2021 Judge Kaplan - Opinions

Judge Michael B. Kaplan -- Opinions signed in 2021


Eric J. Winnegrad and Sharon Winnegrad, Case No. 19-22700 (01/21/2021)

Objection to Confirmation

Debtors, who were unable to maintain their chapter 13 plan payments after they lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, were not able to confirm a modified plan that called for no payments for two years. After considering feasibility objections cited by the standing chapter 13 trustee and the debtors’ arguments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the Court held that while debtors were qualified to modify their plan under changes made to the Bankruptcy Code by the 2020’s CARES Act, they must still satisfy the requirements of Section 1325(a) of the Bankruptcy Code for a court to approve their modified plan. The trustee objected to confirmation of the modified plan as not feasible and not proposed in good faith because it did not provide for payment of a mortgage arrearage, did not provide payments for two years, and did not explain how debtors would resume their payments. The Court sustained the trustee’s objection, but deferred ruling on the trustee’s motion to dismiss debtors’ case to allow them to propose a feasible modified plan.



20-01439 BIW v. Congoleum – (dated April 16, 2021)

The Court grants Summary Judgment in the adversary proceeding favor of movant, Bath Iron Works (“BIW”). In the debtor’s previous bankruptcy case, the debtor (“Congoleum”) negotiated an agreement (the “Century Settlement”) whereby it sold back certain insurance policies and assumed liabilities in exchange for immediate cash payment to fund its bankruptcy. BIW was a co-insured on those policies. In subsequent litigation in the district court, Congoleum argued that BIW retained liability for certain claims associated with those policies. BIW filed the instant adversary proceeding in Congoleum’s present bankruptcy seeking a declaration that the Century Settlement absolved BIW of liability. The Court finds that the Century Settlement sold the policies free and clear and subject to a release of all past, present and future claims—both asbestos and non-asbestos—including claims of additional insureds such as BIW. Paragraph 104 of the 2010 Confirmation Order further memorializes that BIW has no liability for any claims—asbestos and non-asbestos—stemming from the Congoleum Flooring Business, which includes all activities at the property at issue.


21-12957 3P Hightstown LLC – (dated July 22, 2021)

The Court determines that the manager of the debtor-LLC filed the chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in violation of the terms of the parties’ LLC Agreement, which terms are enforceable because they not contrary to public policy. Because the bankruptcy filing was unauthorized, the Court is compelled and authorized to dismiss the case pursuant to its equitable powers under 11 U.S.C. § 105 and applicable case law. The Court declines to rule on the issue of movant’s standing; therefore, denies the pending motion to dismiss as moot and dismisses the case sua sponte.


Buterick Bulkheading, Inc. v. Daniel Sachkowsky, Adv. Pro. No. 19-02271 (MBK)
Main Case: In Re: DANIEL SACHKOWSKY, Case No. 19-20512

The Plaintiff, Buterick Bulkheading, Inc., objects to the discharge of debt owed to Buterick by Defendant-Debtor, Daniel Sachkowsky under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) and (B).  Following trial, the Court determines that the totality of the circumstances do not suggest that the Debtor intended to deceive Buterick.  Rather, it appears that the Debtor simply broke his promise to pay.  Because the Plaintiff has not met its burden of proving the requisite element of intent by a preponderance of the evidence; its claims under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) and (B) fail.  The Court grants judgment in favor of the Debtor and the debt is deemed dischargeable.








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