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Topics:

Topic #9:

Keywords: totality of circumstances . dismissal .

Chapter 7: "Totality of Circumstances" 707(b)(3): Debtor permitted -- or not permitted -- to file Chapter 7, regardless of means test result.

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Case Summary In re James, 345 B.R. 664, Bkrtcy.N.D.Iowa, 6/30/2006

In re James, 345 B.R. 664 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Iowa 2006)

Topics

Means Test > Abuse Presumption > 702(b)(3) "Totality of Circumstances"

Chapter 7: "Totality of Circumstances" 707(b)(3): Debtor permitted -- or not permitted -- to file Chapter 7, regardless of means test result.

56 Cases , IssueID 9

Ch 7 Means Test
Form 22A, Line 52
Ch 13 Means Test
Form 22C Line

Topic Description:

Even if you pass the requirements of the means test, a court can still find that you don't qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The means test simply is an initial step to see if there is a "presumption" of abuse, based on the calculations therein.

Even if those calculations don't result in a presumption of abuse, under 707(b)(2), a court can still find abuse if the "totality of circumstances" demonstrates "abuse" of Chapter 7 OR because of "bad faith" on the part of the debtor (generally involving hiding assets or other evasive conduct).
As stated in In re Booker:
"in assessing whether the filing was made in bad faith, this Court should focus more on conduct. Conversely, when assessing whether the case should be dismissed as an abuse based upon the totality of the Debtors' financial circumstances, the Court should consider primarily, if not exclusively, the Debtors' ability to pay."

Lines of Cases:

A:

If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances"

B::

Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse

C:

ability to repay 401(k) loan a factor in finding abuse under "totality of circumstances"

D:

abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses

E:

"Everything else..."

Topic Background / Overview:

  • Type A = If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances"
  • Type B = Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse
  • Type C = ability to repay 401(k) loan a factor in finding abuse under "totality of circumstances"
  • Type D = abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses
  • Type E = "Everything Else"
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  • Cases A - Z

Cases for Zip , California Northern District Bankruptcy Court

Ninth Circuit Cases

� In re Jensesn

Banrk. C.D.Cal - 407 B.R. 378 - 2009-04-28 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 8903358563729138555
(Type E : )

Court will not question amount of secured debt payments for hmotor ome and boat because debts were incurred two years prior to bankruptcy and appear not to have been incurred with an intent to defraud creditors, nor did the purchase make the debtor insolvent.. Also has a discussion of "ride through"

� In re Lamug

Bankr.N.D.Cal. - 403 B.R. 47 - 2009-02-18 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 6006813925741352512
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

"After making adjustments to Debtors expenses to only allow actual housing and Utility expenses, Debtors' actual monthly expenses total $4,051. Adjusting Debtors' withholding taxes as suggested by the UST and allowing Debtors to continue making their 401k deduction results in monthly income of approximately $7,368. Even with a 401k deduction, therefore, Debtors have approximately $3,317 in monthly disposable income which could be used to pay creditors.[6] This amount is substantial as Debtors could pay 100% of their unsecured debt in less than 28 months. Thus, the totality of the circumstances of Debtors' financial condition indicate that Debtors have an ability to repay their debts"

� In re Blausey (Blausey v. U.S. Trustee)

9th Cir. - 552 F.3d 1124 - 2009-01-23 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 7068307081325044770
(Type : )

� In re Baeza

Bankr.E.D.Cal. - 398 B.R. 692 - 2008-12-29 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 10060937309661699984
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re McUne

Bankr.D.Or. - 358 B.R. 397 - 2006-12-19 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 7070576628553353085
(Type E : )

� In re Pak

Bkrtcy.N.D.Cal. - 343 B.R. 239 - 2006-05-18 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 12162008244438526176
(Type : )

Totality of circumstances; 707(b)(3);
denied a debtor the right to file Chapter 7 because the debtor was about to have a substantial increase in income.

� In re Smith

Bankr.D.Idaho - - - 7 ,

Google ID#:
(Type E : )

Abuse found under "totality of circumstances" where debtor's child support obligation would end in the middle of Chapter 13 plan, meaning he could pay 60,000 over the next five years.

Other Circuits

� Calhoun v U.S.Trustee

4th Cir. - 650 F.3d 338 (2011) - 2011-05-03 - ,

Google ID#: 12490161398807287100
(Type E : )

Means test non conclusive. Dismissal under 707(b)(3) appropriate where debtor has ability to pay, regardless of what means test shows. In this case most of income was retirement income and social security.

� In re Hornung

Bankr. M.D.N.C. - 425 BR 242 - 2010-03-11 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 16448911195934074517
(Type E : )

Debtors were above median income. Form B22 listed debtors' monthly disposable income as negative $571, so there was no presumption of abuse. However, the court found that debtors' filing a Chapter 7 closely after expensive purchases was in bad faith and abusive under Section 707(b) totality of the circumstances. Specifically, debtors bought a home they couldn't afford, two expensive cars, and a vacation timeshare, all on the eve of bankruptcy.

The court found, upon readjusting debtor's income and expenses to account for post-petition events, that debtors could fully repay their unsecured creditors through Chapter 13.

