In re: Makowka

Makowka owns a home in a Pike County, Pennsylvania, planned community and, in 2005, fell behind on her homeowners’ association dues. In 2008, the Association obtained a default judgment of $2,436. As additional dues went unpaid, the Association sued again in 2010 and obtained another default judgment, worth $3,599.08. A writ of execution and attachment issued. A sheriff’s sale of Makowka’s property was scheduled for September 2011. Days before the sale, Makowka filed a Chapter 13 petition. In her proposed bankruptcy plan, Makowka moved to avoid the Association’s claims under 11 U.S.C. 522(f), which releases a debtor from obligations imposed by judicial liens and non-possessory, non-purchase money security interests. Although Makowka acknowledged that the Uniform Planned Community Act granted the Association a self-executing statutory lien on her residence for unpaid dues, she claimed that part of that lien had been extinguished because the Association failed to foreclose within the statutory period of three years. To the extent the claims represented fees due before September 2008, Makowka contended, it had obtained dischargeable money judgments. The Bankruptcy Court denied Makowka’s motion. The district court affirmed. The Third Circuit vacated, concluding that the district court relied on the wrong state precedent and that the Association did not enforce its statutory lien on Makowka’s residence when it pursued actions in debt. View "In re: Makowka" on Justia Law