Rosenberg v. DVI Receivables XIV, LLC, et al.

Rosenberg v. DVI Receivables XIV, LLC, — F.3d —, No. 14-14620 (11th Cir. April 8, 2016)
The Eleventh Circuit held that the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure govern cases “arising under” the Bankruptcy Code, even if tried in a federal district court. The court specifically ruled that the Bankruptcy Rules’ 14-day time limitation to file a post-trial renewed motion for judgment controlled over the Federal Rules’ 28-day time limitation. Accordingly, the appellate court reversed the district court in part and held that the defendants’ motion for judgment as a matter of law filed 28 days after entry of the final judgment was untimely filed. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s evidentiary rulings and, considering its ruling on timeliness, declined to reach the cross-appellants’ arguments on the merits.
Procedural context:
The parties cross-appealed from the district court’s granting of the defendants’ post-verdict motion for judgment as a matter of law on damages under 11 U.S.C. § 303(i)(2). The appellant/cross-appellee, Rosenberg, argued the motion for judgment as a matter of law was untimely filed under the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. The appellees/cross-appellants raised evidentiary issues and argued the district court’s reduced judgment still should be overturned on the merits.
The DVI entities, the appellees, originally filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the appellant, Rosenberg. The bankruptcy court dismissed the involuntary petition in 2009. Rosenberg subsequently filed an adversary complaint against the DVI entities to determine damages under 11 U.S.C. § 303(i), which allows a putative debtor to recover certain damages caused by creditors’ filing of an improper involuntary petition. The DVI entities moved to withdraw the reference with respect to Rosenberg’s § 303(i)(2) claims for actual and punitive damages. The district court granted this request, leaving only Rosenberg’s claims for attorney fees and costs with the bankruptcy court. The case proceeded to a jury trial, which resulted in a verdict awarding Rosenberg $1.12 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The DVI entities then filed their motion for judgment as a matter of law, arguing the evidence did not support the damages award. The district judge agreed, and entered an amended judgment for $360,000. This appeal followed.
Marcus, Jill Pryor, and Fay, Circuit Judges.

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