Harold Rosbottom, Jr. v. Gerald Schiff, et al

Case Type:
Business
Case Status:
Affirmed
Citation:
18-30888 (5th Circuit, May 20,2019) Not Published
Tag(s):
Ruling:
Affirmed entry of final decree in individual chapter 11 case, over the objection of an incarcerated pro se debtor. Debtor appealed, claiming his due process rights had been violated because he was not allowed to present evidence telephonically. The Court of Appeals concluded that local rules prohibiting presentation of evidence telephonically did not violate the debtor's due process rights--the rules warned that pro se debtors received "no additional rights than any other litigant," and debtor presented no evidence of his claimed indigency to justify his decision not to retain counsel.
Procedural context:
Appeal of district court's order (2018 WL 2946400), affirming entry of a final decree in an individual's chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
Facts:
Individual filed chapter 11 on June 9, 2009. He was later incarcerated based on financial misdeeds underlying his bankruptcy case. A trustee was appointed on February 18, 2010, and confirmed a chapter 11 plan on May 1, 2013. Years later, the trustee sought to close the bankruptcy case and obtain entry of a final decree on October 31, 2016. After numerous continuances to accommodate the debtor's schedule, a hearing was held on March 23, 2017. By this time, the debtor was appearing pro se. The debtor was unable to attend the final decree hearing, but the bankruptcy court allowed him to access the hearing transcripts and file a post-hearing memorandum. There after, the bankruptcy court entered a final decree and denied as moot 13 separate motions filed by the debtor. The debtor appealed to the district court, arguing that: (1) the bankruptcy court violated his due process rights and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9029 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 83(a)(2) by excluding debtor's evidence under the bankruptcy court's local rule regarding telephonic appearances; (2) the bankruptcy court erred in denying debtor's motions as moot, including a motion to modify the chapter 11 plan; and (3) the bankruptcy court erred in concluding that the debtor lacked a cognizable interest in the outcome of his proposed motion to modify the confirmed chapter 11 plan. The district court affirmed on all grounds - 2018 WL 2946400 (W.D. La. 2018)
Judge(s):
Per Curiam (Haynes, Graves and Ho)

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