The U.S. Senate last month confirmed President Trump's nomination of Brett H. Ludwig as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, based in Milwaukee. The information below is taken from Ludwig's own submission to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This profile is similar to those WJI compiles for state judges in our "Evers' judges" and "Walkers' judges" series.
Name: Brett H. Ludgwig
Appointed to: U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
Confirmation date: Sept. 9, 2020. (Lifetime appointment)
Law School – University of Minnesota Law School
Undergraduate – University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
Recent legal employment:
2017-present – U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
1994; 1995-2017 – Associate and partner for Foley & Larner law firm, Milwaukee
2016-2017 – Adjunct professor, Marquette University Law School
Bar and court admissions:
Wisconsin State Bar, admitted 1994
Minnesota State Bar, 1998; gave up membership when he became a bankruptcy judge in 2017
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2014
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1995
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1995
United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, 2012
Professional, business, fraternal, scholarly, civic charitable or other organizations belonged to since law school graduation: None
Elsewhere Ludwig said he was on the board of the Mequon Thiensville Education Foundation from 2014-2017 and served as vice president in 2016-2017. He also served on the Board of the Fox Point Foundation from 2002-2006 and as Board president in 2006-2006.
Military service: None
Approximate number of cases provided over that have gone to verdict or judgment: As of February 1, 2020, I have presided over more than 11,900 bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings.
10 most significant cases:
In re Mendiola – This case involved a debtor who was a serial bankruptcy filer. He had filed five previous cases in the preceding five years, all of which were dismissed after he failed to comply with his obligations imposed by the Bankruptcy Code. In this latest case, the Chapter 13 Trustee and the debtor's mortgage creditor, U.S. Bank N.A., requested extraordinary relief to prevent further abuses of the bankruptcy system. The trustee asked the court to dismiss the case and bar the debtor from refiling for 180 days. The bank requested in rem relief from the automatic stay...to avoid having the automatic stay go into effect with respect to the mortgage property if the debtor filed yet another case. After an evidentiary hearing, I granted both motions.
In re Poivey – This Chapter 7 case involved several disputes over the treatment in bankruptcy of a debtor-wife's inheritance of mineral rights under oil and gas leases in Texas. The case involved two evidentiary hearings concerning whether the inherited mineral rights were excluded from the debtor's bankruptcy estate...and whether royalty payments from those mineral rights could be exempted by the debtor-wife's husband. I resolved the first issue in favor of the trustee and the second in favor of the debtors. The case ended with a discharge.
In re Bailey-Pfeiffer – This was a Chapter 13 case involving a recently divorced woman with several children and more than $870,000 in unsecured student loan debts, which she
wanted to repay through a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Section 109(e) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that only an individual with noncontingent, liquidated, unsecured debts of less than $394,725 can be a debtor under Chapter 13. Based on the plain terms of the statute, I ordered that the debtor must either convert the case to a chapter for which she was eligible or the case would be dismissed.
In re. Timothy Brennan – In this Chapter 11 case, a business owner sought bankruptcy protection to prevent the forced foreclosure sale of his former metal fabricating facility. After several contested hearings, I resolved a dispute over the valuation of the building and the debtor was able to confirm a Chapter 11 plan providing for the orderly sale of the real estate. The plan was ultimately confirmed, the real estate sold for $3.2 million, the secured creditor repaid, and the case closed.
In re. Bagg – This was a Chapter 7 case in which a creditor, who had been a neighbor of the
debtors, filed an adversary proceeding against them, seeking to have a debt arising from a state court tortious interference with contract judgment declared nondischargeable.... After a trial, I concluded that the creditor had not proved that the debt arose from a willful and malicious injury and thus ruled the debt was dischargeable.
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