- Jenkins v. Simpson, Case No. 14-1385 (4th Cir. April 27, 2015) (published opinion)
- The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a meeting of creditors that was not continued by announcement at the meeting, or by a subsequent filing, of the time and place for the continued hearing, as required by Bankrtupcy Rule 2003(e), was concluded. Accordingly, a trustee's complaint objecting to a debtor's discharge that was to be filed under an extended deadline by 60 days after the conclusion of the meeting was not timely when filed on the 69th day after a meeting that was not properly continued. In short, a trustee may not continue a creditor's meeting indefinitely.
- Procedural context:
- The bankruptcy court granted summary judgment on the trustee's complaint objecting to the debtor's discharge. On debtor's appeal the district court affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision. On debtor's further appeal, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings.
- Trustee had obtained an extended deadline to file a complaint objecting to a debtor's discharge until 60 days after the conclusion of the creditor's meeting. At a continued meeting, trustee's counsel announced that the meeting was again continued but did not announce a time and place for the continued meeting nor file any statement noticing the continued hearing. Without reconvening the meeting, the trustee filed his complaint on the 69th day after the last meeting. The bankruptcy court entered summary judgment against the debtor, who appealed. The sole question on appeal before the Fourth Circuit was whether the complaint was timely. The court found that the issue hinged on a determination of when the creditor's meeting was concluded. Because the trustee's counsel had not continued the meeting to a specfic date, as required by Rule 2003(e), or even reconvened the meeting, the court held that the meeting had been concluded. In reaching its decision, the court looked not only to the plain language of Rule 2003(e) but also to decisions of its sister circuits applying Rule 4003(b)(1) as to when a meeting was concluded for purposes of the deadline for objecting to exemptions. The 4th Circuit Court held that a creditor's meeting that was not properly continued as required by Rule 2003(e), was concluded, in accord with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While it stopped short of adopting a bright line per se rule, it rejected the case by case analysis used by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Before Motz, Keenan and Thacker, Circuit Judges. Opinion written by Judge Motz in which Judges Keenan and Thacker joined.
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