Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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The Fifth Circuit granted debtors' petition for panel rehearing and withdrew the previously filed opinion. The court denied debtors' petition for rehearing en banc. The court held that the bankruptcy court erred in ordering debtors to turn over the liquidated funds from an IRA to the trustee. In this case, the property interest was "withdrawn from the estate" when the exemptions were allowed, and there was no provision under which debtors' subsequently acquired interests in amounts distributed from the IRA could become part of the estate. Accordingly, the court reversed the bankruptcy court's order requiring debtors' to turn over the liquidated funds to the trustee and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hawk v. Engelhart" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's determination that it lacked jurisdiction to consider debtor's appeal of the bankruptcy court's decision in debtor's adversary proceeding. The court also affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision to reopen his main bankruptcy proceeding to allow the DOE and ECMC to file proofs of claim. In this case, the amended statement of issues and designation of record could not fairly be called a notice of appeal within the meaning of Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8003(3). Furthermore, allowing DOE and ECMC to reopen the main bankruptcy proceeding served to establish their standing in the adversary proceeding and enabled debtor, should he have prevailed, to obtain a discharge against the correct entities. Likewise, the bankruptcy court did not err by allowing DOE and ECMC to file proofs of claim. View "Dorsey v. US Department of Education" on Justia Law

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Debtors claimed an exemption for funds held in an individual retirement account (IRA). The Fifth Circuit upheld the bankruptcy court's holding that the funds had lost their exempt status because Texas law provides that funds withdrawn from a retirement account remain exempt only if rolled over into another retirement account within sixty days. In this case, debtors subsequently withdrew the funds from the IRA and did not roll them over into another IRA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hawk v. Engelhart" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy courts' findings that debtor was involved in a scheme designed to deprive mortgage holders of foreclosure sale proceeds, and that the damages flowing from this scheme were nondischargeable debts pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(4) and 523(a)(6). The court held that debtor's debts to the Countrywide Plaintiffs (and Bank of America) "arise" from larceny and were nondischargeable in bankruptcy. The court also held that debtor failed to demonstrate that he was prejudiced by the bankruptcy court entering the Countrywide Adversary Judgment without lifting the automatic stay in his Chapter 7 case. View "Cowin v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc." on Justia Law

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ASARCO filed suit against MRI, challenging MRI's refusal to bring ASARCO back into a partnership in a Montana copper mine. MRI argued that ASARCO's decisions during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing prevent it from suing for reinstatement. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of MRI's motion for summary judgment on preclusion and estoppel grounds. The court held that the district court correctly determined that ASARCO was not precluded from bringing its breach of contract claim and the claim was not barred by res judicata. The court explained that the claim was contingent on future events and thus ASARCO could not have brought it during the adversary proceeding. The court also held that ASARCO's disclosure of the right to reinstate, though scant, was sufficient. Finally, the court left it to the district court to decide in the first instance the nature of the provision and whether, if it is executory, the ride-through doctrine applies. View "ASARCO v. Montana Resources" on Justia Law