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Rulings against 2 pairs of spouses in bankruptcy cases reversed

3rd circuit

In re: Brannon (02/07/07 – No. 05-4600 & 05-5060)

Rulings against 2 pairs of spouses in bankruptcy cases reversed — use of federal exemptions was permissible under the code and, in addition, spouse’s aggregate interest in entireties property is not limited to 1/2 the value of the property.

In re: O’Lexa (02/07/07 – No. 06-2254)

Order in a chapter 7 case exempting property held by a debtor as a tenant by the entireties is affirmed where, contrary to trustee’s argument based on the “doctrine of necessaries,” a Pennsylvania statute does not allow creditors of a debtor spouse to reach entireties property.

4th circuit

Grochal v. Ocean Tech. Servs. (02/09/07 – No. 06-1206, 06-1207)

In case involving bankrupt ship repair and reconditioning company, an award of interpleaded funds to unpaid subcontractors rather than to the government contractor they were owed to is vacated where the funds constitute part of the bankruptcy estate of the contractor.

8th circuit

US v. Mitchell (02/06/07 – No. 06-2844, 06-2419)

Income received prior to the filing of a bankruptcy petition is not included as part of the bankruptcy estate. As such, no person may be convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. section 152(1), for fraudulent concealment of estate property, for failing to disclose such income.

9th circuit

US v. Milwitt (02/05/07 – No. 05-10344)

The crime of bankruptcy fraud under 18 U.S.C. section 157 requires a specific intent to defraud an identifiable victim or class of victims of the identified fraudulent scheme. A conviction and sentence for bankruptcy fraud is reversed where the evidence presented was insufficient to sustain the verdict.

11th circuit

Thompkins v. Lil’ Joe Records, Inc. (02/05/07 – No. 05-10143)

In case involving a rap artist who sold copyrights to works for future royalties to a recording company that went bankrupt, summary judgment for defendants who bought copyrights from bankrupt company is affirmed where plaintiff missed his chance through the bankruptcy to recover some of the royalty money he would have been owed by the bankrupt company.

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