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In re Edwin Earl Elliott

Summarizing by Bradley Pearce

In re Donald and Jane Nichols

Summarizing by Lars Fuller

Young v. Young (In re Young)

2015 WL 3756720
Eighth Circuit affirmed bankruptcy court's imposition of sanctions on debtor's counsel for mischaracterizing post-petition alimony as pre-petition and for certifying that the debtor was current on alimony payments when she knew that the debtor was not current. Because of counsel's mischaracterizations and false statements, the chapter 13 trustee withdrew an objection to confirmation and the court confirmed the debtor's chapter 13 plan. Failure to pay post-petition alimony is grounds for dismissal of the case and the court could not confirm the plan unless the debtor was current. Court suspended attorney for six months, required her to attend CLE classes and imposed two $1000 fines. The BAP reversed one of the fines, but left the rest intact. On appeal, the Circuit affirmed, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the findings that sanctions were warranted and that therefore it was not an abuse of discretion for the bankruptcy court to sanction debtor's counsel.
Procedural context:
Appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Eighth Circuit.
Debtor was divorced and in the divorce judgment, he was required to pay alimony to his former spouse. After he fell behind and contempt proceedings brought against him, he filed a bankruptcy petition that was subsequently converted to a chapter 13 case. The debtor's plan provided for payment of pre-petition arrears as a priority claim, but the Bankruptcy Code required the debtor to stay current on alimony post-petition. Debtor's counsel knew that the debtor was not current, but falsely mischaracterized post-petition alimony as pre-petitiion and falsely certified that she believed that he was current on his post-petition alimony. Bankruptcy Court held a hearing and sanctioned debtor's counsel. Counsel appealed, first to the BAP and then to the Circuit.
Loken, Melloy, and Gruender

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