All posts in Judges Corner

Judge Whitman Holt takes the bench in the Eastern District of Washington

Whitman HoltJudge Marty Barash and new Judge Whitman Holt.  This appointment is so deserved.  Whitman attended most of the cdcbaa events even though the programs had little to do with his personal practice.  He simply has a huge taste for and love of learning.   Congratulations Whit.  We are going to miss you.  Our loss is Washington’s gain.

If you’re not sure where Yakima is, look here.

Below is the notice from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Appoints New Bankruptcy Judge for Eastern District of Washington SAN FRANCISCO —

Whitman L. Holt has been appointed as the next judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington.  He begins his 14-year term today, November 1, 2019, and will maintain chambers in Yakima.  His appointment was made by the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Read more…

Judge Scott Clarkson website on Rembrandt van Rijn — Bankrupt Printmaker, Art, love and insolvency in the 17th Century

Judge Scott Clarkson has a great website you need to visit - Rembrandt van Rijn — Bankrupt Printmaker, Art, love and insolvency in the 17th Century.   As is said on the website, “Judge Clarkson’s hour-long lecture and PowerPoint presentation of the life and 1656 Bankruptcy of the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn paints a unique picture of art, personality, the loves of his life, and his overwhelming financial successes and failures.  Scott will take his unique show to American University on November 1, 2019.

Take a look at the picture of the US Capitol that Scott uses for the background of the announcement.    The picture was taken by my son Desmond (who also created and maintains this blog for me).   Des and I were at the Space Museum late in the afternoon  a few years ago and we walked out and the sun was shining through on the capitol on what was otherwise a very gloomy day.  Thanks to Scott for thinking of Des.

Nice quote on Chief Justice John Marshall

I finally finished reading Miracle at Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen.  It’s a great book that really puts into perspective how we wound up with our constitution.  And how close it came to never happening, and then to not being ratified.   It’s pretty amazing that neither John Adams nor Thomas Jefferson were there.  Both were in Europe that summer.  George Washington and Benjamin Franklin “laid their shoulders to the great points, knowing that the little ones would follow of themselves.”

Anyway, there is a great comment on John Marshall that I want to remember.  The scene is the convention in Virginia brought afterwards to consider adopting the new constitution.

John Marshall, now in his thirty-third year, was a great strength to the Constitutionalists.  Ruddy and handsome, with wild black hair, a piercing dark eye, as a concession to the occasion he had draped his tall frame in a new coat which however had cost but a pound and looked it.  The assembly knew Marshall, respected him for his soldierly record in the Revolution and loved him for his sociability – which says Grisby primly, at times verged on excess.

John Marshall was with Washington at Valley Forge.

I want to add a quote from a poem at the end of Ms. Bowen’s Preface to the book:

If all the tales are told, retell them, Brother,
If few attend, let those who listen feel.

Great cdcbaa Program June 8, 2019 – Handling Trial from Pre-Trial Proceedings until the Appellate Review

Please join us on June 8, 2019 as we present:
 
Judges on Trial! 
 
Hon. Catherine E. Bauer | U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California, Santa Ana Division 
Hon. Ernest M. Robles | U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California, Los Angeles Division  
Hon. Martin R. Barash| U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Central District of California, San Fernando Valley Division  
 
Moderator – Anerio V. Altman, Esq. 

 
Judges Bauer, Robles and Barash will discuss their approaches to handling trial from the Pre-Trial Proceedings until the Appellate Review.  The judges will submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the cdcbaa and answer questions from the audience.  Now the tables are turned!
 
Registration: 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Program: 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
 
Southwestern Law School
Bullocks Wilshire Building Read more…

Nice Judicial Profile of Judge Scott Clarkson

The Business Law Section of the California Lawyers Assn has a nice Judicial Profile of Judge Scott Clarkson in its April 2019 eNews.  You can access that here.

