Gloria Penn v. Mary Viegelahn (In re Gloria Penn)

Case Type:
Case Status:
Reversed and Rendered
18-51055 (5th Circuit, Oct 09,2019) Not Published
The Chapter 13 debtor's appeals were dismissed as MOOT because the bankruptcy court's orders denying confirmation of her chapter 13 plan and dismissing the petition were not final, appealable orders. Debtor effectively manufactured appellate jurisdiction by taking the easy way out, rather than (a) seeking certification of the interlocutory appeal; or (b) going back to the drawing board and negotiating a confirmable plan with her creditors and the chapter 13 trustee. Because the district court lacked appellate jurisdiction, the Court declined to address the merits of the appeal.
Procedural context:
Appeal from the Western District of Texas, which held that it had appellate jurisdiction and AFFIRMED the bankruptcy court's orders denying confirmation and dismissing the bankruptcy petition.
The Chapter 13 debtor filed a plan which, among other things, sought to retain all of her tax refund. The form Chapter 13 plan adopted in the Western District of Texas (which is authorized by Bankruptcy Rule 3015.1) allows debtors to retain only $2,000 of the debtor's tax refund as disposable income. The Chapter 13 Trustee objected to the non-standard plan provisions. The Debtor filed a motion to retain the entire tax refund to use toward home repairs. At a hearing on the motion and plan confirmation, the Court denied the motion and warned the debtor that her plan could not be confirmed as drafted. The Court gave the debtor multiple options, including a continuance to amend her plan, conversion of the case to chapter 7 or dismissal of the case so that she could keep the tax refund. The debtor asked for dismissal of the case, which meant denial of confirmation. The debtor appealed , contending that the Chapter 13 form did not comply with the Bankruptcy Code.
Clement, Elrod, Duncan (per curiam)

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