First Sec. Bank v. Creech – Case Brief Summary (Utah)

In First Sec. Bank v. Creech, 858 P.2d 958, 961 (Utah 1993), a farmer received a loan from the bank. The farmer declared bankruptcy. Id.

During bankruptcy, the farmer and the bank entered into a stipulation that set forth a new payment schedule and certain requirements for the farmer's business operation. Id.

The farmer failed to comply with the requirements in the stipulation. Id. Subsequently, the bankruptcy petition was dismissed. Id.

The bank attempted to foreclose. Id. The bank argued that the stipulation governed the case. Id. The farmer argued that the original loan documents signed before bankruptcy governed the case. Id. at 962.

The Utah court held that, under 349(b)(3), the original loan documents governed. Id. at 963, 965.

The court explained:

Under section 349(b)(3), the property of the estate revested in the elder Creeches upon the dismissal of their case. The question we must now decide is whether the divestiture of their property that occurred upon filing for bankruptcy and the revesting that occurred as a result of the bankruptcy dismissal affected the obligations of the elder Creeches under the terms of the original loan agreements.

We are of the view that any contract rights held by the elder Creeches under the original loan agreements became property of the estate when they filed for bankruptcy and were then revested in the elder Creeches when their bankruptcy case was dismissed. This view is supported by section 541(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, which defines "property of the estate" as all legal and equitable interests of the party filing for bankruptcy. Furthermore, the legislative history of this statute indicates that the scope of this definition is broad: "It includes all kinds of property, including tangible or intangible property." This provision has been interpreted as "all-inclusive," and "sweeping." One court has noted that "an interest is not outside its reach because it is novel or contingent or enjoyment must be postponed." Consistent with this broad definition of "property of the estate," courts generally have held it to include whatever contract rights the debtor holds when the bankruptcy petition is filed.

The contract rights held by the elder Creeches under the original loan agreements at the time of the bankruptcy filing included the right to continue to own and enjoy the collateral securing the loans so long as the terms of the loan agreements were fulfilled. When the elder Creeches filed for bankruptcy, this right and others held by the elder Creeches under the loan agreements became property of the estate. (Id. at 963-64.)