Justia U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Bankruptcy

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In these consolidated appeals, debtor filed numerous, frivolous challenges to the settlement and the district court entered a pre-filing injunction barring him from filing any new civil actions in the district court without court permission. At issue is whether the injunction encompasses appeals to the district court from bankruptcy court. The court concluded that, as written, the injunction does not cover those appeals with sufficient clarity, and that the district court thus erred in striking these three appeals for violating the pre-filing injunction. Nonetheless, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of two of the three appeals (adversary proceeding numbers 14-10024 and 14-10043) for failure to state a claim, and remanded for the district court to resolve the third appeal (number 14-10014). View "US ex rel. Yelverton v. Federal Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment dismissing her discrimination complaint on the ground of judicial estoppel. The district court found that plaintiff failed to disclose this suit and related administrative proceedings on the schedules she filed with the bankruptcy court. In exercising its decision to invoke judicial estoppel, the district court relied on the court's opinion in Moses v. Howard University Hospital. In Moses, the court wrote: “every circuit that has addressed the issue has found that judicial estoppel is justified to bar a debtor from pursuing a cause of action in district court where that debtor deliberately fails to disclose the pending suit in a bankruptcy case.” Moses held that a debtor could not avoid judicial estoppel if he omitted his pending cause of action but reported “pending lawsuits that, unlike the instant case, reduced the overall value of his assets through wage garnishment.” The district court held that plaintiff was in the same position as the plaintiff in Moses. The court concluded that the district court properly invoked judicial estoppel to grant summary judgment in favor of defendants, and the court affirmed the judgment. The court noted that other courts of appeals have evaluated the frequent contentions of bankruptcy debtors in light of the Supreme Court’s observation – in a case that did not involve inadvertence or mistake – that “it may be appropriate to resist judicial estoppel when a party’s earlier position was based on inadvertence or mistake.” The court saw no need to take sides in this debate. View "Marshall v. Honeywell Tech. Sys." on Justia Law
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This dispute stemmed from a house that Debra Stevenson and her son Eugene Smith both own. After Stevenson refinanced her mortgage twice and then filed for bankruptcy, HSBC filed suit in Bankruptcy Court seeking equitable subrogation, which permits courts to declare that the owner of a mortgage (HSBC) has the same rights as an earlier-in-time owner of another mortgage (Wells Fargo). Only Stevenson signed the paperwork for the second refinancing with HSBC and Smith refused to sign because he thought the interest rate was too high. HSBC went ahead with the mortgage in full without Smith's signature. The court affirmed the Bankruptcy Court's conclusion that HSBC is entitled to equitable subrogation and rejected Stevenson and Smith’s claims that the mortgage is invalid under D.C. and federal lending laws. The court affirmed the judgment. View "In Re: Debra M. Stevenson" on Justia Law

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Hope 7 entered into bankruptcy in 2009 and RIASO was Hope 7's largest creditor. The bankruptcy court subsequently approved the settlement of Hope 7's fraud-based claims against RIASO, approved RIASO's proof of claim against Hope 7, and directed the payment of funds from Hope 7's estate to RIASO. Hope 7 subsequently found additional evidence relevant to RIASO's alleged fraud and moved for relief of judgment under Rule 60(b) and asked the bankruptcy court to reopen its earlier orders. The court concluded that Hope 7 had not demonstrated that it had standing to challenge the bankruptcy court's settlement order or, with regard to the remaining claims, that the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in denying the Rule 60(b) motion for relief. The district court did not err in affirming the bankruptcy court's decision, and therefore, the court dismissed in part and affirmed in part. View "In re: Hope 7 Monroe Street Ltd." on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from the mortgage plaintiff carried on her New York house. In 2001, WaMu acquired the note and mortgage and then assigned it to Fannie Mae. Thereafter, plaintiff's home went into foreclosure, WaMu failed, and the FDIC became its receiver. In 2009, plaintiff brought this action against the FDIC, alleging that WaMu "owned and/or serviced the mortgage," and that it engaged in wrongful conduct in the foreclosure's aftermath. The district court sua sponte dismissed the complaint under Rule 12(b)(1) on the ground that plaintiff lacked standing. Plaintiff appealed and the FDIC argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal because plaintiff's notice of appeal was untimely. The court held that the district court's order ran afoul of Rule 4(a)(5)(C), which limited any extensions to thirty days, meaning that the last permissible day would have been the day before plaintiff filed her notice. The court agreed with plaintiff that the Rule 4(a)(5)(C) time limit was a claim-processing rule, not a jurisdictional bar, and that the FDIC forfeited its timeliness objection. The court reversed the decision of the district court and remanded for further proceedings. View "Youkelsone v. FDIC" on Justia Law