Needler v. Casamatta (In re Miller Automotive Group, Inc.)

Needler v. Casamatta (In re Miller Automotive Group, Inc.), Case No. 14-6047 (8th Cir. B.A.P. August 12, 2015)
Section 350 clearly provides statutory authority to reopen a closed case and there is no requirement that a bankruptcy court must expressly retain jurisdiction when dismissing a case in order to reopen it at a later time. Based upon the record and evidence presented, the Bankruptcy Court acted fairly, reasonably, without bias, and did not abuse its discretion in ordering disgorgement of fees and imposing other sanctions on Appellant Needler.
Procedural context:
Appeal from order of the bankruptcy court of the Western District of Missouri imposing sanctions against Appellant Needler and subsequent order denying motion to reconsider.
Debtor's chapter 11 case was reopened on the motion of the United States Trustee to accord relief to the debtor after receipt of a written complaint concerning the conduct of Appellant Needler in the representation of the debtor. After the case was reopened, the U.S. Trustee filed a motion to compel disgorgement of fees, subsequently an amended motion added a request for imposition of sanctions due to Needler's conduct throughout the chapter 11 case. After submission of numerous memorandum and an evidentiary hearing, the bankruptcy court denied Needler's fee application and granted the U.S. Trustee's motion for disgorgement and other sanctions including prohibition from filing and withdrawal of electronic filing privileges.
Schermer, Saladino and Shodden (Bankruptcy Judges)

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