Issue(s): 1) How Should the Court Apply § 1325(b) to Plan Modifications under § 1329? 2) Does Debtor have a duty to report additional income through the filing of tax returns and income and expense reports? 3) May Debtor be compelled to amend her plan if such modification would be infeasible?
Holding(s): The issue of whether § 1325(b)(1) is subsumed into § 1329 cannot be fully resolved without Circuit or Supreme Court authority. The court, however was still able to determine that the debtor could be compelled to commit additional income earned during a Chapter 13 case because the court is not precluded from considering other factors under the general rubric of good faith. With respect to the second issue, a debtor has a duty under BAPCPA to devote all of his or her income to repaying creditors. Finally, for issue three, the debtor cannot be compelled to amend her plan as the Court cannot wind the clock back to recover income that has been spent or dissipated.
In re Aclin (March 11, 2010)
Issue: Is Applicant entitled to fees in excess of what the Austin Division Standing Order (Dated March 1, 2007) allows for cause based on that it took over three proposed Chapter 13 plans, a series of proposed plan modifications, and eleven months after filing bankruptcy before a plan was finally confirmed?
Holding: The Court looked to Section 330(a)(4)(B) of the Bankruptcy Code to determine the amount that should be considered “reasonable compensation” and granted in part, denied in part, an application for $12,801.25 in additional fees, since the Applicant did not fully meet the burden of showing that the requested compensation provided a benefit to the estate that could be measured against any net increases to the base amount of the Plan.
In re Wilson (Feb. 11, 2008)
Issue: Whether the Debtors must file a motion to modify their confirmed chapter 13 plan to shorten the duration of their confirmed plan and allow for money to be distributed to creditors, entitling Debtors to receive a discharge and their case to be closed, or whether, alternatively, no further action by the Debtors is needed to accomplish these events?
Holding: Debtors must file a motion to modify their plan seeking approval to shorten their 48-month plan term and to pay lump sum amounts to creditors of money obtained from the sale of their exempt property and, therefore, enable the Debtors to receive a discharge. Debtors are free to not pursue this course of action and can continue to pay the required monthly payment due under the confirmed plan.
In re Pina (Dec. 27, 2007)
Issue: Is Debtor’s counsel entitled to additional attorney’s fees for filing a Motion for moratorium of plan payments?
Holding: Debtor’s Counsel’s fee request for $300 is Granted in this limited circumstance. The Court will continue to review fee requests on a case by case basis and may ultimately decide to further amend the Standing Order on fees to preclude or allow fee requests of this type.