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McFarland v. Wallace

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division

September 10, 2014

THOMAS J. MCFARLAND, Appellant,
v.
A. STEPHENSON WALLACE, Chapter 7 Trustee, Appellee

Page 666

Appeal in: Chapter 7 Case No. 11-10218-SDB.

For Thomas J. McFarland, Appellant: Todd Boudreaux, LEAD ATTORNEY, Todd Boudreaux, PC, Evans, GA.

For Thomas J. McFarland, Debtor: Todd Boudreaux, Todd Boudreaux, PC, Evans, GA.

For A. Stephenson Wallace, Appellee: David B. Bell, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bell & Bell Associates, Augusta, GA.

For U.S. Trustee Office of the U.S. Trustee, Trustee: Matthew E. Mills, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the United States Trustee, Savannah, GA.

OPINION

Page 667

ORDER

Honorable J. Randal Hall, United States District Judge.

Thomas J. McFarland (" Appellant" ) appeals from the Bankruptcy Court's September 29, 2012, and September 30, 2013, Orders sustaining A. Stephenson Wallace's (" Appellee" ) objection to Appellant's exemptions. This Court AFFIRMS the Bankruptcy Court's Orders.

I. JURISDICTION AND STANDARD OF REVIEW

This Court has appellate jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1) and Bankruptcy Rules 8001 et seq. On appeal, the Court reviews the bankruptcy court's factual findings for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. In re Globe Mfg. Corp., 567 F.3d 1291, 1296 (11th Cir. 2009).

II. DISCUSSION

This appeal presents two issues: (1) whether the Bankruptcy Court erred in determining that Appellant was limited to the $2,000.00 exemption for whole life insurance set forth in O.C.G.A. § 44-13-100(a)(9); and (2) whether the Bankruptcy Court erred in finding that Appellant's retirement annuity was not exempt pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 44-13-100(a)(2)(E).

A. Whole Life Insurance

Appellant argues that limiting him to the $2,000.00 exemption for the cash surrender value of life insurance provided in O.C.G.A. § 44-13-100 violates the Supremacy Clause and Bankruptcy Clause of the United States Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the Georgia Constitution.[1] Appellant also urges that the cash surrender value may be claimed under O.C.G.A. ...


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