Law Offices of Michael R. Nevarez v. Monge (In the Matter of Monge)

Case Type:
Case Status:
No. 17-50319 (5th Circuit, Nov 02,2017) Not Published
Appellees’ opposed motion to dismiss appeal is GRANTED. Appellant’s motion for sanctions is DENIED. Appellant’s motion to supplement the record is DENIED.
Procedural context:
The bankruptcy court issued three orders . In one of those orders, the bankruptcy court decided that the Monges’ claim that Nevarez’s continued pursuit of the qui tam actions was not arbitrable. Accordingly, the bankruptcy court denied Nevarez’s motion to stay pending arbitration. Nevarez appealed three orders to the district court. Before the district court ruled on that appeal, however, the bankruptcy court issued a final judgment on all issues between the Monges and Nevarez. Nevarez appealed the final judgment to the district court in a separate action. Thus, there were two actions with nearly identical claims before the district court.. The district court exercised its discretion under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8003(b)(2) to consolidate the two lawsuits, and then it dismissed the appeal containing the three interlocutory orders and rendered final judgment in that action. The district court stated it intended to consider those interlocutory orders in the separate action with the final judgment, which remains pending. Nevarez appealed the dismissed action to this court. The Monges moved to dismiss the appeal before this court because the district court has not yet had an opportunity to rule on the merits of the issues.
Joe and Rosana Monge engaged the Law Offices of Michael R. Nevarez (“Nevarez”) to pursue various qui tam actions. Eventually, the Monges ran out of money and declared bankruptcy. Nevarez sued the Monges for unpaid legal bills. Upon discovering that Nevarez continued pursuing the qui tam actions without the Monges’ knowledge or consent, the Monges countersued in bankruptcy court and argued, inter alia, that Nevarez’s actions violated the automatic bankruptcy stay.

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