Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Bankruptcy
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Appellant attempted to appeal two bankruptcy court orders to the district court by filing a single notice of appeal. The district court struck the notice of appeal as violating the local bankruptcy court rule. The Eighth Circuit held that, although Local Bankruptcy Rule 8001(A) was valid, the district court erred by treating the rule as a jurisdictional requirement without providing appellant an opportunity to cure the defect by filing separate notices of appeal for each order and paying the accompanying fees. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Briggs v. Rendlen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The bankruptcy appellate panel affirmed the bankruptcy court's orders granting a motion to dismiss an adversary proceeding; denying a motion for an extension of time to file a motion to reconsider and for rehearing; and denying a motion to declare that plaintiffs have a right to appeal as a right or to extend the time to appeal. The panel held that plaintiffs failed to show excusable neglect under Bankruptcy Rule 8002(d)(1)(B), and thus the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to appeal out of time. The panel also held that, because plaintiffs did not file a motion of the type listed in Rule 8002(b)(1), nor a motion for extension of time in which to file a notice of appeal under Rule 8002(d)(1)(A), the period for appealing the dismissal order expired without a timely appeal being filed. Finally, the court held that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to declare that plaintiffs appeal was timely. View "Conway v. Heyl" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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After the trustee discovered that debtor had withdrawn over $30,000 from an account more than one year prior to entering bankruptcy and had placed the cash in a home safe, the trustee objected to debtor's amendment of his schedules to reflect the cash as exempt. The bankruptcy court overruled the objection and held that the Bankruptcy Code did not grant the court the authority to bar an amendment to claimed exemptions based on bad faith. The bankruptcy appellate panel affirmed. The Eight Circuit affirmed and held that Law v. Siegel -- which held that bankruptcy courts could use neither statutory nor inherent sources of broad, general authority to contravene specific statutory provisions -- abrogated Kaelin v. Bassett -- which held that the bankruptcy court has the discretion to deny the amendment of exemptions if the amendment is proposed in bad faith or would prejudice creditors. Therefore, Law precluded the denial of an amendment to a schedule of claimed exemptions based on debtor's bad faith. View "Rucker v. Belew" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel dismissed debtor's appeal of the bankruptcy court's order granting the trustee's motion to approve her proposed sale of certain assets to the bank. The panel held that the sale authorized by the bankruptcy court could not be undone and thus the appeal was moot. Furthermore, the panel held that debtor did not have a financial stake in the bankruptcy court's order and thus lacked standing to appeal the order. View "Belew v. Rucker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed the bankruptcy court's grant of the Banks' motion for summary judgment challenging the validity of the other parties' liens and asserting the priority of its own lien in debtor's 2017 crops. In this case, it was difficult to determine from the record precisely what the bankruptcy court considered in reaching its conclusion that no genuine issues of material fact existed which would preclude it from granting the Bank's motion for summary judgment, or the analysis the bankruptcy court undertook. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further findings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)'s directive to specify the reasons for its ruling, or in the alternative, to reconsider the issue on the existence of the Solberg Farms partnership. View "Zaitz Trust, LLC v. Bremer Bank, NA" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Bankruptcy
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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Committee's appeal of the bankruptcy court's confirmation of debtors' voluntary reorganization plan. The panel held that the bankruptcy court did not err in determining that debtors' plan satisfied the equal-treatment rule and was proposed in good faith. In this case, the right to participate in the private placement was not "treatment for" a claim under 11 U.S.C. 1123(a)(4); the right to participate in the private placement was consideration for valuable new commitments; and thus the plan did not violate the equal-treatment rule. The panel also held that, despite any reservation the panel might have regarding the good faith question, it has not been left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed. View "Ad Hoc Committee of Non-Consenting Creditors v. Peabody Energy Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed the bankruptcy court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the bankruptcy trustee. The Bank challenged whether the terms of the judgment were fulfilled in transferring debtor's ex-wife's interest to debtor. The panel held that there was no genuine issue of fact regarding debtor's divorce which resulted in the trustee's ability to rely upon the judgment as a purchaser for value. Even if the bank was successful on this point, it would not serve to repair the defect in its mortgage. In this case, the state court determined that debtor would retain the real estate that was already titled in his name, and the only interest the ex-wife held was her marital interest which vested upon dissolution of the marriage. View "Kunkel v. CUSB Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy, Family Law
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The bankruptcy trustee filed suit against parties involved in the sale of a bankruptcy estate's assets under 11 U.S.C. 363. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy appellate panel's decision affirming the bankruptcy court's dismissal of the trustee's claims and denial of leave to amend the second amended complaint (SAC). The court held that the trustee's claims were impermissible collateral attacks on an earlier order approving the sale in bankruptcy that was consummated under section 363. In the alternative, the trustee was not entitled to relief from the sale order, because the amended complaint failed to state a plausible claim for fraud on the court. The court also held that the trustee was not entitled to relief from the sale order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60, and the district court properly denied leave to amend the complaint based on futility. View "Fulmer v. Fifth Third Equipment Finance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed the bankruptcy court's orders dismissing debtor's adversary proceeding and denying his post-dismissal motion. The panel held that the bankruptcy court properly dismissed debtor's adversary proceeding as a collateral attack on prior rulings. In this case, the post-dismissal motion repeated the same arguments already made by debtor. View "Raynor v. Walker" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed the bankruptcy court's order directing the entry of judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiffs' complaint to determine the dischargeability of their claims against defendants. In this case, plaintiffs' appeal was premised on the bankruptcy court's perceived error in not giving preclusive effect to the state court default judgment. However, the court held that the issue was no longer before the bankruptcy court despite the bankruptcy court's passing reference to the state court default judgment. Therefore, the panel did not reach either of the issues raised by plaintiffs. The panel held that, by withdrawing their motion for partial summary judgment and submitting the matter to the bankruptcy court on an agreed record–without renewing their claim that the state court default judgment should be given preclusive effect–plaintiffs abandoned that claim. View "Abel v. Queen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy