motion for relief from stay
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sanctions for violation of automatic stay
stay lifted to allow equitable distribution action to go forward, but not lifted so as to authorize the state court to transfer property of the estate
§707(b) (case not dismissed)
petition preparer ordered to disgorge fees, matter referred to District Court for consideration of sanctions and damages
objection to claim of property exemptions overruled
petition preparer fined and enjoined from providing further services
Lena M. James
Prior to filing, a Debtor's residence was foreclosed upon by his homeowners association and sold via a non-judicial sale. The real property was purchased, a foreclosure deed was delivered, an order for eviction was obtained, and a Sheriff's eviction was scheduled. Prior to eviction, the Debtor filed for bankruptcy. The purchaser moved to lift the automatic stay pursuant to § 362(d)(1)-(2) to continue with eviction under state law, and the Debtor opposed the motion, arguing that as he had filed an adversary proceeding under § 548 that went to the heart of the purchaser's claimed ownership, that relief from stay should be denied. The Court found that legal title to the property had passed to the purchaser under North Carolina law, and that cause existed to modify the stay under subsection (d)(1). Further, the Court found that, as legal title had passed, the Debtor had no equity in the property, and that the Debtor made no argument as to the property's necessity for an effective reorganization such that the stay could be modified under subsection (d)(2). The Court also found that the pendency of the Debtor's adversary proceeding was no impediment to granting the purchaser's requested relief.
Court granted motion for waiver of financial management course requirement under section 727(a)(11) for a Chapter 7 who died prior to taking the course.
Decedent Chapter 7 Debtor's wife filed a motion, acting as personal representative of the probate estate, to avoid two judicial liens against the Debtor's real property that were not avoided during the bankruptcy. While courts have allowed lien avoidance nunc pro tunc by personal representatives, here the Debtor transferred the real property to entireties property prior to his death and discharge. Here, the property is now, and has always been, outside the probate estate. Thus, the wife lacks standing to reopen the case, as the property is not within the probate estate, and the judgment creditor has no claim against an asset of the estate or the estate itself.