� In re Pfeiler

Bankr. N.D.Iowa - No. 09-02815 - 2010-03-10 - ,

Google ID#: 1579759412868137768
(Type E : )

Trustee moved to dismiss the case because debtors had reaffirmed debt on two ATV's ($175 per month, and used for snow removal). Trustee argued that these were recreational items that the creditors shouldn't be made to subsidize. However, the debtors amended their income and expenses (schedules I and J), and rescinded their affirmation agreement, so the court found that there was no longer any reason to dismiss the case under trustee's initial motion.

� In re Hunt

Bankr. E.D. Mich. - No. 09-61845-wsd - 2009-12-22 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 1910912076058976004
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

The court found that even though debtors appeared to have extra income, under the totality of the circumstances (Section 707(b)(3)), the debtors nonetheless were not in a position to fund a Chapter 13 plan.

� In re Smith

Bankr.N.D.West Virgina - Case No. 09-691 - 2009-11-23 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 1649170726372750349
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

debtor's ability to pay creditors relevant to 707(b)(3) totality of the circumstances analysis.

� In re Meurer

Bankr.N.D.Texas - Case No. 09-41446 - 2009-11-18 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 3121974087627781095
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Debtor's gambling and luxury lifestyle indicate that choices could be made to repay debts.

� In re Dumas

E.D. Tex. - 419 B.R. 704 - 2009-11-17 - ,

Google ID#: 8615608555109410908
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Fitzgerald

Bankr.D.Connecticut - 418 B.R. 778 - 2009-11-13 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 8603064374499541507
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Perelman

Bankr.E.D. N.Y. - 419 BR 168 - 2009-10-30 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 805944261602764290
(Type A : If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances" )

case nonetheless be dismissed as an abuse based upon an ability to pay

� In re Ruel

Bankr.D.N.M. - 418 BR 389 - 2009-10-14 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 15704221434480222378
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Their mortgage payment is much higher than the IRS guidelines for housing expense. They have two vehicles and a motorcycle; they could reduce expenses and bring in some income by selling a vehicle or the motorcycle (even taking into account Debtor's argument that using the motorcycle in good weather saves on fuel costs.) Therefore, expenses could be reduced without depriving the Debtors of adequate food, clothing, shelter or other necessities.

� In re Phillips

S.D. Ohio - 417 B.R. 30 - 2009-09-22 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 17197251073868773270
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Boyle

Bankr.W.D. New York - 412 BR 108 - 2009-09-11 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 15601227414596467207
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

debtor can't keep boat while seeking discharge of unsecured debts.

� In re Daugherty

Bankr.N.D. Texas - 416 B.R. 582 - 2009-09-08 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 1871327002715980529
(Type E : )

100K income debtor allowed to file chapter 7 where string of bad luck and poor decisions and marital problems, rather than attempt to evade creditors, was motive for financial moves that led to bankruptcy.

� In re Camp

Bankr.E.D.Texas - 416 B.R. 304 - 2009-09-04 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 7249165597480697682
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Desai

Bankr.E.D.Texas - Case No. 07-41713 - 2009-09-02 - ,

Google ID#: 5576954106624556880
(Type E : )

Discharge denied due to lack of business records.

� In re Osting

Bankr. N.D.Ohio - No. 09-30254 - 2009-08-21 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 17741722283628584428
(Type C : ability to repay 401(k) loan a factor in finding abuse under "totality of circumstances" )

Debtor with significant 401(k) and a vacant house was not entitled to a Chapter 7 discharge pursuant to Section 707(b)(3). The court gave him 30 days to convert his case to a Chapter 11 filing, or have his case dismissed.

� In re Salerno

Bankr.D.Colorado - 408 B.R. 558 - 2009-06-25 - 7 , NA

Google ID#: 3855918633145811105
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Goble

Bankr.SD Ohio - 401 B.R. 261 - 2009-02-17 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 11760670167634927513
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

Although debtor is allowed to deduct surrendered home on means test form 22C, ability to pay a Chapter 13 plan relevant in determining whether to deny discharge under 702(b)(3). Reduced mortgage payments sufficient for finding of abuse under 703(b)(3). Good history of Sixth Circuit law on 703(b)(3) "totality of circumstances" cases.

� In re Castellaw

Bankr.N.D.Texas - 401 B.R. 223 - 2009-02-10 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 17472080381151798819
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Dismissal warranted under "totality of circumstances" where debtors purchased a new GMC Yukon shortly before filing, took a trip to Florida a month before filing, lived in an expensive home, wanted to keep their boat, and supported their 22-year-old son.

� In re Baker

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 400 B.R. 594 - 2009-01-30 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 10297691131073738335
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Debtor's student loan repayment may not be deducted from income, and deductions for daughters college and living expenses not allowed where unsecured creditors are receiving less than full payment. Case dismissed under "totality of circumstances"

� In re Booker

Bankr. W.D.Missouri - 399 B.R. 662 - 2009-01-23 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 13242738420409127483
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Dixon

Bankr. E.D.Pa. - No. 08-10510DWS - 2009-01-21 - 13 ,

Google ID#: 15808303357362131499
(Type E : )

In this Chapter 13 case, debtors failed to fully and accurately complete (and later amend) their schedule within one year. The court found that this was cause to dismiss the case.

