United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
ROBERT W. JAGER and MARGARET M. JAGER, Appellants,
INFIRST BANK and NORMA HILDENBRAND, Appellees.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER OF COURT
STEPHANIE L. HAINES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court on appeal from an interlocutory
order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania. That order, entered on February 13,
2019, by Bankruptcy Judge Jeffery A. Deller, denied
Appellants relief from a previous order of the bankruptcy
court that lifted an automatic stay authorized under 11
U.S.C. § 362(a) relating to Appellants encumbered real
properly. In re Jager, 597 B.R. 796 (Bankr. W.D.Pa.
2019). By order of The Honorable Kim R. Gibson entered on July
10, 2019, this appeal was stayed pending additional
proceedings in the underlying bankruptcy matter.
September 5, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court entered an order
dismissing the underlying bankruptcy case with prejudice
[Doc. 187 at Bankr. No. 18-760541-JAD]. Appellants'
motion for reconsideration of that order was denied by Judge
Deller on November 25, 2019 [Doc. 214 at Bankr. No.
December 4, 2019,  Appellants filed in this Court a motion
for an emergency stay of the sheriffs sale of the subject
property that is scheduled for December 5, 2019, in
Clearfield County, pending appeal of the Bankruptcy
Court's order denying Appellants' motion for
reconsideration of the order dismissing his bankruptcy case
with prejudice [Doc. 15].
Appellants' underlying bankruptcy case has been dismissed
with prejudice, their appeal from the interlocutory order
lifting the automatic stay in that case will be dismissed as
moot, and this case will be closed. Moreover, because
Appellants' motion for an emergency stay is not properly
before the Court, it will be denied.
January 31, 2012, Appellant Margaret M. Jager executed a
commercial promissory note whereby Appellee InFirst Bank
agreed to lend to Ms. Jager the sum of $300, 000 for the
purchase of real property. [Doc. 110, p. 2 at Bankr. No.
18-760541-JAD]. To secure the loan, Mrs. Jager granted to
InFirst Bank a mortgage on certain real property and
improvements [Id.]. The property is an approximately
5 5-acre tract of land comprised of two separate tax parcels
with several buildings, including a two-story farmhouse, a
two-bedroom ranch-style house and a barn [Id.].
September 15, 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection ("PA DEP") issued an order
requiring that action be taken with respect to approximately
400 tons of manure located on the property [Id.].
Additional orders were entered by the Commonwealth Court of
Pennsylvania on July 27, 2016, and February 1, 2017,
directing that remediation occur [Id.]. The February
1 order also found Appellants in contempt of their
court-ordered responsibilities [id.].
26, 2015, InFirst Bank confessed judgment against Mrs. Jager
[Id.]. On November 3, 2016, Mrs. Jager married Mr.
Jager, and on November 18, 2016, Mrs. Jager transferred the
property to herself and Mr. Jager as tenants by the
entireties [Id.]. InFirst Bank subsequently sought
to execute judgment by scheduling a sheriffs sale, which was
enjoined by Mrs. Jager's filing of a chapter 7 bankruptcy
case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern
District of New York [Id.]. On May 25, 2018, InFirst
Bank was granted relief from the automatic stay by the New
York Bankruptcy Court, and a sheriffs sale was scheduled for
August 2, 2018 [Id. at 3].
30, 2018, Appellants commenced the underlying chapter 11
bankruptcy proceeding in the Western District of Pennsylvania
Bankruptcy Court. Following an evidentiary hearing, Judge
Deller entered an order lifting the automatic stay as to the
subject property under 11 U.S.C. § 362 [Doc. 79 at
Bankr. No. 18-760541-JAD]. Appellants filed a motion for
reconsideration. Following another hearing, Judge Deller
denied the motion for reconsideration on February 13, 2019
[Doc. 110 at Bankr. No. 18-760541-JAD]. Appellants then filed
the pending appeal from that interlocutory order with this
28, 2019, a hearing was held before Judge Deller in the
underlying bankruptcy matter. On July 2, 2019, Judge Deller
granted Appellants sixty days to remediate certain
environmental issues identified by the PA DEP [Doc. 166 at
Bankr. No. 18-70541-JAD]. Appellants were advised that if the
PA DEP determined that they had failed to remediate the
issues, Appellants' underlying bankruptcy case would be
dismissed with prejudice [Id.]. In light of Judge
Deller's order, Judge Gibson stayed the pending appeal
from the interlocutory order on July 10, 2019 [Doc. 12].
September 5, 2019, Judge Deller entered an order dismissing
the underlying bankruptcy case with prejudice based on
Appellants' failure to completely remediate the
environmental issues as required by the July 2, 2019, order
[Doc. 187 at Bankr. No. 18-70541-JAD]. A hearing on
Appellants' motion to reconsider that order was held on
November 15, 2019, following which Judge Deller denied the
motion on November 25, 2019 [Doc. 214 at Bankr. No.