2016 Judge Altenburg - Opinions

Judge Andrew B. Altenburg -- Opinions signed in 2016




In re: DeMarco; Case 14-28245, 2/9/2016

A fee applicant must exercise billing judgment prior to submitting a fee application. Failure to do so will result in a reduction of fees. In addition, unnecessary duplication of services, excessive billing on uncomplicated tasks, excessive intraoffice meetings, the unnecessary appearance of multiple attorneys at hearings, and charging high hourly rates for administrative tasks, will result in a reduction of attorney’s fees.



In re: Kirk; Case 14-10653, 1/7/2016

A pension fund, health and welfare fund, profit sharing fund (the "Funds")  filed an adversary proceeding against the debtor, Donn Kirk, a principal of a company that failed to pay over all fund contributions. The Funds sought summary judgment of its claim that the debt should be held nondischargeable under section 523(a)(4) for defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity. The court held that Mr. Kirk was a fiduciary of a technical trust, but that a trial must be held to determine whether he defalcated with the necessary culpable intent to hold the debt nondischargeble.



In re: Thomas J. Subranni v. Navajo Times Publishing Company, Inc. (In re Star Group Communications, Inc.), Adv. Pro. No. 15-02497, 4/29/2016

Section 106 of the Bankruptcy Code does not abrogate sovereign immunity for Indian tribes. The court found that the Navajo Times newspaper is a “subordinate economic entity” of the Navajo Nation, which enables it to enjoy the benefits of sovereign immunity. Navajo Times’ motion to dismiss adversary proceeding for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) is granted.








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