In 2011, Judge Donovan ruled on a Motion to Dismiss in a chapter 13 case filed jointly by two men. Federal law – Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA) – decreed that if federal law said “spouses,” that meant a man and a woman. Judge Donovan ruled that DOMA was unconstitutional and refused to dismiss the case. You should read his written opinion, it is very poignant. We can discuss this with him tomorrow. My brief follows.
In re Balas and Morales, 449 B.R. 567 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2011) (Donovan, J.)
Issue: Are two men, properly married under the laws of California, eligible to file a joint bankruptcy case?
Holding: Yes. Note: Nineteen Central District judges concurred and signed this opinion.
Counsel for the debtors: Peter Lively and Rob Pfister.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge: Hon. Thomas Donovan
The debtors, two men, filed a joint chapter 13 petition. They were married “to each other” under California law in 2008 “and remain married today.” The US Trustee filed a Motion to Dismiss for “cause.” It cited the Defense of Marriage Act, “DOMA,” 1 U.S.C. section 7, which “defines the term ‘spouse’ for the purpose of applying federal law, as ‘a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.’”
Judge Donovan wrote: “The issue presented to this court is whether the Debtors, who are legally married and were living in California at the time of the filing of their joint petition, are eligible to file a ‘joint petition’ as defined by § 302(a).” “In this court’s judgment, no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple.” Continue reading
We will have our final class this Friday. I am going to skip the section on chapter 13 so you do not need to read the cases previously assigned.
Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan (Ret.) is going to come by and visit. Judge Donovan was the trial judge in the Beverly case so we can discuss that with him. Remember he ruled in favor of the debtor but was reversed by the court of appeals.
Judge Donovan also argued (as a young lawyer) a case (on behalf of the trustee!) at the Supreme Court in 1966 called Bank of Marin v. England. I would like you to read the opinion in that case which is here. Especially the dissent by Justice Harlan which agreed with Judge Donovan.
Judge Donovan was recently overruled by the Supreme Court in Law v. Siegel. The opinion in that case is here. It deals with taking away a homestead exemption based on the debtor being a really bad guy.
Finally, Judge Donovan recently ruled on a case involving Section 727, whether the discharge should be denied. We can talk to him about that. My brief is below. Continue reading
It looks like tomorrow, April 6, is our 12th class. So four more left including tomorrow. Here is what we will do for the last four weeks:
April 6: Class 12. Trustee’s Ability to Expand the Estate 292
A. Preferences 292
Cunningham v. Brown 292
B. Fraudulent Conveyances 297
BFP v. Resolution Trust Corporation 298
Dean v. Davis, Jr. 303
In re Beverly 305
Shapiro v. Wilgus 315
April 13: Class 13. The Discharge 320
A. Denial of the Discharge Based on Prepetition Transfers 320
In re Adeeb 321
In re Beverly 327
B. Non-Dischargeability Based on Fraud 329
Overview of 523(a): 19 subsections
When is a complaint required?
In Re Ronald Kirsh 329
C. Credit Card Debts 334
In re Dorsey 334
In re Eashai 339
April 20: Class 14: Prof. Gorginian
C. Non-Dischargeability Based on Willful and Malicious Injury 347
Kawaauhau v. Geiger 347
D. Debts Arising From Criminal Proceedings 350
Kelly v. Robinson 350
E. Student Loans 356
In re Carnduff 358
Roth v. Educational Management Corp (In re Roth) 364
April 27: Class 15. Consumer Reorganization – Chapter 13 374
Overview of chapter 13
A. Computing Net Disposable Income 374
In re Greer 374
C. Good Faith After BAPCPA 392
In re Welsh 392