Now Updating
In re: SELIM AYKIRAN

Summarizing by Amir Shachmurove

Stuart v. Mendenhall (In re Mendenhall)

Citation:
Stuart v. Mendenhall (In re Mendenhall), Case No. 14-10943 (11th Cir. July 22, 2014) (unpublished) (per curiam).
Tag(s):
Ruling:
The Eleventh Circuit held that (i) the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in interpreting its order granting a 60 day extension of the Rule 4007(c) deadline to file a complaint to determine the dischargeability of debt to mean that the extension ran from the date of the original deadline under Rule 4007(c), (ii) the bankruptcy court properly denied Stan Stuart’s untimely motion for extension of the Rule 4007(c) deadline, because the bankruptcy court had no discretion to retroactively extend the deadline to file a complaint under Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code after it expired, as a bankruptcy court may only enlarge the time for filing a complaint to determine dischargeability if a motion for extension is filed before the time expires, and (iii) the bankruptcy court’s interpretation of its order did not violate Stan Stuart’s constitutional rights.
Procedural context:
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama affirming bankruptcy court's dismissal of Stan Stuart’s complaint to determine the dischargeability of debt in a chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding, reviewed de novo.
Facts:
Seven years prior to the petition date, Stan Stuart (“Stuart”) initiated an action in New York state court against Linda Ann Mendenhall (the “Debtor”), the chapter 7 debtor, alleging, among other things, legal malpractice and fraud. Stuart, proceeding pro se, sought an extension of the deadline to file a complaint to determine the dischargeability of debt under section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code one day prior to the deadline established by Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 4007(c). The bankruptcy court granted Stuart a “60 day extension,” although it was unclear whether the extension ran from the original deadline or the date of the order granting the motion (the “Extension Order”). Stuart obtained counsel, and his attorney filed a complaint to determine the dischargeability of debt (the “Dischargeability Complaint”) within 60 days of the entry of the order granting the motion to extend the Rule 4007(c) deadline. The Debtor moved to dismiss the Dischargeability Complaint as untimely. The parties filed memoranda briefing the legal issues, and Stuart’s brief incorporated a motion to extend the filing deadline nunc pro tunc in the event the court determined the Dischargeability Complaint was untimely. The bankruptcy court dismissed the Dischargeability Complaint as untimely because the extension was intended to run from the original Rule 4007(c) deadline, and Stuart did not seek clarification of the order granting the extension. The bankruptcy court further concluded that it had not authority to retroactively extend the Rule 4007(c) deadline after it had passed. Stuart filed a timely appeal of the order dismissing the Dischargeability Complaint, and the district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s ruling and determined that Stuart’s constitutional rights were not violated by the bankruptcy court’s interpretation of the Extension Order. The Eleventh Circuit concluded that the bankruptcy court did not err in interpreting its order granting an extension of the Rule 4007(c) deadline to file a complaint to determine the dischargeability of debt, as Stuart did not request a specific extension of time and Stuart did not seek clarification of the Extension Order. The Eleventh Circuit also agreed that the bankruptcy court properly denied Stuart’s untimely motion to extend the Rule 4007(c) deadline, recognizing that Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9006(b)(3) provides an exception to the general rule set forth in Rule 9006(b)(1) that the court may exercise discretion in enlarging deadlines, and as a result, the bankruptcy court may only enlarge the Rule 4007(c) deadline if a motion for extension is filed before the time expires. The Eleventh Circuit further held that even if Stuart had demonstrated excusable neglect, the bankruptcy court properly denied the untimely request for further extension of the Rule 4007(c) deadline. The Eleventh Circuit summarily rejected the argument that the bankruptcy court’s interpretation of the Extension Order violated Stuart’s constitutional rights or created an ex post facto law.
Judge(s):
Pryor, Martin and Rosenbaum, Circuit Judges.

ABI Membership is required to access the full summary. Please Sign In using your ABI Member credentials. Not a Member yet? Join ABI now - it is absolutely worth it!

About us in numbers

3360 in the system

3238 Summarized

2 Being Processed