Mantiply v. Horne et al

Filing 72

Order re: 1 Bankruptcy Appeal filed by Mary Beth Mantiply: ForFor the reasons set forth above, the Court finds that Judge Shulman was not required to recuse himself from this case and did not err in denying the motion for relief from judgment. Accordingly, the order is AFFIRMED.. Signed by Senior Judge Charles R. Butler, Jr on 4/8/2014. (adk)

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IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  DISTRICT  COURT  FOR  THE   SOUTHERN  DISTRICT  OF  ALABAMA   SOUTHERN  DIVISION     In  Re:             )                 )   RICHARD  D.  HORNE  and         )   PATRICIA  NELSON  HORNE,       )               )       Debtors,       )               )   MARY  BETH  MANTIPLY,       )               )   CIVIL  ACTION  NO.  13-­‐00258-­‐CB-­‐B       Plaintiff/Appellant,     )               )   v.             )               )   RICHARD  D.  HORNE  and       )   PATRICIA  NELSON  HORNE,       )               )       Defendants/Appellees.   )     OPINION     For  the  second  time,  this  matter  is  before  the  Court  on  appeal  of  an  order  of   the  bankruptcy  court.    After  the  Court  entered  its  opinion  in  the  first  appeal,  but   before  entry  of  final  judgment,  appellant  Mary  Beth  Mantiply  filed  a  second  notice  of   appeal.    The  Court  granted  Mantiply’s  motion  to  consolidate  the  two  appeals.    In  the   current  appeal,  Mantiply  appeals  “from  the  Judgment  Order,  or  Decree  of  the   Bankruptcy  Judge  of  December  17,  2013.”    (Notice  of  App.,  R2.  3,  Bkt.  Doc.  388.)1     That  order  denied  Mantiply’s  “Motion  for  Recusal  Based  on  Newly  Discovered                                                                                                                   1  The  record  on  appeal  from  the  second  appeal  (Doc.  58)  will  be  designated   “R2.”.    The  record  on  appeal  from  the  first  appeal  (Doc.  1)  will  be  designated  “R.”.       The  abbreviation  “Bkt.  Doc.”  refers  to  the  cm/ecf  docket  entry  in  bankruptcy  court.     As  is  customary  in  this  district,  the  abbreviation  “Doc.”  refers  to  the  cm/ecf  docket   entry  in  this  Court.   Evidence  and  Motion  to  Supplement  the  Record  on  Appeal”  (R2.    862-­‐66,  Bkt.  Doc.   376)  and  Motion  to  Supplement  (R2.  867-­‐68,  Bkt.  Doc.  377.)   Procedural  History     In  2011,  Debtors  Richard  Horne  and  Patricia  Horne  filed  a  motion  for   sanctions  in  bankruptcy  court  against  attorney  Mary  Beth  Mantiply  for  violating  the   bankruptcy  code’s  automatic  stay  provision  and  for  violating  the  bankruptcy  code’s   discharge  injunction.    After  a  lengthy  period  of  discovery  and  an  evidentiary   hearing,  Judge  Shulman  found  in  favor  the  Debtors  and  against  Mantiply  on  both   counts.      On  January  24,  2013,  the  judge  entered  an  oral  motion  order  granting  the   motion  and  awarding  compensatory  damages,  punitive  damages,  and  attorney’s   fees.    Altogether,  the  sanctions  award  amounted  to  $81,714.31  ($40,000  in   compensatory  and  punitive  damages  and  $41,714.31  in  attorneys  fees).    Mantiply   appealed  (“the  first  appeal”).             While  the  first  appeal  was  pending,  Mantiply  filed  two  identical  motions   seeking  relief  from  judgment  in  bankruptcy  court  based  on  “newly  discovered   evidence.”    Judge  Shulman  denied  both  motions—the  first  because  of  the  divestiture   rule  and  the  second  because  it  was  based  on  Fed.  R.  Civ.  P.  62.1,  which  is   inapplicable  to  bankruptcy  courts.    Mantiply  subsequently  filed  a  motion  in  this   Court  seeking,  in  effect,  limited  remand  so  that  the  bankruptcy  court  could  consider   the  “newly  discovered  evidence.”    This  Court  declined  to  remand  the  motion  to  the   bankruptcy  court  for  its  consideration.    (Doc.  24.)    