In re: BOBBY DALE LONG, Debtor. LYLE R. NELSON, Chapter 7 Trustee, Appellant,
BOBBY DALE LONG, Appellee.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN
DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA (D.C. No. 5:15-CV-01197-F)
R. Nelson, Attorney, Elisabeth D. Brown, Attorney, and Wyatt
D. Swinford, Attorney, of Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson,
P.C., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Appellant.
David Ezzell, Attorney, and Ben Ezzell, Attorney, of Ezzell
& Shepherd, PLLC, Enid, Oklahoma, for Appellee.
BRISCOE, EBEL and PHILLIPS, Circuit Judge
BRISCOE, Circuit Judge.
debtor in this Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, Bobby Long,
claimed an exemption in $60, 000 worth of life insurance
proceeds that he received as a beneficiary shortly prior to
filing his bankruptcy petition. The Trustee objected to the
claimed exemption, but the bankruptcy court overruled the
objection and sustained Long's claimed exemption. The
Trustee appealed to the district court, which affirmed the
bankruptcy court's decision. The Trustee now appeals to
this court. Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 158(d)(1), we affirm.
Long, the wife of debtor Bobby Dale Long (Long), held a life
insurance policy (the Policy) in the amount of $60, 000. Long
was the named beneficiary under the Policy. Donna Long died
on July 22, 2014. On October 8, 2014, Long received the
proceeds of the Policy in the form of a $60, 000 check. Long
cashed the check on December 11, 2014, depositing $56, 500 of
the funds into his savings account and $1, 500 into his
personal checking account, and retaining $2, 000 in cash.
November 4, 2014-after he received the life insurance check,
but before he cashed it-Long filed a voluntary Chapter 7
bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for
the Western District of Oklahoma. Long subsequently filed an
amended Schedule C claiming an exemption in and to the $60,
000 he received as beneficiary under the life insurance
19, 2015, the Trustee filed an objection to Long's
amended schedule, arguing that Long was not entitled to an
exemption in the life insurance proceeds. In response, Long
argued that "the life insurance policy payout . . .
[was] exempt pursuant to 36 Okla. Stat. §3631.1(A)
[sic]." Jt. App. at 44. The Trustee argued in reply that
section 3631.1(A) does not exempt insurance policy proceeds
that have already been paid out to a beneficiary.
October 8, 2015, the bankruptcy court issued a written order
sustaining Long's claimed exemption. The Trustee filed a
timely notice of appeal, electing to have the appeal heard by
the district court. On February 16, 2016, the district court
issued a written order affirming the bankruptcy court's
Trustee now ...