� In re King

Bankr. E.D.Tex. - Case No. 08-41975 - 2009-01-06 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 9180662154528059849
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

The court dismissed the debtor's case under Section 707(b)(3) [totality of circumstances]. The court said,"The debtors have been living beyond their means, and the totality of the monthly expenses reported by the debtors does not reflect any belt-tightening. The debtors likewise do not appear to have prioritized their expenses to fit within their monthly income. The debtors have not, for example, reduced certain expenses so that they can afford others. Instead, they seem to want to have it all. The debtors enjoy a stable income and good health, and their creditors should not be forced to bear the burden of maintaining the same lifestyle that precipitated this bankruptcy."

� In re Mravik

Bankr. E.D. Wis. - 399 B.R. 202 - 2008-12-31 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 9601931560099652766
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

Unrebutted presumption of abuse under means test does not require dismissal if a Chapter 7 case is presumed abusive under the means test, but would, in complete compliance with Chapter 13, produce no payments to unsecured creditors in a hypothetical Chapter 13 plan (due to different treatment of 401(k) loan repayment expenses.

� In re Calhoun

Bankr.D. South Carolina - 396 BR 270 - 2008-11-10 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 11424154714769758259
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Abuse found under "totality of circumstances" where expenses of debtors with 100K+ annual incomes (more than 2X the state median) were found to be unreasonable and excessive. Also evidence of prior payments to creditors shows that debtor do have an ability to pay, and therefore abuse is found under 703(b).

� In re Harter

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 397 B.R. 860 - 2008-11-05 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 12602452284157904721
(Type E : )

Income of non filing spouse found relevant in a "totality of circumstances" dismissal. Ohio law creates a duty of one spouse to support the other, and debtor's car payments exceeded her income.

� In re Demesones

Bankr. E.D. Virgina - 406 B.R. 711 - 2008-10-24 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 4327275822432141120
(Type A : If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances" )

� In re Draisey

8th Cir. BAP - 395 B.R.79 - 2008-10-16 - ,

Google ID#: 346403741994536536
(Type E : )

� In re Reese

Bankr. M.D. Floricda - 402 B.R. 43 - 2008-09-29 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 10670030318874905516
(Type E : )

the following ten factors may be indicia of bad faith under a Section 707(b)(3)(A) analysis:
(1) the debtor has only one asset in which it does not hold legal title;
(2) the debtor has few unsecured creditors whose claims are small in relation to the claims of the secured creditors;
(3) the debtor has few employees;
(4) the debtor is not financially distressed;
(5) the property is the subject of a foreclosure action as a result of arrearages on the debt;
(6) the debtor's financial problems involve essentially a dispute between the debtor and the secured creditors which can be resolved in a state court action;
(7) the timing of the debtor's filing evidences an intent to delay or frustrate the legitimate efforts of the debtor's secured creditors to enforce their rights;
(8) the debtor made purchases on the eve of filing; (9) incomplete or false disclosures by the debtor; and
(10) failure by the debtor to cooperate with the trustee.

� In re Marti

Bankr. Neb. - 393 B.R. 697 - 2008-08-04 - 13 , Below

Google ID#: 15496126422987594743
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Perrotta

Bankr. D. N.H. - No. 07-11614 - 2008-06-17 - ,

Google ID#: 1633913662049709983
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Blankenship

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 398 B.R. 457 - 2008-05-15 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 6554281185069266234
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Louviere

Bankr. E.D. Texas - 389 BR 502 - 2008-04-04 - 13 , Above

Google ID#: 8410395242524717868
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Close

D. Kan. - 384 B.R. 856 - 2008-03-28 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 520777650322442422
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Felske

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 385 B.R. 649 - 2008-02-06 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 9788658839424903022
(Type C : ability to repay 401(k) loan a factor in finding abuse under "totality of circumstances" )

� In re Stewart

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 383 B.R. 429 - 2008-01-15 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 13611197305785966482
(Type : )

Look to Pre-BAPCPA law to determine standards for 703(b)(3) totality of circumstances. In this case, debtor was found NOT to abuse the BK laws and was allowed to proceed with Chapter 7.

� In re Adams

Bankr.D.Md. - Case No. 06-16027 - 2007-10-19 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#:
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

$1,300,000 residence, luxury car with $1,225 monthly payment, and unreasonable budget is factor in good faith calculus. (cited by In re Lipford

� Perlin v. Hitachi Capital Corp.

3rd Circuit - 497 F.3d 364 - 2007-08-03 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#:
(Type : )

Lavish lifestyle not sufficient to find "bad faith" under 707(a). (Court did not address totality of circumstances" under (b)(3). Issue was not raised.)

� In re Zaporski

Bankr.E.D.Mich. - 366 B.R. 758 - 2007-04-17 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 3225070862768722755
(Type : )

the Court considers the following circumstances as relevant in this case: Zaporski did not file bankruptcy because of any unforseen or catastrophic events, but instead because of excessive spending on entertainment and personal lifestyle choices; he has a substantial, above median income at a stable job; a substantial equity on his balance sheet; a substantial 774 pension plan for when he retires; a substantial 401(k) account; and an ability to continue making contributions to his 401(k) and repay all of his loans to it while at the same time having an ability to repay a meaningful dividend to his creditors, all without making any sacrifices in his present lifestyle. In these circumstances

� In re Zayas

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 2007 WL 987240 - 2007-04-02 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#:
(Type : )

� In re Oot

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 368 B.R. 662 - 2007-03-19 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 10021140041354257017
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

court dismissed case under totality of the circumstances where debtors made over $3,000 monthly mortgage payments on home, and reaffirmed debts for newer luxury vehicles and pop-up camper

� In re Henebury

Bankr.S.D.Fla. - 361 B.R. 595 - 2007-03-16 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 15486072475384608734
(Type E : )

� In re Nockerts

Bankr.E.D.Wis. - 357 B.R. 497 - 2006-12-14 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 11105860880297690118
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

"[W]hile the ability to [fund a Chapter 13 plan] is a factor in the totality of circumstances test, and may even be the primary factor to be considered, if it is the only indicia of abuse, the case should not be dismissed under that test."

� In re James

Bkrtcy.N.D.Iowa - 345 B.R. 664 - 2006-06-30 - ,

Google ID#: 1352139199210136244
(Type : )

dismissed under 707(b)(3) "totality of circumstances" because in the year preceding his bankruptcy, he received substantial sums of money from various sources and spent it all on unnecessary indulgences, rather than pay down his debt.

� In re Rahim and Abdulhussain

Bankr.E.D. - No 10-57577-R - - 12/16/2010 ,

Google ID#: 15295557057895027927
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Debtors with income of $500,000 not permitted to file BK. Medical practice revenue and expenses cannot conceal lavish lifestyle.

� Calhoun v U.S.Trustee

4th Cir. - 650 F.3d 338 (2011) - 2011-05-03 - ,

Google ID#: 12490161398807287100
(Type E : )

Means test non conclusive. Dismissal under 707(b)(3) appropriate where debtor has ability to pay, regardless of what means test shows. In this case most of income was retirement income and social security.

� In re Lanza

Bankr.M.D.Pa - No. 1:10-bk-06272-MDF - 2011-03-25 - 7 , below

Google ID#: 11017639960127382771
(Type A : If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances" )

Debtor's ability to pay, despite below median income, warrants dismissal. Surrender of property will free up income and daughter's education expenses must come after paying creditors.

� In re Hornung

Bankr. M.D.N.C. - 425 BR 242 - 2010-03-11 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 16448911195934074517
(Type E : )

Debtors were above median income. Form B22 listed debtors' monthly disposable income as negative $571, so there was no presumption of abuse. However, the court found that debtors' filing a Chapter 7 closely after expensive purchases was in bad faith and abusive under Section 707(b) totality of the circumstances. Specifically, debtors bought a home they couldn't afford, two expensive cars, and a vacation timeshare, all on the eve of bankruptcy.

The court found, upon readjusting debtor's income and expenses to account for post-petition events, that debtors could fully repay their unsecured creditors through Chapter 13.

� In re Pfeiler

Bankr. N.D.Iowa - No. 09-02815 - 2010-03-10 - ,

Google ID#: 1579759412868137768
(Type E : )

Trustee moved to dismiss the case because debtors had reaffirmed debt on two ATV's ($175 per month, and used for snow removal). Trustee argued that these were recreational items that the creditors shouldn't be made to subsidize. However, the debtors amended their income and expenses (schedules I and J), and rescinded their affirmation agreement, so the court found that there was no longer any reason to dismiss the case under trustee's initial motion.

� In re Hunt

Bankr. E.D. Mich. - No. 09-61845-wsd - 2009-12-22 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 1910912076058976004
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

The court found that even though debtors appeared to have extra income, under the totality of the circumstances (Section 707(b)(3)), the debtors nonetheless were not in a position to fund a Chapter 13 plan.

� In re Smith

Bankr.N.D.West Virgina - Case No. 09-691 - 2009-11-23 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 1649170726372750349
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

debtor's ability to pay creditors relevant to 707(b)(3) totality of the circumstances analysis.

� In re Meurer

Bankr.N.D.Texas - Case No. 09-41446 - 2009-11-18 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 3121974087627781095
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Debtor's gambling and luxury lifestyle indicate that choices could be made to repay debts.

� In re Dumas

E.D. Tex. - 419 B.R. 704 - 2009-11-17 - ,

Google ID#: 8615608555109410908
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Fitzgerald

Bankr.D.Connecticut - 418 B.R. 778 - 2009-11-13 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 8603064374499541507
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Perelman

Bankr.E.D. N.Y. - 419 BR 168 - 2009-10-30 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 805944261602764290
(Type A : If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances" )

case nonetheless be dismissed as an abuse based upon an ability to pay

� In re Ruel

Bankr.D.N.M. - 418 BR 389 - 2009-10-14 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 15704221434480222378
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Their mortgage payment is much higher than the IRS guidelines for housing expense. They have two vehicles and a motorcycle; they could reduce expenses and bring in some income by selling a vehicle or the motorcycle (even taking into account Debtor's argument that using the motorcycle in good weather saves on fuel costs.) Therefore, expenses could be reduced without depriving the Debtors of adequate food, clothing, shelter or other necessities.

� In re Phillips

S.D. Ohio - 417 B.R. 30 - 2009-09-22 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 17197251073868773270
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Boyle

Bankr.W.D. New York - 412 BR 108 - 2009-09-11 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 15601227414596467207
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

debtor can't keep boat while seeking discharge of unsecured debts.

� In re Daugherty

Bankr.N.D. Texas - 416 B.R. 582 - 2009-09-08 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 1871327002715980529
(Type E : )

100K income debtor allowed to file chapter 7 where string of bad luck and poor decisions and marital problems, rather than attempt to evade creditors, was motive for financial moves that led to bankruptcy.

