Weinstein v. Fox (In re Fox)

Weinstein v. Fox (In re Fox) - B.R. - (9th Cir. B.A.P. July 2, 2013)
The Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appeals Panel adopted the opinion of the Nevada Supreme Court, and reversed the bankruptcy court, holding that a Nevada debtor, who is subject to community property laws, based upon a plain reading of the statute, cannot claim a wildcard or vehicle exemption on behalf of a non-filing spouse. (This in direct conflict with an Arizona Bankruptcy case, In Re Perez 302 B.R. 661 (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2003), also a community property state, , which holds that a debtor could assert state exemptions in community property for the debtor and non-filing spouse.)
Procedural context:
Debtor was married and filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy without her spouse. On Schedule C, Debtor took wildcard and vehicle exemptions on behalf of her non-filing spouse. The Trustee objected to the exemptions. The bankruptcy court ruled that the debtor could take the exemptions on behalf of her non-filing spouse because of the Nevada community property laws. The Trustee appealed. After receiving the appeal, the Bankruptcy Appeals Panel determined this was an important question of law and entered an order certifying a question the Supreme Court of Nevada as to whether a debtor could claim exemptions on behalf of a non-filing spouse. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel adopted and included the Nevada Supreme Court opinion.
Debtor filed bankruptcy without her spouse and exceeded the single filing debtors exemption limits on vehicles as well as the wildcard exemption. In response, Debtor claimed exemptions on behalf of the non-filing spouse. Trustee objected.
Johnson, Jury and Hollowell, Bankruptcy Judges

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