In re Thomas (Mar. 26, 2014)
The Debtor owned a 518-acre tract of land that the creditor foreclosed on after the Debtor defaulted on its loan. The foreclosure sale produced a deficiency claim that the Debtor contested. The Court conducted a valuation proceeding to determine the fair market value of the property as of the date of the sale to ascertain the Debtor’s deficiency claim. While two lay witnesses provided testimony, the Court relied primarily on the testimony of expert witnesses, three real estate appraisers. The Court scrutinized the basis and credibility of the experts’ opinions and examined the selection and adequacy of the comparable properties, the use of adjustments, and the experts’ rationale for their inputs underlying their valuation. Ultimately, the Court arrived at a value by averaging the most comparable properties and making adjustments. The district court affirmed on appeal.
WL Cite: In re Thomas, No. 11-10997, 2014 WL 1248991, at *1 (Bankr. W.D. Tex. Mar. 26, 2014) aff'd sub nom. Thomas v. Graham Mortgage Corp., No. A-14-CA-551, 2014 WL 5808392 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 7, 2014).
In re Amrco (July 29, 2013)
The Debtor sought to prevent a creditor from foreclosing on the Debtor’s property by filing for Chapter 11 relief the day of the foreclosure proceedings. The issue before the Court was whether the foreclosure sale was valid, and thus kept the property from becoming property of the estate when the bankruptcy case was filed. The Court held that the property was part of the bankruptcy estate because the foreclosure proceedings were voided by the omission of the substitute trustee’s address from the Notice of Foreclosure, a requirement under section 51.075 of the Texas Property Code. A Texas appellate court had recently ruled on very similar facts, finding that a non–judicial foreclosure sale that did not strictly comply with the notice requirements was void, and the Court in this case was reluctant to substitute its judgment for that of a Texas appellate court that had spoken recently and persuasively on this precise question.
WL Cite: In re Amrco, 496 B.R. 442 (Bankr. W.D. Tex. 2013).