United States Bankruptcy CourtWestern District of Wisconsin
Cite as: 486 B.R. 466
Christopher M. Seelen, Trustee of the Douglas Lee Couillardand Deborah Mae Couillard Bankruptcy Estate, Plaintiff,v. Douglas Lee Couillard, Deborah Mae Couillard, andBank of America, N.A., Defendants
(In re: Douglas Lee Couillard and Deborah Mae Couillard, Debtors)Bankruptcy Case No. 12-11610-7Adv. Case No. 12-132
United States Bankruptcy CourtW.D. Wisconsin, Eau Claire Division
November 9, 2012
Christopher M. Seelen and Terri M. Smith, Ruder Ware, LLSC, Eau Claire, WI, for Plaintiff J. Bushnell Nielsen and L. Katie Mason, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., Milwaukee, WI, forDefendant Bank of America, N.A. Thomas S. Utschig, United States Bankruptcy Judge
Whether one is baking a cake, building a house, or recording a mortgage,sometimes even the slightest deviation from the directions can lead to catastrophe.Cakes don’t rise, buildings fall down, and . . . mortgages aren’t perfected.
In thiscase, a lender made a mistake in recording its mortgage and then attempted to fixthe problem. But for the debtors’ bankruptcy, the error might have been consideredinconsequential. However, the bankruptcy trustee believes that the mistakeinvalidates the lender’s mortgage as against a subsequent purchaser under statelaw and brought this adversary proceeding to avoid the mortgage pursuant to 11U.S.C. § 544(a). The lender has moved for summary judgment and the issuebefore the Court is whether, as a matter of law, the mortgage was properlyrecorded.
Yes, in the grand scheme of things, not quite as dramatic as a collapsing building,but nonetheless upsetting for the creditor who suffers such a fate. The trauma associatedwith poorly baked cakes, meanwhile, is proportionally related to the importance of theevent involved.
The motion for summary judgment was fully briefed. Also before the Court are the(continued...)