- 2011 WL 1833240, No. 10-2306
- In Buchman, the Seventh Circuit rejected any suggestion that the completion of a judicial sale makes an appeal related to the sale equitably moot. The Court noted that even where it would be inequitable to undo a sale, litigation relating to the sale is not moot because the power of the judiciary to adjust the relationship between the parties is preserved notwithstanding the sale (e.g., here, a case or controversy remained in existence between the former owner of the property and the party that caused the sale of the property). Reaffirming the validity of In re UNR Industries, Inc., 20 F.3d 766 (7th Cir. 1994), and noting its split on this issue with other Circuits, the Court indicated that its rejection of equitable mootness applied broadly to bankruptcy auctions, confirmed and implemented plans of reorganization, and foreclosure sales.
- Procedural context:
- Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
- Pre-bankruptcy, the United States commenced a foreclosure action against the owner of three parcels of property, relating to debts owed to the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. Buchman, the owner-mortgagor, filed for bankruptcy protection while the foreclosure suit was pending, and the United States responded by moving for relief from the automatic stay. The stay was lifted and the sale proceeded. At an auction that was advertised and “well-attended,” the parcels sold for $322,000. Buchman appealed on various grounds, including inadequacy of price (he believed the value of the parcels was at least $513,000). The Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court in all respects, confirming that the sale was not vulnerable to attack on appeal.
- Easterbrook, Bauer, and Young
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