- Case Type:
- Case Status:
- No. 23-20047 (5th Circuit, Nov 07,2023) Not Published
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held a district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a pro se appellant's motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal.
- Procedural context:
- As the facts section below reflects, the appellant in this case, acting pro se, filed myriad motions for reconsideration and appeals to the district and circuit courts from rulings in a bankruptcy case disallowing his claims. This particular appeal concerned the district court's denial of the appellant's motion to extend the deadline to file an appeal to the Fifth Circuit from one of the district court's rulings. At the Fifth Circuit, the appellant stated the issues on appeal concerned the merits of the disallowance determinations underlying his appeal, while the appellee contended the only appellate issue was whether the district court abused its discretion in denying the motion to extend the appellate deadline. The Fifth Circuit agreed with the appellee's framing of the issue and liberally construed the pro se appellant's brief to address that issue.
- Porter Development Partners LLC and 18 related entities filed voluntary chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions in March and April 2015 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. In October 2019, Appellant Wayne M. English, filed claims in several of the debtors' cases based on an investment he made in one of the debtor entities. Chapter 7 Trustee Lowell T. Cage, the appellee in this appeal, objected to the claims. English did not respond to the objections. The bankruptcy court granted the claim objections in May 2020 and disallowed the claims. The court then denied English's motion to reconsider. English did not appeal the disallowance orders. Instead, in July 2020, English filed new proofs of claim in the same debtors' cases based on the same investment. The trustee objected in September 2020, English responded, and the bankruptcy court entered orders disallowing the July 2020 claims in October 2020 and April 2021. The bankruptcy court then denied English's motion to reconsider and English timely appealed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court's disallowance of English's July 2o2o claims in December 2021, concluding res judicata barred those claims. The district court then denied English's motion for reconsideration on March 10, 2022. English's deadline to appeal was April 11, 2022. English filed a pro se notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that was docketed on April 12, 2022, and a motion for an extension of time to appeal on April 15, 2022. In the motion to extend the deadline to appeal, English argued his notice of appeal actually arrived at the district court before the filing deadline but the clerk could not find it, and he should not be penalized for the late filing. The district court denied the motion to extend the deadline via an order dated December 1, 2022, and thus the notice of appeal filed on April 12 was late. This led the Fifth Circuit, acting sua sponte, to dismiss English's appeal for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and then to deny English's motion for reconsideration. Not to be deterred, English also moved the district court to reconsider its December 1, 2022 order denying the motion to extend time to appeal, which the district court denied. He then appealed the district court's December 1, 2022 order to the Fifth Circuit.
- Wiener, Willett, and Douglas
IN RE: JOHN FLISS
Summarizing by Shane Ramsey
3584 in the system
10 Being Processed