Belser v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC (In re Belser)

Citation:
Belser v. Nationstar Mortgage, (In re Belser), BAP No. NH 14-065, --- B.R. --- (1st Cir. BAP Aug. 6, 2015)
Tag(s):
Ruling:
The BAP first determined that Nationstar had standing to object to the plan confirmation contrary to the debtor's reasoning that Nationstar lacked standing because it did not file a proof of claim before objecting to his plan. According to the BAP, there is no requirement in Section 1324(a) that in order to be considered a "party in interest" and object to a plan, the creditor must have already filed a claim. Second, the BAP affirmed the Bankruptcy Court's application of the informal proof of claim doctrine in determining that Nationstar's plan objection constituted a valid informal proof of claim because it put the amount of the claim into the public record and put the debtor on notice of the existence, nature and amount of its claim and arrearage. In light of the circumstances (i.e., the plan objection, the debtor's filing of a claim on behalf of Nationstar and Nationstar's subsequent filed claim), the BAP affirmed the Bankruptcy Court's ruling that the Nationstar's claim would not be disallowed on the grounds of timeliness. No ruling was made on the merits of the claim filed.
Procedural context:
The debtor appealed from the Bankruptcy Court's decision overruling the debtor's objection to the secured creditor's proof of claim as untimely as a proof of claim was not filed until after the bar date and in response to a proof of claim filed by the debtor on behalf of the secured creditor. The Bankruptcy Court determined that the debtor was on notice of the nature and amount of the claim in connection with the secured creditor's objection to the plan and its subsequent filed claim such that there was no basis to disallow the filed claim as untimely.
Facts:
The debtor filed a Chapter 13 plan and included provisions relating to a reverse mortgage held by Nationstar Mortgage, LLC. Nationstar objected to the debtor's proposed plan for a number of reasons, including the amount the debtor listed for the total secured claim and the pre-petition arrearage. The Plan was not confirmed. After the claims bar date, the debtor filed a proof of claim on behalf of Nationstar, asserting the same amounts for the total secured claim and pre-petition arrearage as in his Chapter 13 plan. Six weeks later, Nationstar filed its own claim with the Bankruptcy Court but did not indicate that it amended the debtor's filed proof of claim or otherwise reference its objection to the debtor's Chapter 13 plan. The debtor then filed an amended Chapter 13 plan, again asserting the same amounts for the total secured claim and pre-petition arrearage and Nationstar filed another objection. The Debtor then filed an objection to Nationstar's claim as untimely requesting to disallow the claim. Nationstar responded that its objection to the plan prior to the expiration of the claims bar date acted as an informal proof of claim and its filed claim acted as an amendment, making the claim timely.
Judge(s):
Hillman, Feeney, Finkle

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