� In re Camp

Bankr.E.D.Texas - 416 B.R. 304 - 2009-09-04 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 7249165597480697682
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Desai

Bankr.E.D.Texas - Case No. 07-41713 - 2009-09-02 - ,

Google ID#: 5576954106624556880
(Type E : )

Discharge denied due to lack of business records.

� In re Osting

Bankr. N.D.Ohio - No. 09-30254 - 2009-08-21 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 17741722283628584428
(Type C : ability to repay 401(k) loan a factor in finding abuse under "totality of circumstances" )

Debtor with significant 401(k) and a vacant house was not entitled to a Chapter 7 discharge pursuant to Section 707(b)(3). The court gave him 30 days to convert his case to a Chapter 11 filing, or have his case dismissed.

� In re Salerno

Bankr.D.Colorado - 408 B.R. 558 - 2009-06-25 - 7 , NA

Google ID#: 3855918633145811105
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Jensesn

Banrk. C.D.Cal - 407 B.R. 378 - 2009-04-28 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 8903358563729138555
(Type E : )

Court will not question amount of secured debt payments for hmotor ome and boat because debts were incurred two years prior to bankruptcy and appear not to have been incurred with an intent to defraud creditors, nor did the purchase make the debtor insolvent.. Also has a discussion of "ride through"

� In re Jensen

Bankr. C.D.CA - 407 BR 378 - 2009-04-28 - ,

Google ID#: 8903358563729138555
(Type E : )

� In re Lamug

Bankr.N.D.Cal. - 403 B.R. 47 - 2009-02-18 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 6006813925741352512
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

"After making adjustments to Debtors expenses to only allow actual housing and Utility expenses, Debtors' actual monthly expenses total $4,051. Adjusting Debtors' withholding taxes as suggested by the UST and allowing Debtors to continue making their 401k deduction results in monthly income of approximately $7,368. Even with a 401k deduction, therefore, Debtors have approximately $3,317 in monthly disposable income which could be used to pay creditors.[6] This amount is substantial as Debtors could pay 100% of their unsecured debt in less than 28 months. Thus, the totality of the circumstances of Debtors' financial condition indicate that Debtors have an ability to repay their debts"

� In re Goble

Bankr.SD Ohio - 401 B.R. 261 - 2009-02-17 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 11760670167634927513
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

Although debtor is allowed to deduct surrendered home on means test form 22C, ability to pay a Chapter 13 plan relevant in determining whether to deny discharge under 702(b)(3). Reduced mortgage payments sufficient for finding of abuse under 703(b)(3). Good history of Sixth Circuit law on 703(b)(3) "totality of circumstances" cases.

� In re Castellaw

Bankr.N.D.Texas - 401 B.R. 223 - 2009-02-10 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 17472080381151798819
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Dismissal warranted under "totality of circumstances" where debtors purchased a new GMC Yukon shortly before filing, took a trip to Florida a month before filing, lived in an expensive home, wanted to keep their boat, and supported their 22-year-old son.

� In re Baker

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 400 B.R. 594 - 2009-01-30 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 10297691131073738335
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Debtor's student loan repayment may not be deducted from income, and deductions for daughters college and living expenses not allowed where unsecured creditors are receiving less than full payment. Case dismissed under "totality of circumstances"

� In re Blausey (Blausey v. U.S. Trustee)

9th Cir. - 552 F.3d 1124 - 2009-01-23 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 7068307081325044770
(Type : )

� In re Booker

Bankr. W.D.Missouri - 399 B.R. 662 - 2009-01-23 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 13242738420409127483
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Dixon

Bankr. E.D.Pa. - No. 08-10510DWS - 2009-01-21 - 13 ,

Google ID#: 15808303357362131499
(Type E : )

In this Chapter 13 case, debtors failed to fully and accurately complete (and later amend) their schedule within one year. The court found that this was cause to dismiss the case.

� In re King

Bankr. E.D.Tex. - Case No. 08-41975 - 2009-01-06 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 9180662154528059849
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

The court dismissed the debtor's case under Section 707(b)(3) [totality of circumstances]. The court said,"The debtors have been living beyond their means, and the totality of the monthly expenses reported by the debtors does not reflect any belt-tightening. The debtors likewise do not appear to have prioritized their expenses to fit within their monthly income. The debtors have not, for example, reduced certain expenses so that they can afford others. Instead, they seem to want to have it all. The debtors enjoy a stable income and good health, and their creditors should not be forced to bear the burden of maintaining the same lifestyle that precipitated this bankruptcy."

� In re Mravik

Bankr. E.D. Wis. - 399 B.R. 202 - 2008-12-31 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 9601931560099652766
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

Unrebutted presumption of abuse under means test does not require dismissal if a Chapter 7 case is presumed abusive under the means test, but would, in complete compliance with Chapter 13, produce no payments to unsecured creditors in a hypothetical Chapter 13 plan (due to different treatment of 401(k) loan repayment expenses.

� In re Baeza

Bankr.E.D.Cal. - 398 B.R. 692 - 2008-12-29 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 10060937309661699984
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Calhoun

Bankr.D. South Carolina - 396 BR 270 - 2008-11-10 - 7 , Above

Google ID#: 11424154714769758259
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Abuse found under "totality of circumstances" where expenses of debtors with 100K+ annual incomes (more than 2X the state median) were found to be unreasonable and excessive. Also evidence of prior payments to creditors shows that debtor do have an ability to pay, and therefore abuse is found under 703(b).

