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In re Sumerell

United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
194 B.R. 818 (1996)


Sumerell (defendant) filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Sumerell filed a list of personal property with valuations. Sumerell claimed all the property as exempt, because the valuations fell under the statutory cap. Sumerell’s creditor, Wachovia Bank of South Carolina (Wachovia) (plaintiff), filed an objection to Sumerell’s personal-property exemptions and claimed that the assets were undervalued. In the primary example, Sumerell valued various household goods and furnishings at $2,135, based on the liquidated value of the property. Wachovia contended that the actual value of that property was $27,405 based on a fair market value. Wachovia and Sumerell each provided experts to testify as to the value of the personal property. Wachovia’s expert, Sterling, an auctioneer and appraiser, based the value of the property on what he thought he could sell the property for at auction with three weeks of advertising. Sterling also stated that he was willing to purchase all the various household goods and furnishings for $19,700 himself, because he was confident he could resell the property at a profit. Sumerell’s expert, Davis, a retail-furniture purchaser, testified that the suggested-retail value of the property was $19,850, but that at a quick liquidation sale, the property would only sell for about 20 percent of the retail value, or $3,900.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Parsons, J.)

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