American Eagle vs. Friedman, 13-AP-01199
Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div. Opinion: December 29, 2015.
JACK B. SCHMETTERER, Bankruptcy Judge.
This case resulted in a Summary Judgment finding despite the assertion by the Debtor-Defendant of his 5th Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination.
Specifically, this Adversary Case arose from the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filed by Arthur Friedman (“Debtor”). Creditor-Plaintiff, American Eagle Bank (the “Plaintiff) filed a 3-count Complaint to determine the dischargeability of debt as follows:
Count I – per 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A)
Count II – per 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6)
Count III- per 11 U.S.C. §§ 727(a)(3) and (a)(5)
Count IV- per 11 U.S.C. §§ 727(a)(2), (4),(5) and (7)
Count IV was added in the Amended Complaint. The Debtor answered both the Complaint and the Amended Complaint.
On August 4, 2015 the Plaintiff served Requests for Admission pursuant to Fed.R.Bankr.P.7036. The Debtor never responded, and the Plaintiff brought a Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count IV, alleging that the unanswered Requests were deemed admitted under Fed.R.Civ.P.36(a)(3). The Court agreed, and Summary Judgment was granted on Count IV.
I. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
Subject matter jurisdiction is proper in the Bankruptcy Court per 28 U.S.C. §1334, and this is a “core proceeding” under 28 U.S.C. §§157(b)(2)(A), (I), and (O) since it seeks to determine the dischargeability of a debt. Therefore, it “stems from the bankruptcy itself” and may be decided by a Bankruptcy Court (See: Stern v. Marshall, 131 S.Ct. 2594, 2618 (2011)).
II. UNCONTESTED FACTS
The Plaintiff filed a Statement of Material Facts as required by Local Rules, but the Debtor failed to file an opposing statement; thus “[a]ll material facts in [Plaintiff’s] statement…[were] deemed admitted.” Accordingly, the following was taken from the Plaintiff’s Statement of Material Facts, Debtor’s Answers, and the Requests for Admission:
Debtor was a principal and the president of Prestige Leasing (“Prestige”). Before filing, the Debtor was party to a lawsuit that was settled in his favor. As a result, the Debtor received $75,000 annually, minus attorneys’ fees. Payments were made to Prestige until it was closed in 2011. After that time, payments were made to the Debtor. In his Answers the Debtor admitted as much, and that payments were received within a year of filing bankruptcy.
Moreover since the Debtor did not respond to the Requests for Admission within the 30-day time limit prescribed by the rules, the resulting admission could be deemed a violation of his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. Therefore, the Court’s inquiry began with a discussion of the Debtor’s Fifth Amendment rights.