� In re Harter

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 397 B.R. 860 - 2008-11-05 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 12602452284157904721
(Type E : )

Income of non filing spouse found relevant in a "totality of circumstances" dismissal. Ohio law creates a duty of one spouse to support the other, and debtor's car payments exceeded her income.

� In re Demesones

Bankr. E.D. Virgina - 406 B.R. 711 - 2008-10-24 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 4327275822432141120
(Type A : If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances" )

� In re Draisey

8th Cir. BAP - 395 B.R.79 - 2008-10-16 - ,

Google ID#: 346403741994536536
(Type E : )

� In re Reese

Bankr. M.D. Floricda - 402 B.R. 43 - 2008-09-29 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 10670030318874905516
(Type E : )

the following ten factors may be indicia of bad faith under a Section 707(b)(3)(A) analysis:
(1) the debtor has only one asset in which it does not hold legal title;
(2) the debtor has few unsecured creditors whose claims are small in relation to the claims of the secured creditors;
(3) the debtor has few employees;
(4) the debtor is not financially distressed;
(5) the property is the subject of a foreclosure action as a result of arrearages on the debt;
(6) the debtor's financial problems involve essentially a dispute between the debtor and the secured creditors which can be resolved in a state court action;
(7) the timing of the debtor's filing evidences an intent to delay or frustrate the legitimate efforts of the debtor's secured creditors to enforce their rights;
(8) the debtor made purchases on the eve of filing; (9) incomplete or false disclosures by the debtor; and
(10) failure by the debtor to cooperate with the trustee.

� In re Marti

Bankr. Neb. - 393 B.R. 697 - 2008-08-04 - 13 , Below

Google ID#: 15496126422987594743
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Crink

Bankr. M.D. N.C. - 402 B.R. 195 - 2008-07-31 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 10401657833708042596
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Abuse found based on "ability to pay" where debtor could reduce 'excessive' housing expenses by moving to smaller home rather than current 5,000 sq ft home for family of 3.

� In re Perrotta

Bankr. D. N.H. - No. 07-11614 - 2008-06-17 - ,

Google ID#: 1633913662049709983
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Blankenship

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 398 B.R. 457 - 2008-05-15 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 6554281185069266234
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

� In re Louviere

Bankr. E.D. Texas - 389 BR 502 - 2008-04-04 - 13 , Above

Google ID#: 8410395242524717868
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Close

D. Kan. - 384 B.R. 856 - 2008-03-28 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 520777650322442422
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

� In re Felske

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 385 B.R. 649 - 2008-02-06 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 9788658839424903022
(Type C : ability to repay 401(k) loan a factor in finding abuse under "totality of circumstances" )

� In re Stewart

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 383 B.R. 429 - 2008-01-15 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 13611197305785966482
(Type : )

Look to Pre-BAPCPA law to determine standards for 703(b)(3) totality of circumstances. In this case, debtor was found NOT to abuse the BK laws and was allowed to proceed with Chapter 7.

� In re Adams

Bankr.D.Md. - Case No. 06-16027 - 2007-10-19 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#:
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

$1,300,000 residence, luxury car with $1,225 monthly payment, and unreasonable budget is factor in good faith calculus. (cited by In re Lipford

� Perlin v. Hitachi Capital Corp.

3rd Circuit - 497 F.3d 364 - 2007-08-03 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#:
(Type : )

Lavish lifestyle not sufficient to find "bad faith" under 707(a). (Court did not address totality of circumstances" under (b)(3). Issue was not raised.)

� In re Zaporski

Bankr.E.D.Mich. - 366 B.R. 758 - 2007-04-17 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 3225070862768722755
(Type : )

the Court considers the following circumstances as relevant in this case: Zaporski did not file bankruptcy because of any unforseen or catastrophic events, but instead because of excessive spending on entertainment and personal lifestyle choices; he has a substantial, above median income at a stable job; a substantial equity on his balance sheet; a substantial 774 pension plan for when he retires; a substantial 401(k) account; and an ability to continue making contributions to his 401(k) and repay all of his loans to it while at the same time having an ability to repay a meaningful dividend to his creditors, all without making any sacrifices in his present lifestyle. In these circumstances

� In re Zayas

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 2007 WL 987240 - 2007-04-02 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#:
(Type : )

� In re Oot

Bankr.N.D.Ohio - 368 B.R. 662 - 2007-03-19 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 10021140041354257017
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

court dismissed case under totality of the circumstances where debtors made over $3,000 monthly mortgage payments on home, and reaffirmed debts for newer luxury vehicles and pop-up camper

� In re Henebury

Bankr.S.D.Fla. - 361 B.R. 595 - 2007-03-16 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 15486072475384608734
(Type E : )

� In re McUne

Bankr.D.Or. - 358 B.R. 397 - 2006-12-19 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 7070576628553353085
(Type E : )

� In re Nockerts

Bankr.E.D.Wis. - 357 B.R. 497 - 2006-12-14 - 7 , N/A

Google ID#: 11105860880297690118
(Type B : Ability or inability to fund a Chapter 13 plan is relevant to finding of abuse under "totality of circumstances" and/or special circumstances for NOT finding abuse )

"[W]hile the ability to [fund a Chapter 13 plan] is a factor in the totality of circumstances test, and may even be the primary factor to be considered, if it is the only indicia of abuse, the case should not be dismissed under that test."

