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The Security National Bank of Sioux City, IA v. Vera T. Welte Testamentary Trust

Summarizing by Amir Shachmurove


Case Type:
Case Status:
11th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 21-13580 (11th Circuit, Feb 16,2023) Published
Appeal dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the order was not final because the bankruptcy court had not ruled on a remaining claim. The parties' post-appeal stipulation dismissing the remaining claim was improper under FRCP 41(a) and did not solve the lack of jurisdiction.
Procedural context:
Appeal from the district court affirmance of the bankruptcy court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on all claims except for one claim.
The Debtors commenced an adversary proceeding against the Defendant asserting several claims, including recovery of funds that had been frozen by the Defendant. The Debtors were granted summary judgment on all claims except for one claim, and the Defendant was ordered to transfer the funds. Without seeking certification under Rule 54(b), the Defendant appealed to the district court, which affirmed, and then appealed to the Court of Appeals. While the parties stipulated the Court had appellate jurisdiction, the Court required briefing on the jurisdictional issue. Prior to oral argument, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of the claim that had not been ruled on by the bankruptcy court. The Court rejected all arguments that it had appellate jurisdiction and dismissed. The flexible finality rule applicable in bankruptcy cases did not apply because this was an adversary proceeding. The practical finality doctrine did not apply because the Defendant would not suffer irreparable harm from the transfer of funds. Finally, the cumulative doctrine, which provides for jurisdiction in premature interlocutory appeals if the defect is cured, did not apply because the stipulation dismissing the remaining claim was not effective. FRCP 41(a) permits the voluntary dismissal of an action, not specific claims.
Pryor, Rosenbaum and Marcus

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