In re Rosenfeld

Case Type:
Case Status:
16-2439 (6th Circuit, Oct 06,2017) Not Published
The Court of Appeals affirmed the bankruptcy court's ruling that Joel Rosenfeld did not have standing to bring a claim under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 727 since Amy's debts to him were non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 523, eliminating any personal stake Joel had in Amy's obtaining a general discharge. A generalized grievance was insufficient to confer standing upon Joel where he had no concrete or particularized injury.
Procedural context:
The bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed Joel Rosenfeld's adversary complaint. 535 B.R. 186 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2015). The District Court affirmed (558 B.R. 825 (E.D. Mich. 2016). The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion.
The Rosenfelds were involved in a lengthy divorce that culminated in an 11-day trial. Debtor Amy Rosenfeld was granted primary physical custody of their 3 minor children. Joel later obtained an order requiring Amy to vacate the marital home due to a mold problem. Joel moved to hold Amy in contempt when she and the children returned to the marital home. Amy filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Joel filed an adversary action pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Sec. 727, alleging various false statements, undervaluing or failing to explain the loss of Amy's engagement ring, failing to disclose self-employment income and failing to disclose repayment of a loan from Amy's father. The bankruptcy court issued a show cause order to Joel because he had not alleged he was a creditor, and if he was, any debts would be non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 523(a)(5) or (15). Joel filed a claim and argued that he had standing because a contingent claim for attorney fees was dischargeable, and i) all creditors; ii) the judicial system; and iii) the people of the United States had an interest in denying Amy a discharge. The bankruptcy court dismissed the adversary, finding Joel did not have standing because any debts arising from the divorce would be non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. Sec 523(a)(15).
Boggs, Batchelder and Bush; opinion by Bush

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