Congratulations to Chief Judge Maureen Tighe

Image result for judge maureen tighe The Passing the Gavel ceremony yesterday at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena was pretty fun.  I think it’s the fourth one I’ve been to now.  Outgoing Chief Judge Sheri Bluebond passed two gavels, one really large and one more ornate, to incoming Chief Judge Maureen Tighe before a huge throng of well-wishers and admirers.  Talk about hitting the ground running, the government shut down about the time Judge Tighe’s four year term began.  Judge Tighe told us she discovered quickly that there is no manual on how to deal with that.  So she met with the Chief District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, and the 9th Circuit staff, Cathy Campbell of course and others to try to figure out what to do.  She was determined to make sure the courts remained accessible to those who needed them which is what happened.  I say without exaggeration that if it came to a vote among bankruptcy lawyers today about who is the best judge in the Central District it would be Maureen Tighe.  She has the perfect blend of patience and firmness.  She has huge empathy for the parties, especially the little guy, along with the decisiveness the parties need from a judge.  Congratulations Judge Tighe.

LABF Program – Annual State of the Court Presentation – October 15, 2018

LOS ANGELES BANKRUPTCY FORUM
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM

October 15, 2018

ANNUAL STATE OF THE COURT PRESENTATION

Join us for a special presentation by the Honorable Sheri Bluebond on the state of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, and what we can expect in the next year.

The Aftermath of Jevic and the Survival of Structured Dismissals and Settlements

After Chief Judge Bluebond’s presentation, our panel will discuss the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., and whether class-skipping settlements and structured dismissals have survived. The panel will focus on opinions from courts around the country that have addressed these issues since the United States Supreme Court ruling. Read more…

Judge Scott Clarkson to Give Lecture on Dutch Artist Rembrandt van Rijn

On October 25, 2018 at 12 noon to 1 pm Judge Scott Clarkson will give a lecture on the life and 1656 bankruptcy of the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn.  It is a lecture and powerpoint presentation that will be held in the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse, 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, Room 4078, Located in the USBC Intake Department, which is found by taking the escalator up to the 2nd floor.

This is a preview of the lecture he is giving at the Denver Art Museum on November 30.  Rembrandt Lecture Flier

The purpose of this letter … is to provide notice of a current crisis [In the Eastern District]

Since not all of us are members of the Eastern District, I wanted to share a letter signed by all nine sitting district court judges in the Eastern District. I have attached a copy to this blog. Judgeship+Letter+June+2018

Read more…

Is Fraud under California Law the Same as Fraud under 523(a)(2)? Yes says Judge Maureen Tighe.

In Moussighi v. Talasazan (In re Talasazan), 1:16-ap-01119-MT (Bkrcy June 2018, C.A. Cal Tighe J.), Judge Tighe said,

Fraud under California law and § 523(a)(2)(A) are identical for purposes of collateral estoppel. In re Younie, 211 B.R. 367, 373 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 1997), aff’d, 163 F.3d 609 (9th Cir. 1998); In re Jung Sup Lee, 335 B.R. 130, 136 (B.A.P. 9th Cir. 2005).

This came up in an argument I had with someone recently re res judicata.  I stated that a state court judgment that says ONLY “Plaintiff wins $1 million based on the fraud of defendant,” is res judicata in bankruptcy court whether entered by default or not.   I was told I was mistaken in no uncertain terms because fraud under California law is not the same as fraud under 523(a)(2).  Wrong!

By the way, the judgment example above IS res judicata as to the amount owed in any event – at least for claims purposes.  The typical state court judgment says “Plaintiff wins $1 million” (nothing else).  Collateral estoppel in that case as to fraud still MIGHT apply depending on whether it was actually litigated etc.  Underlying documents, rulings etc are needed.  But the judgment ITSELF is res judicata as to how much defendant/debtor owes the creditor.  That statement does NOT mean that if there was fraud, the damages for fraud are $1 million.  But it does mean debtor owes creditor $1 million (which is discharged unless 523(a) applies).

The Talasazan matter has an interesting twist.  The debtor moved for summary judgment on the grounds that fraud was litigated in state court and the ruling was in the debtor’s favor and therefore could not be relitigated.  The problem is that the state court judge did not say that.   Judge Tighe wrote:

“[W]hile fraud was pled, argued, and briefed after trial, the Third Amended Judgment does not include fraud in the list of causes of action on which Plaintiffs prevailed.

It appears that the Superior Court ruled in Plaintiffs’ favor on the negligent misrepresentation cause of action rather than fraud.

For purposes of collateral estoppel, as detailed below, the Superior Court’s silence with respect to the fraud action, in the context of undisputed evidence from both sides that the issue was fully litigated, was a ruling in favor of the Debtor and not the Plaintiffs.”