Phillips v. Gilman
Bullard did not undermine the automatic appealability of orders granting or denying homestead exemptions.
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- Case Type:
- Case Status:
- Affirmed in part and Reversed in part
- 16-55436 (9th Circuit, Apr 13,2018) Published
- The court had jurisdiction over the district court’s order affirming the grant of a homestead exemption. The bankruptcy court erred because it did not determine whether the debtor intended to continue to reside in the property in question. The court explained: physical occupancy on the filing date without the requisite intent to live there does not establish residency, which is necessary for a homestead exemption.
- Procedural context:
- Judgment creditors objected to the debtor's homestead exemption; the debtor did not oppose the objection, and the bankruptcy court sustained the objection. Debtor then amended his claimed exemption, and the creditors objected. Debtor's counsel moved for relief from the bankruptcy court's order sustaining the original objections, arguing that counsel mistakenly failed to oppose the objections and that constituted excusable neglect under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) (counsel argued that she failed to respond largely due to a calendaring error). The bankruptcy court granted the Rule 60(b) motion. The creditors renewed their objections to debtor's amended exemption, which the bankruptcy court denied. The creditors moved for reconsideration. The bankruptcy court denied the motion. The creditors appealed, and the district court affirmed. The creditors appealed, arguing the bankruptcy court erred in concluding the debtor established his claim to a homestead exemption of $100,000. The appellate court affirmed the Rule 60(b) order, but it vacated and remanded the homestead exemption order for further proceedings.
- Debtor filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. On his schedules, he listed two pieces of real property. Debtor claimed a homestead exemption in one of the properties, citing California law and stating that he had cancer and had not been able to work. Debtor indicated he was "in escrow" on a voluntary sale on the other property at the time of filing.
- Michael Daly Hawkins, Barrington D. Parker, Jr., and Sandra S. Ikuta