The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES HOLDERMAN, District Judge
On appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern
District of Illinois Chapter 13
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Larry N. Eden ("Eden") appeals from an order of the Bankruptcy Court
that dismissed his Amended Complaint in an adversary proceeding against
Robert A. Chapski ("Chapski") and Jean Eakins ("Eakins"). Eakins is
Eden's former wife, and Chapski was Eakins's attorney during the
dissolution of Eden and Eakins's marriage. For the following reasons, the
decision of the Bankruptcy Court is affirmed.
Eden petitioned for relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code on
February 20, 1996.*fn1 Chapski was included in the list of unsecured creditors in Eden's
Schedule F as the holder of a disputed claim. Divorce proceedings between
Eden and Eakins continued during the pendency of Eden's bankruptcy
proceeding. Eden's Chapter 13 Plan was confirmed on August 2, 1996. Under
the terms of this plan, Eden was to make payments of $1,088 a month over
a term of 60 months to the Chapter 13 Trustee to he disbursed to the
benefit of Eden's creditors.
On August 6, 1997 a State Court entered a judgment dissolving Eden and
Eakins's marriage ("Judgment of Dissolution") This judgment ordered Eden
to pay his now ex-wife Eakins's attorney's fees in he amount of $17,500.
This payment was payable jointly to Eakins and Chapski. Eden appealed
this judgment. On December 18, 1997, the State Court entered an order
awarding to Eakins her prospective attorney's fees in connection with her
defense of Eden's appeal ("the Prospective Fee older"). (In re Larry N.
Eden, No. 98 A. 01990, slip op. at 4 (N.D. Ill. Bankr. Nov. 26, 2002)
(Ginsberg, Bankr. J.), Ex. C to Dkt. # 9) [hereinafter "Nov. 26 Order"].
Five months later, on May 21, 1998, the State Court entered a rule to
show cause why Eden should not be held in contempt of court for failure
to comply with the Prospective Fee Order. (Id. 4-5.) On September 22,
1998, the State Court entered a rule to show cause on account of Eden's
alleged failure to pay the amounts due under the terms of the Judgment of Dissolution, (Id. at
On October 5, 1998, the attorney's fee amount increased when Chapski
filed a petition in State Court in the amount of $8,964.24 for fees
accrued in connection with Eden's appeal of the Judgment of Dissolution.
Shortly thereafter, Eden made two filings in the Bankruptcy Court. Both
of these came before Bankruptcy Judge Ginsberg. Neither of these filings
are in the record before this court, but both are described in Judge
Ginsberg's Nov. 26 Order, which ruled upon matters relating to these two
filings and is present in the record before this court. On October 8,
1998, Eden filed a Motion to Enforce the Automatic Stay ("Oct 8, 1998
Motion to Enforce Automatic Stay"). Shortly after this motion was filed,
the State Court found Eden in indirect civil contempt for failure to pay
the Prospective Fee Order. On November 16, 1998, Eden filed a Verified
Complaint for Injunction and Emergency Motion against Chapski ("Nov. 16,
1998 Complaint for Injunction"). On December 8, 1998, the State Court
entered an agreed order ("Agreed Order") that stayed execution of a
sentence for the finding that Eden was in indirect civil contempt. (Nov.
26 Order at 8.) This order between Eden, Eakins and Chapski required Eden
to deposit funds into a trust account to satisfy the Prospective Fee
Order pending the Bankruptcy Court's decision on Eden's two motions.
(Id. at 9.)
On July 29, 1999, Judge Ginsberg entered an order ("July 29 Order").
This order forms the basis of nearly all of Eden's arguments on flu's
instant appeal. It stated, in pertinent part:
THIS CAUSE coming on to be heard pursuant to Debtor's Motion to Enforce
the Automatic Stay and Verified Complaint for Injunction. . . .
