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SONNENSCHEIN v. SONNENSCHEIN

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois


October 19, 2005.

DENNIS SONNENSCHEIN, Plaintiff,
v.
LINDA SONNENSCHEIN and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL REAGAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In July 2004, Dennis Sonnenschein filed this suit seeking, inter alia, a declaratory judgment against and accounting from his former wife, Linda Sonnenschein. Dennis claimed Linda was taking actions which interfered with Dennis' ability to satisfy his monetary obligations resulting from a judgment entered in a related criminal matter (Case No. 03-cr-30122). Dennis asked the Court to enjoin Linda from disposing of any of the couple's marital property and to order her to provide an accounting of all property she already had disposed of and the proceeds therefrom.

The Court entered a default judgment against Linda in January 2005 and, three months later, held Linda in civil contempt. Additional motions, hearings, and Orders followed. Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement, the terms of which were included in a Consent Order adopted by the Court in July 2005 (Doc. 48). The case then was closed, although the Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement.

  One issue arose after entry of the Consent Order — Dennis moved to compel Linda to execute certain documents. That motion was set for hearing, and the parties appeared, October 7, 2005. Because Dennis had filed an amended motion to compel, however, Linda's counsel requested (and the Court granted) a motion to continue the hearing. Dennis' amended motion to compel (Doc. 63) then was set for hearing on November 3, 2005. A new pleading prevents this Court from proceeding with the November 3rd hearing, as planned.

  On October 19, 2005, Linda Sonnenschein's counsel filed a "Suggestion of Bankruptcy" herein, advising the Court that — on October 10, 2005 — Linda sought protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado. (The Court notes that the suggestion, Doc. 65, bears an incorrect caption, e.g., it lists the USA as Plaintiff rather than as a co-Defendant in this civil proceeding instituted by Dennis Sonnenschein.)

  Under 11 U.S.C. § 362(a), the filing of a bankruptcy petition triggers an automatic stay of the commencement or continuation of any judicial proceeding against a debtor. Accordingly, the Court DECLARES this case STAYED and CANCELS the November 3, 2005 hearing on the amended motion to compel.

  The stay shall remain in effect until this Court enters an Order lifting the stay. The Court DIRECTS Linda's counsel to file a status report on or by the following dates, advising the Court of the status of the bankruptcy proceeding and whether the stay can be lifted, so the Court can proceed with the hearing on the amended motion to compel: November 28, 2005, January 23, 2006, March 20, 2006, and May 30, 2006.

  IT IS SO ORDERED.

20051019

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