� In re James

Bkrtcy.N.D.Iowa - 345 B.R. 664 - 2006-06-30 - ,

Google ID#: 1352139199210136244
(Type : )

dismissed under 707(b)(3) "totality of circumstances" because in the year preceding his bankruptcy, he received substantial sums of money from various sources and spent it all on unnecessary indulgences, rather than pay down his debt.

� In re Pak

Bkrtcy.N.D.Cal. - 343 B.R. 239 - 2006-05-18 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 12162008244438526176
(Type : )

Totality of circumstances; 707(b)(3);
denied a debtor the right to file Chapter 7 because the debtor was about to have a substantial increase in income.

� In re Masur

Bankr. D S.D. - 2007 WL 3231725 - 0000-00-00 - 7 ,

Google ID#: 11760670167634927513
(Type A : If debtor plans to surrender collateral, lower expenses can be considered dismissing for "totality of circumstances" )

� In re Smith

Bankr.D.Idaho - - - 7 ,

Google ID#:
(Type E : )

Abuse found under "totality of circumstances" where debtor's child support obligation would end in the middle of Chapter 13 plan, meaning he could pay 60,000 over the next five years.

� In re Rahim and Abdulhussain

Bankr.E.D. - No 10-57577-R - - 12/16/2010 ,

Google ID#: 15295557057895027927
(Type D : abuse found where debtor could reduce "excessive" housing or other expenses )

Debtors with income of $500,000 not permitted to file BK. Medical practice revenue and expenses cannot conceal lavish lifestyle.

All Cases A to Z

  • Calhoun v U.S.Trustee, 650 F.3d 338 (2011) , (4th Cir. ) 2011-05-03, #12490161398807287100
  • In re Adams, Case No. 06-16027 , (Bankr.D.Md. ) 2007-10-19, #
  • In re Baeza, 398 B.R. 692 , (Bankr.E.D.Cal. ) 2008-12-29, #10060937309661699984
  • In re Baker, 400 B.R. 594 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2009-01-30, #10297691131073738335
  • In re Blankenship, 398 B.R. 457 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2008-05-15, #6554281185069266234
  • In re Blausey (Blausey v. U.S. Trustee), 552 F.3d 1124 , (9th Cir. ) 2009-01-23, #7068307081325044770
  • In re Booker, 399 B.R. 662 , (Bankr. W.D.Missouri ) 2009-01-23, #13242738420409127483
  • In re Boyle, 412 BR 108 , (Bankr.W.D. New York ) 2009-09-11, #15601227414596467207
  • In re Calhoun, 396 BR 270 , (Bankr.D. South Carolina ) 2008-11-10, #11424154714769758259
  • In re Camp, 416 B.R. 304 , (Bankr.E.D.Texas ) 2009-09-04, #7249165597480697682
  • In re Castellaw, 401 B.R. 223 , (Bankr.N.D.Texas ) 2009-02-10, #17472080381151798819
  • In re Close, 384 B.R. 856 , (D. Kan. ) 2008-03-28, #520777650322442422
  • In re Crink, 402 B.R. 195 , (Bankr. M.D. N.C. ) 2008-07-31, #10401657833708042596
  • In re Daugherty, 416 B.R. 582 , (Bankr.N.D. Texas ) 2009-09-08, #1871327002715980529
  • In re Demesones, 406 B.R. 711 , (Bankr. E.D. Virgina ) 2008-10-24, #4327275822432141120
  • In re Desai, Case No. 07-41713 , (Bankr.E.D.Texas ) 2009-09-02, #5576954106624556880
  • In re Dixon, No. 08-10510DWS , (Bankr. E.D.Pa. ) 2009-01-21, #15808303357362131499
  • In re Draisey, 395 B.R.79 , (8th Cir. BAP ) 2008-10-16, #346403741994536536
  • In re Dumas, 419 B.R. 704 , (E.D. Tex. ) 2009-11-17, #8615608555109410908
  • In re Felske, 385 B.R. 649 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2008-02-06, #9788658839424903022
  • In re Fitzgerald, 418 B.R. 778 , (Bankr.D.Connecticut ) 2009-11-13, #8603064374499541507
  • In re Goble, 401 B.R. 261 , (Bankr.SD Ohio ) 2009-02-17, #11760670167634927513
  • In re Harter, 397 B.R. 860 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2008-11-05, #12602452284157904721
  • In re Henebury, 361 B.R. 595 , (Bankr.S.D.Fla. ) 2007-03-16, #15486072475384608734
  • In re Hornung, 425 BR 242 , (Bankr. M.D.N.C. ) 2010-03-11, #16448911195934074517
  • In re Hunt, No. 09-61845-wsd , (Bankr. E.D. Mich. ) 2009-12-22, #1910912076058976004
  • In re James, 345 B.R. 664 , (Bkrtcy.N.D.Iowa ) 2006-06-30, #1352139199210136244
  • In re Jensen, 407 BR 378 , (Bankr. C.D.CA ) 2009-04-28, #8903358563729138555
  • In re Jensesn, 407 B.R. 378 , (Banrk. C.D.Cal ) 2009-04-28, #8903358563729138555
  • In re King, Case No. 08-41975 , (Bankr. E.D.Tex. ) 2009-01-06, #9180662154528059849
  • In re Lamug, 403 B.R. 47 , (Bankr.N.D.Cal. ) 2009-02-18, #6006813925741352512
  • In re Lanza, No. 1:10-bk-06272-MDF , (Bankr.M.D.Pa ) 2011-03-25, #11017639960127382771
  • In re Louviere, 389 BR 502 , (Bankr. E.D. Texas ) 2008-04-04, #8410395242524717868
  • In re Marti, 393 B.R. 697 , (Bankr. Neb. ) 2008-08-04, #15496126422987594743
  • In re Masur, 2007 WL 3231725 , (Bankr. D S.D. ) 0000-00-00, #11760670167634927513
  • In re McUne, 358 B.R. 397 , (Bankr.D.Or. ) 2006-12-19, #7070576628553353085
  • In re Meurer, Case No. 09-41446 , (Bankr.N.D.Texas ) 2009-11-18, #3121974087627781095
  • In re Mravik, 399 B.R. 202 , (Bankr. E.D. Wis. ) 2008-12-31, #9601931560099652766
  • In re Nockerts, 357 B.R. 497 , (Bankr.E.D.Wis. ) 2006-12-14, #11105860880297690118
  • In re Oot, 368 B.R. 662 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2007-03-19, #10021140041354257017
  • In re Osting, No. 09-30254 , (Bankr. N.D.Ohio ) 2009-08-21, #17741722283628584428
  • In re Pak, 343 B.R. 239 , (Bkrtcy.N.D.Cal. ) 2006-05-18, #12162008244438526176
  • In re Perelman, 419 BR 168 , (Bankr.E.D. N.Y. ) 2009-10-30, #805944261602764290
  • In re Perrotta, No. 07-11614 , (Bankr. D. N.H. ) 2008-06-17, #1633913662049709983
  • In re Pfeiler, No. 09-02815 , (Bankr. N.D.Iowa ) 2010-03-10, #1579759412868137768
  • In re Phillips, 417 B.R. 30 , (S.D. Ohio ) 2009-09-22, #17197251073868773270
  • In re Rahim and Abdulhussain, No 10-57577-R , (Bankr.E.D. ) , #15295557057895027927
  • In re Reese, 402 B.R. 43 , (Bankr. M.D. Floricda ) 2008-09-29, #10670030318874905516
  • In re Ruel, 418 BR 389 , (Bankr.D.N.M. ) 2009-10-14, #15704221434480222378
  • In re Salerno, 408 B.R. 558 , (Bankr.D.Colorado ) 2009-06-25, #3855918633145811105
  • In re Smith, Case No. 09-691 , (Bankr.N.D.West Virgina ) 2009-11-23, #1649170726372750349
  • In re Smith, , (Bankr.D.Idaho ) , #
  • In re Stewart, 383 B.R. 429 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2008-01-15, #13611197305785966482
  • In re Zaporski, 366 B.R. 758 , (Bankr.E.D.Mich. ) 2007-04-17, #3225070862768722755
  • In re Zayas, 2007 WL 987240 , (Bankr.N.D.Ohio ) 2007-04-02, #
  • Perlin v. Hitachi Capital Corp., 497 F.3d 364 , (3rd Circuit ) 2007-08-03, #