1. That any allowed pre-petition claim owed to Robert
A. Chapski, Ltd. (hereinafter "Chapski") may only
be paid, pursuant to the confirmed plan, through the Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That this Court
will not make a finding that this pre-petition
debt is determined to be non-dischargeable unless
Chapski prevails in an adversary proceeding
regarding that issue.
2. That any collection effort as to the aforesaid
pre-petition debt is subject to the automatic stay
11 U.S.C. § 362.
3. That any post-petition debt owed to Chapski is not
dischargeable in this Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
4. That any collection efforts as to the
post-petition or pre-petition debt is subject to
the 11 U.S.C. § 1306(a), and the Debtor's wages
are property of the estate and are subject to the
protection of the automatic stay of 11 U.S.C. § 3
62, unless the stay is modified by this Court
after proper notice and motion.
(In Re Eden. 98 A. 01990 (N.D. Ill. Bankr. July 29, 2002), Ex. D to Dkt #
7), On November 30, 1999, Chapski and Eakins moved to modify the
automatic stay, but according to Eden's Amended Complaint this motion was
never granted and was eventually declared moot upon Eden's discharge from
The July 29 Order, however, did not resolve all the issues raised in
Eden's Nov. 16, 1998 Complaint for Injunction. On November 26, 2002 Judge
Ginsberg again addressed the adversary proceeding begun by Eden's Nov.
16, 1998 Complaint for Injunction. (Nov. 26 Order at 1.) In the Nov. 26
Order, Judge Ginsberg specifically addressed a Motion for Turnover of
Funds filed by Eden On November 12, 1999 in connection with his Nov. 16,
1998 Complaint for Injunction. (Id.) Judge Ginsberg rejected Eden's
argument that the amounts tendered pursuant to the Agreed Order should be
returned to Eden. (Id. at 13-17.) In doing so, Judge Ginsberg refused to
find that the amounts tendered in the Agreed Order were wages protected
by the automatic stay. (Id.) Judge Ginsberg also specifically addressed
the July 29 Order. (Id. at 9-10.) Judge Ginsberg stated: "This Court's
order of July 29, 1999 was intended to resolve all issues under
11 U.S.C. § 362 that had been properly noticed and presented in the
Debtor's bankruptcy case." (Id. at 10.) Shortly before Judge Ginsberg's Nov. 26 Order, on October 25, 2002, Eden was granted a discharge
On August 14, 2003 Eden filed an Amended Complaint in Adversary
Proceeding No. 03 A. 02204, which forms the basis of this appeal,
requesting (1) the discharge of that Chapski's attorney's fees and (2)
the recovery of the involuntary payments made by Eden to Eakins via a
wage deduction State Court order.*fn2 Chapski and Eakins moved to
dismiss the Amended Complaint, arguing that the issue of dischargeability
had already been litigated in State Court, and that a hearing on the
matter was heard in State Court on July 9, 2003.*fn3 (Dkt #8.) Eden's
response to Chapski and Eakins's Motion To Dismiss admitted that the
State Court had entered an order determining that the debt owed to Eden
was nondischargeable, but argued that his adversary complaint presented a
"purely Bankruptcy code issue regarding [Chapski and Eakins's] failure
to" comply with the July 29 Order. (Dkt # 9.) Eden, throughout his
materials submitted before this court, admits that the State Court
judgment determined that Chapski's claim was nondischargeable.
On October 9, 2003, Bankruptcy Judge Barbosa granted the Motion to
Dismiss. In doing so, Judge Barbosa ruled that the July 29 Order's
provisions requiring relief from the stay "obviously speak to the
pendency of the case" and that "[o]nce the case is concluded and a
discharge granted, the stay is terminated." (Dkt #13.) Judge Barbosa next responded to
Eden's argument that the My 29 Order discharged Chapski's debt because it
required Chapski to resolve his claim exclusively through the Bankruptcy
Court. Judge Barbosa ruled "that such was not the intent of Judge
Ginsberg" in the July 29 Order. (Id. at 6.) Judge Barbosa concluded that
Judge Ginsberg would not "have intended a ...