Goldstein v. Stahl (In re Goldstein)

9th Cir. BAP Case No. CC-14-1346-TaDPa (March 3, 2015)
The Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel determined, as a matter of law, that the claims commenced post-petition accrued pre-petition; therefore, the claims were property of the estate. The TPP claims involved the interpretation of the legal significance of facts that existed pre-petition; therefore, the order entered by the bankruptcy court was affirmed.
Procedural context:
The bankruptcy court entered an order determining that the TPP claims were property of the estate and approving the chapter 7 trustee's compromise or sale to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo") of the four state court claims filed by William and Molly Goldstein ("Goldstein") in post-petition litigation. Goldstein appeals the bankruptcy court's order determining the post-petition state court claims were property of the estate.
In 2009 Goldstein applied for a loan modification with Wells Fargo, and Wells Fargo granted Goldstein a three-month trial period plan ("TPP") under the Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP"). Goldstein made their 3 payments timely, but never received a permanent loan modification agreement from Wells Fargo nor did Wells Fargo send a denial of the requested loan modification to Goldstein. Goldstein remitted 4 additional TPP payments, but stopped in May 2010. In August 2010, Goldstein filed chapter 7 bankruptcy to stop a pending foreclosure. Goldstein received their discharge, and the chapter 7 case was closed as a no asset case. Approximately 2 years after the chapter 7 case was closed, Goldstein commenced a suit against Wells Fargo in state court. Among the claims asserted, Goldstein asserted 4 causes of action related to the TPP. Among the defenses raised by Wells Fargo was the assertion that Goldstein lacked standing to raise the TPP claims because they were not scheduled in the chapter 7 bankruptcy and the claims remained an asset of the chapter 7 estate. The state court entered a tentative ruling requiring Goldstein to request the chapter 7 case be reopened. The chapter 7 case was reopened and the chapter 7 trustee filed a motion seeking approval of either a compromise or sale of the state court claims to Wells Fargo. Goldstein objected to the chapter 7 trustee's motion asserting (i) Wells Fargo did not formally deny their loan modification until 2 weeks post-petition; therefore, the TPP claim was not property of the estate and (ii) as of the petition date neither federal nor state law allowed borrowers to sue lenders for refusing HAMP loan modifications.
TAYLOR, DUNN, and PAPPAS, Bankruptcy Judges.

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