United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC as servicer for Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Argent Securities, Inc., Asset-Backed-Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-M1, Appellant,
Denae Marie Randolph and Ronda J. Winnecour, Standing Trustee, Appellees. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC as servicer for Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, as Trustee for Argent Securities, Inc., Asset-Backed-Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2006-M1, Appellant, Clyde W. Ransom, Betty Jean Ransom, and Ronda J. Winnecour, Standing Trustee, Appellees.
FLOWERS CONTI, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court upon a “Motion to Extend
Time to Move for Rehearing under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy
Procedure 8022, and Motion for Reconsideration and
Reargument” filed by Appellant Ocwen Loan Servicing,
LLC (“Ocwen”). Ocwen seeks reconsideration of a
Memorandum Opinion and Order issued by this court on March 2,
2018, denying Ocwen's appeal from two underlying
bankruptcy cases: In re Denae Marie Randolph, No.
15-10895 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2015); and In re Clyde W.
Ransom, et al., 15-10866 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 2015).
of background, Ocwen, a mortgage servicing company, filed
Notices of Post-Petition Mortgage Fees, Expenses, and Charges
(“PPFNs”) in each of the underlying bankruptcy
cases on April 4, 2016, and April 11, 2016. The bankruptcy
court observed that Ocwen had improperly charged a $400 legal
fee for “plan review” in both cases. Although
Ocwen agreed to remove the improper charges from the loans,
the bankruptcy court ordered Ocwen to produce the complete
loan histories to the Chapter 13 Trustee for review. That
order was entered onto the docket of both cases on July 26,
thereafter, Ronda J. Winnecour, the trustee in both cases
(the “Trustee”, and collectively with the debtors
in each case, the “Appellees”), reported to the
bankruptcy court that Ocwen had only provided partial loan
histories, rather than the complete loan histories required
by the court's orders. In an attempt to enforce its July
26, 2017 order, the bankruptcy court held a hearing on August
31, 2017, and issued supplemental orders on August 15, 2017,
September 1, 2017, and December 21, 2017. The last of these
orders directed Ocwen and its counsel to appear at an
additional hearing to “show cause for and justify their
failure to comply” with the court's previous
orders. Rather than comply, Ocwen filed a Notice of Appeal in
each case on January 4, 2018.
Memorandum Opinion and Order dated March 2, 2018, this court
rejected each of Ocwen's appeals. The court held that
Ocwen was not entitled to an appeal as of right pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1) because the bankruptcy court's
December 21, 2017 order did not satisfy the requirements for
finality under § 158(a)(1). The court also declined to
exercise its discretion to grant leave of appeal under 28
U.S.C. § 158(a)(3) because Ocwen had failed to identify
a controlling issue of law, an appeal would not materially
advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, and
exceptional circumstances warranting the need for immediate
review did not exist.
March 29, 2018, Ocwen filed the instant motions seeking an
extension of time to move for rehearing and reconsideration
of the March 2, 2018 order. Appellees have responded to each
motion. This matter is now ripe for review.
Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8022 states that,
“[u]nless the time is shortened or extended by order or
local rule, any motion for rehearing by the district court or
BAP must be filed within 14 days of entry of judgment on
appeal.” Fed.R.Bankr.P. 8022. Once this deadline has
passed, a motion to extend the time for rehearing may only be
granted if the “failure to act was the result of
excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9006(b)(1).
motion for rehearing under Bankrupty Rule 8022
“functions, essentially, like a traditional motion for
reconsideration.” Lau v. Bank of America
(In re Lau), 684 Fed.Appx. 235, 239 (3d Cir. 2017). The
purpose of such a motion is “to correct manifest errors
of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence.” Max's Seafood Café v.
Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir.1999). A motion for
reconsideration must therefore rely on one of three grounds:
(1) an intervening change in the law; (2) the availability of
new evidence; or (3) the need to correct clear error of law
or prevent manifest injustice. N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA
Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995). A
motion for reconsideration is not properly grounded in a
request for a district court to rethink a decision it has
already rightly or wrongly made. Williams v.
Pittsburgh, 32 F.Supp.2d 236, 238 (W.D. Pa. 1998). As
such, litigants are cautioned to “ʻevaluate
whether what may seem to be a clear error of law is in fact
simply a point of disagreement between the Court and the
litigant.'” Waye v. First Citizen's
Nat'l Bank, 846 F.Supp. 310, 314 n.3 (M.D. Pa. 1994)
(quoting Atkins v. Marathon LeTourneau Co., 130
F.R.D. 625, 626 (S.D.Miss. 1990).
court entered final judgment in each of the pertinent
bankruptcy appeals on March 2, 2018. Pursuant to Rule 8022 of
the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Ocwen had until
March 16, 2018 to file a motion for rehearing or a request to
extend the time for rehearing. The instant motion was not
filed until March 29, 2018, approximately two weeks beyond
that deadline. Consequently, Ocwen must demonstrate that its
failure to seek rehearing in a timely manner was the result
of “excusable neglect” before this court may
grant Ocwen's motion. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9006(b)(1).
determine excusable neglect, the court must consider four
factors: ‘(1) the danger of prejudice to the
non-movant; (2) the length of the delay and the impact on
judicial proceedings; (3) the reason for the delay, including
whether it was within the reasonable control of the movant;
and (4) whether the movant acted in good faith.'”
Martinez v. City of Reading Prop. Maint. Div., No.
16-1290, 2018 WL 1290087, at *7 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 13, 2018). The
determination is “an equitable one, taking account of
all relevant circumstances surrounding the party's
omission.” Ragguette v. Premier Wines &
Spirits,691 F.3d 315, 324 (3d Cir. 2012).
“Although inadvertence, ignorance of the rules, or
mistakes construing the rules do not usually constitute
‘excusable' neglect, it is clear that
‘excusable neglect' . . . is a somewhat
‘elastic concept, ' and is not limited strictly to
omissions caused by circumstances beyond ...