United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is one of several recent appeals filed by
pro se appellant Lundes Garrett seeking to challenge
and re-litigate various Orders issued by the bankruptcy court
arising out of his four underlying bankruptcy cases, two
Chapter 7 cases and two Chapter 13 cases. Appellant's
instant appeal was filed on April 27, 2017, and involves one
of his closed Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, namely, case number
5:11-bk-1800, M.D.Pa. (Doc. 1).
hearing was conducted in appellant's bankruptcy case
number 5:11-bk-1800, in which testimony was taken and
exhibits were submitted, the bankruptcy court issued a final
Order on May 17, 2011 granting appellee Chase Home Finance
LLC's (“Chase”) April 1, 2011 motion for
relief from the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. §362.
(Doc. 5, Doc. 8). In the instant appeal, appellant is
appealing the bankruptcy court's Order dated April 18,
2017 which denied his March 21, 2017 motion to vacate,
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b), that court's Order of May
is essentially now trying to challenge a bankruptcy court
Order initially issued almost six years ago in a case that
has been closed for three years. In fact, the Chapter 7
trustee entered his report of no distribution of assets on
August 4, 2011, and the trustee certified that
appellant's bankruptcy case had been fully administered.
Subsequently, appellant and his joint debtor wife, June
Garrett, who is not a party herein, received their Chapter 7
bankruptcy discharge on October 20, 2011. Appellant's
stated bankruptcy case was closed after being fully
administered on April 18, 2014 when the bankruptcy court
entered the final decree.
with his instant appeal, appellant filed a motion for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis indicating that he has
no income, $400 in the bank, and two older vehicles.
10, 2017, appellant filed his designation of the items to be
included in the record on appeal and an amended designation
on May 23, 2017. (Doc. 4).
1, 2017, appellant filed his statement of the issues to be
presented on appeal as directed by the court. (Doc. 4). After
being granted an extension of time, appellant filed his brief
in support of his appeal on August 29, 2017. (Doc. 13). Chase
filed its brief on September 28, 2017. (Doc. 16). Chase also
filed a motion to supplement the record and a designation of
additional items to be included in the record with an
Appendix on September 28, 2017, (Doc. 17, Doc. 18, Doc. 19),
and the court granted the motion on October 27, 2017. (Doc.
21). Appellant's appeal is now ripe for disposition.
on the foregoing, the court will AFFIRM the
bankruptcy court's Order dated April 18, 2017, and
DENY appellant's appeal. (Doc.
JURISDICTION AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
court has appellate jurisdiction over the bankruptcy
court's April 18, 2017 Order pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§158(a)(1) (The district court has “jurisdiction
to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and
decrees” of a bankruptcy court). See In re
Michael, 699 F.3d 305, 308 n.2 (3d Cir. 2012)
(“[A] district court sits as an appellate court to
review a bankruptcy court.”).
court in Forever Green Athletic Fields, Inc. v.
Dawson, 514 B.R. 768, 778 (E.D.Pa. 2014), discussed the
legal standard regarding appeals of bankruptcy court orders
Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8013 provides
that a reviewing court “may affirm, modify, or reverse
a bankruptcy judge's judgment, order, or decree or remand
with instructions for further proceedings.” Fed. R.
Bankr.P. 8013. In our review, we are governed by traditional
standards of appellate review and accordingly review a
bankruptcy court's legal determinations de novo,
independent of that court and without deference to its
analysis and conclusions of law. See American Flint Glass
Workers Union v. Anchor Resolution Corp., 197 F.3d 76,
80 (3d Cir. 1999); see also Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8013.
We review its factual findings, whether based on oral or
documentary evidence, for clear error, and its exercise of
discretion for abuse thereof. In re Trans World Airlines,
Inc., 145 F.3d 124, 130-31 (3d Cir. 1998). Mixed
questions of fact and law must be broken down and reviewed
under the applicable standard. See In re Montgomery Ward
Holding Corp., 326 F.3d 383, 387 (3d Cir. 2003). We
review a bankruptcy court's dismissal of a bankruptcy
case as a bad faith filing for abuse of discretion. In re
SGL Carbon Corp., 200 F.3d 154, 159 (3d Cir. 1999).
“[a] factual finding is clearly erroneous if the
district court is firmly convinced, based on all of the
evidence, that the bankruptcy court made a mistake.”
Id. (citation omitted). The district court