Abuharb filed his first Chapter 13 case, receiving a discharge on January 23, 2014, including any personal liability on a claim owed to Mission Valley Shopping Center (“MVA”) for a judgment in the amount of $38,093.14. At that time, Abuharb owned his residence at 8301 Rubblestone Path, but the Chapter 13 plan provided that the property was to be surrendered. When Abuharb subsequently obtained a loan modification for the mortgage on his residence, he neither modified the plan nor sought to avoid the judgment lien of MVA. After that bankruptcy completed, Abuharb twice sought to re-open the case to avoid the judgment lien, with both motions being denied due to the lapse of time and Abuharb’s failure to both avoid the lien at that time or modify the plan.
Abuharb then filed a second Chapter 13 bankruptcy, valuing the residence in the amount of $195,000 and seeking to avoid the judgment lien of MVA on the basis that the two mortgages had total balances of $212,486.48, with an asserted homestead exemption of $30,000.00.
MVA did not contest the value, but argued that it should be allowed its costs and fees incurred due to the failure by Abuharb to avoid the lien in the first case, the multiple motions to re-open and collection costs incurred between the two cases. Relying on Noble v. Yingling, 37 B.R. 647 (D. Del 1984) and Webb v. Robert Boroughs, Ltd., 48 B.R. 454 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 1985), the court held that equity required that Abuharb bear the costs associated with his dilatory actions in the amount of $2,434.50.
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