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How to use case law (it can be tricky)

If you're not familiar with what "case law" is, and how to use it, check out Chapter 7 of Nolo's LegalResearch: How to Find and Understand the Law for a guide to how to read through a case to get the parts that matter.

Also, you need to be familiar with the concept of "jurisdiction." Here are some helpful links:

When you read a case, check to make sure that the case's decision applies to your local district. Do this by looking at which court has decided the case -- either the U.S. Supreme Court, a court of appeal (listed here in large type), or a district court (listed in small type).  Your local district court judge is not bound to follow the opinion of judges from other district courts, but often they look to these cases for advice. Your local district, however, is bound  to follow decisions in cases from it governing circuit court. You'll see fairly few Supreme Court case here, but those cases are also binding on all districts."

Are these all the bankruptcy cases there are?

NO! NO! NO! This is a start for your research. New cases are constantly being decided. I update this when I have time. This is only a fraction of the actual published opinions out there. Dozens of cases are handed down nationwide every week. I catalog interesting ones when I have time. They are meant to serve as a starting point for your research -- NOT as a comprehensive listing of the current state of the law.

 

DISCLAIMER. By using this database you acknowledge and agree to the following:

This database does not contain every relevant case in every district on the topics covered; there are high priced services for that. This is free. It is offered to the public "as is" as an adjunct to the Nolo books, How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Keep Your Property and Repay Your Debts Over Time (10th Edition, 2010): which I co-author with attorney Stephen Elias.

This database is updated as time permits. Do not assume that it has the latest case in your district. We are still filling holes in the database -- and will always be. Use it as a place to start your reasearch, rather than the final answer to your question.

Some of these issues involve the discretion of the judge which can vary from judge to judge. So, even if you find a case just like yours where a judge went your way, as they say in the car biz, "your mileage may vary..."

If you're not familiar with what "case law" is, and how to use it, check out Chapter 7 of Nolo's LegalResearch: How to Find and Understand the Law for a guide to how to read through a case to get the parts that matter.

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