appeals from a bankruptcy court decision and concerned the question whether Defendant trespassed on Plaintiff's property or whether, through its actions during the pendency of the litigation, Plaintiff impliedly consented to operation of the Club by Defendant while title to the property was in dispute. The First Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision that Plaintiff impliedly consented to Defendant's operation of the Club, holding that the bankruptcy court's decision was fully reasoned and supported by the evidence. Remanded for a determination whether compensation was owed for Defendant's authorized use and occupancy. View "Goat Island S. Condo., Inc. v. IDC Clambakes, Inc." on Justia Law

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ROK Builders LLC (ROK) constructed a hotel for Moultonborough and had a mechanic's lien on the property. 2010-1 SFG Venture LLC (SFG) was the assignee of the construction lender and had a mortgage on the hotel. After Moultonborough filed for bankruptcy, SFG initiated an adversary proceeding against ROK in bankruptcy court, seeking a declaration that its mortgage was senior to ROK's lien to the extent the construction lender had disbursed loan funds to ROK. ROK, in turn, asserted that its lien was senior to SFG's mortgage. The New Hampshire bankruptcy court and district court entered judgment in favor of SFG. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the bankruptcy court did not err in concluding that N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 447:12-a established the seniority of SFG's mortgage over ROK's mechanic's lien to the extent of the amount of money the construction lender disbursed to ROK. View "ROK Builders, LLC v. 2010-1 SFG Venture, LLC" on Justia Law

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During Appellee's chapter 13 bankruptcy, Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) filed a proof of claim based on Appellee's allegedly unpaid student loans. Appellee objected to the claim because she believed her loans had been repaid. The bankruptcy court sustained Appellee's objection. After the bankruptcy concluded, ECMC resumed collection efforts. Appellee reopened her case and filed an adversary complaint against ECMC, alleging that it had violated the order sustaining her objection. The bankruptcy court concluded the order reflected the prior judge's determination that the obligation remaining on ECMC's claim was zero and therefore sanctioned ECMC for attempting to collect on the debt. The bankruptcy appellate panel affirmed. ECMC appealed, arguing that the bankruptcy court never adjudicated the amount outstanding on Appellee's student loans. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) during bankruptcy proceedings, the issue of the amount ECMC would get from Appellee's estate was resolved by way of the subsidiary factual issue of whether the debt had already been repaid; and (2) the bankruptcy court did not err in imposing sanctions, as ECMC's conduct was an abuse of the bankruptcy process. View "Hann v. Educ. Credit Mgmt. Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition and sought to surrender their home. When Plaintiffs' mortgage lenders (collectively, Beneficial) refused to foreclose or otherwise take title to the residence, Plaintiffs demanded that the mortgage lien be released. After Beneficial also refused to release the mortgage lien, Plaintiffs began an adversary proceeding claiming a discharge injunction violation. The bankruptcy court found Beneficial did not violate the discharge injunction. The bankruptcy appellate panel affirmed. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that because the facts of this case so closely mirrored those in Pratt v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., the same result should follow. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the bankruptcy court's judgment, holding that the bankruptcy court's legal conclusions were correct and that the court did not err in its judgment. View "Canning v. Beneficial Me., Inc." on Justia Law