Eleventh Circuit joins the majority of circuits by holding that unforeseen, changed circumstances are not required to modify a chapter 13 plan.

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Case Type:
Case Status:
17-13899 (11th Circuit, Aug 25,2020) Published
On a direct appeal from the bankruptcy court, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the order confirming the modified plan chapter 13 plan without requiring a change in the debtor's circumstances, based on the plain language of section 1329 of the Bankruptcy Court, which does not expressly include such a requirement.
Procedural context:
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida sua sponte certified its order confirming debtor's amended plan for direct appeal to the Eleventh Circuit. Affirmed.
The debtor sought relief under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. In connection with her chapter 13 case, the debtor challenged the validity of Wells Fargo's second priority mortgage lien through an adversary proceeding. The parties ultimately agreed that Wells Fargo had not properly perfected its security interest and held only an unsecured claim. Subsequently, the bankruptcy court confirmed the debtor's chapter 13 plan, which proposed to make a total distribution of $20,172 to unsecured creditors and to pay $4,900 in attorney's fees, in addition to fees incurred in connection with adversary proceeding concerning Wells Fargo. Post-confirmation, the debtor's counsel filed an application for compensation seeking additional fees of $8,295, and the debtor filed a modified chapter 13 plan, which reduced the distribution to unsecured creditors in a corresponding amount to facilitate the payment of the post-confirmation fees. The chapter 13 trustee objected to the modification, contending that the modified plan violated the best interests of creditors test and that the modification was precluded by res judicata. In overruling the chapter 13 trustee's objection, the bankruptcy court found that the modified plan complied with the requirements of section 1325(a), 1322(a), (b), and 1323(c) of the Bankruptcy Code.
Branch and Marcus, Circuit Judges, and Ungaro, District Judge.

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