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Judge Rules That Home is Where the Heart Is

In 2000, Natalie Portman starred in "Where the Heart Is," a movie about a pregnant 17 year old girl who makes her home in a Walmart. Judge Stacey Jernigan recently had to decide a quite different case about home and the heart. The case involved whether a modern day cowpoke's heart was...

730-Day Rule Costs Debtor Homestead Exemption

The Fifth Circuit's recent decision in Camp v. Ingalls allowed an itinerant debtor to claim federal exemptions that would not have been available to him had he remained in Florida. That was a small victory for the debtor. However, a decision released just a few days later reveals the darker...

U.S. High Court Seeks View of Solicitor General in Bankruptcy Exemption Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 3 asked the U.S. solicitor general to provide perspective on whether a bankruptcy court has the power to levy a financial charge against a Chapter 7 debtor's residential property, which he has claimed falls under the homestead exemption...

Wife's Homestead Claim Remains in Limbo With No Answer from Fifth Circuit

The plight of the non-filing spouse who stands to lose an interest in the homestead is a trap that is easy to overlook. Under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 541(a)(2), when one spouse files bankruptcy, all joint management community property enters the bankruptcy estate. This means that if the filing spouse elects...

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Bankruptcy Case Involving Charge on Debtor’s Property

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 granted certiorari in a case involving the question of whether a bankruptcy court has the power to levy a financial charge against a Chapter 7 debtor's residential property, which he has claimed falls under the homestead exemption...

Supreme Court to Consider Pro Se Challenge to Exemption Surcharge

In an unusual move, the Supreme Court granted cert yesterday to consider the petition of a California man who filed a pro se petition for cert seeking to review the decision of a bankruptcy court to surcharge his homestead exemption under section 105. No. 12-5196, Law v. Siegel . The petition for...

Fifth Circuit Erodes Protection for Texas Homesteads Sold After Filing

Expanding upon its decision in Matter of Zibman , 268 F.3d 298 (5th Cir. 2001) [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Fifth Circuit has ruled that the proceeds from sale of a Texas homestead lose their exempt character if they are not reinvested within six...

Professor Kenneth N. Klee on the Supreme Court's Holding in Law v. Siegel

Professor Kenneth Klee analyzes the March 4, 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Law v. Siegel which held that a bankruptcy court exceeds its authority when it permits a surcharge on a debtor's otherwise exempt assets to pay administrative expenses incurred as a result of a chapter 7 debtor's misconduct...

Texas Homesteads Sold Post-Petition Take Another Hit

Texas bankruptcy judge Jeff Bohm has ruled that a chapter 7 debtor who sold his homestead over a year after filing bankruptcy could not keep the portion of the proceeds when he failed to reinvest them within six months. In re Smith , 2014 Bankr. LEXIS 3344 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 8/4/14) [an enhanced version...

Kim Case KOs Homestead Interest of Non-Filing Spouse

This has not been a good year for Texas homesteads involved in bankruptcy proceedings. In April, the Fifth Circuit ruled (after nearly two years under advisement) that the non-filing spouse does not have a separate homestead estate entitled to protection when the other spouse files bankruptcy, or, as...

Fifth Circuit's Bankruptcy Opinions from October 2014

It's been a slow month in the Fifth Circuit, my home Circuit, with just two bankruptcy-related opinions. This month's cases involve a non-filing spouse who lost her homestead interest and a bank which provided "reasonably equivalent" value but not enough to constitute a complete defense...

Court Rejects Trustee's Unique Homestead Attack

Some of the recent decisions on Texas homesteads coming out of the courts have people wondering just what John Wayne fought and died for at the Alamo. The sanctity of the homestead along with the prohibition against garnishment of wages are two of the pillars upon which this State was founded. While...