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In re Kool

submitted: April 5, 1994.

IN RE: KOOL, MANN, COFFEE & CO., F/D/B/A/ MOORE, OWEN, THOMAS & CO., DEBTOR; L. COLEMAN COFFEY; ROBERT BRUCE COFFEY, APPELLANTS
v.
MARINA MANAGEMENT SERVICES INC.; STATE DOCK INC.; PREMIUM CAPITAL RESOURCES CORP.; STEVEN C. GITTINGER, AS TRUSTEE



On Appeal From the District Court of the Virgin Islands. (D.C. Civ. No. 92-cv-00009).

Before: Becker, Nygaard, and Roth, Circuit Judges. (Motions Panel A)

Author: Becker

Opinion OF THE COURT

BECKER, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of United States Bankruptcy Judge William T. Gindin, sitting by designation in the Virgin Islands, dismissing an adversary action in a bankruptcy case.*fn1 The appeal was forwarded to this Court pursuant to the January 3, 1994 amendments to Rule 8001.1 of the Local Rules of the Bankruptcy Division of the District Court of the Virgin Islands. It appears, however, that the amended Local Bankruptcy Rule 8001.1 is in direct conflict with 28 U.S.C. § 158, at least in regard to appeals from decisions rendered by bankruptcy Judges sitting in the Virgin Islands by designation. Section 158 mandates that all decisions rendered by bankruptcy Judges must, in the first instance, be directed to the district court (or to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel in Circuits where such a panel has been created) and not to the Court of Appeals. Accordingly, it appears that the amended rule is ineffective to confer jurisdiction over the appeal on this Court and to that extent is invalid. The appeal must therefore be dismissed.*fn2

I.

The relevant subsections of 28 U.S.C. § 158 provide:

§ 158. Appeals

(a) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and decrees, and, with leave of the court, from interlocutory orders and decrees, of bankruptcy Judges entered in cases and proceedings referred to the bankruptcy Judges under section 157 of this title.*fn3 An appeal under this subsection shall be taken only to the district court for the judicial district in which the bankruptcy Judge is serving. . . .

(d) The courts of appeals shall have jurisdiction of appeals from all final decisions, judgments, orders, and decrees entered under subsections (a) and (b) of this section.

Amended Local Bankruptcy Rule 8001.1 provides:

Rule 8001.1 Manner of Taking Appeal

An appeal from a final judgment, order or decree of the Bankruptcy Division of the district Court of the Virgin Islands shall be to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Such appeal shall be taken in the same manner as appeals from other judgments, orders or decrees of the District Court of the Virgin Islands in civil actions, and shall comply with the applicable federal, Third Circuit, and local District Court Rules.

On its face, this rule is in conflict with ยง 158(a). It is axiomatic that any local rule that is inconsistent with ...


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