Remand  would  have  been  futile   because  the  motion  clearly  did  not  meet  four  of  the  five  requirements  for  relief  from     2   judgment  based  on  newly  discovered  evidence  set  forth  in  Fed.  R.  Civ.  P.  60(b).    (Id.   at  6-­‐9.)     Richard  Horne  died  during  the  pendency  of  the  first  appeal.    His  counsel  filed   suggestion  of  death  on  September  6,  2013.    (Doc.  31.)    On  October  28,  2014,  Patricia   Horne,  as  personal  representative  of  the  Estate  of  Richard  Horne,  was  substituted   for  Richard  Horne.    (Doc.  34.)    The  same  day,  the  Court  entered  issued  its  opinion   affirming  the  bankruptcy  court’s  award  of  sanctions.    (Doc.  35.)  Final  judgment  was   not  entered,  however.    By  separate  order,  the  Court  granted  the  Hornes’  motion  for   attorneys’  fees  on  appeal  and  set  a  deadline  for  submission  of  fee  request  and   supporting  documentation.    That  order  also  provided  Mantiply  an  opportunity  to   object  to  the  amount  of  the  fee  request.         On  November  12,  2013,  Mantiply  filed  a  pleading  in  this  Court  entitled   “Motion  for  Rehearing;  to  Alter,  Amend  or  Vacate  Opinion,  or  for  Relief  from   Opinion.”    (Doc.  37.)    Attached  to  the  motion  were  several  exhibits,  including   affidavits  from  Angela  Brunson,  Frank  Kruse,  Gus  Dimitreolos,  Paulene  Phillips  and   two  affidavits  from  Mary  Beth  Mantiply.    (Doc.  37-­‐1.)    The  motion  was  a  “bare   bones”  motion,  which  cited  no  law  or  facts  and  for  that  reason  was  denied.    (Doc.   41.)    On  November  27,  2013,  Mantiply  filed  a  pleading  entitled  “Objections  to   Attorney  Fees,  Amended  and  Renewed  Motion  for  Rehearing,  or  for  Relief  from   Opinion  and  Brief  in  Support  Thereof.”    (Doc.  42.)    Included  as  part  of  the  same   filing,  albeit  a  separate  document  was  a  “Motion  for  Recusal  Based  on  Newly   Discovered  Evidence  and  Motion  to  Supplement  the  Record  on  Appeal.”  (Doc.  42,  pp.     3   12-­‐  16)  and  attached  affidavits2  (Doc.  42,  pp.  17-­‐29).    In  the  order  addressing  the   claims  raised  in  that  pleading,  this  Court  observed  that  the  “Appellant  ha[d]  not   identified  any  legal  basis  for  asserting  th[e]  [recusal]  motion.”    Because  the  motion   most  closely  resembled  a  Rule  60(b)(2)  motion  for  new  trial  based  on  newly   discovered  evidence,  the  Court  held  that  it  should  first  be  presented  to  the   bankruptcy  court.    (Id.  at  4-­‐5.)           In  fact,  on  the  same  day  she  filed  the  above-­‐described  motions  in  this  Court,   Mantiply  filed  an  identical  “Motion  for  Recusal  Based  on  Newly  Discovered  Evidence   and  Motion  to  Supplement  the  Record  on  Appeal”  in  bankruptcy  court.  (R2.  862,  Bkt.   Doc.  376.)    In  addition,  Mantiply  filed  in  bankruptcy  court  a  separate  “Motion  to   Supplement  the  Record”  requesting  that  the  bankruptcy  court  supplement  the   record  on  appeal  with  a  transcript  of  a  March  25,  2013  hearing  to  set  the  bond   amount.3    (R2.  867-­‐68,  Bkt.  Doc.  377.)    On  December  17,  2013,  Judge  Shulman   entered  an  order  denying  the  motions.    This  appeal  (“the  second  appeal”)  followed,   and  because  final  judgment  had  not  been  entered  on  the  first  appeal  the  two  appeals   were  consolidated.   Mantiply’s  Newly  Discovered  Evidence  &  Judge  Shulman’s  Order                                                                                                                   2  These  are  the  same  affidavits  submitted  with  the  “Motion  for  Rehearing…”     (Doc.  37.)       3  Adding  confusion  to  the  chaos  of  this  record,  the  Motion  for  Recusal.  .  .  and   to  Supplement.  .  .”    requests  that  the  bankruptcy  court  supplement  the  record  on   appeal  “with  the  attached  affidavits”  (R2.  864,  Bkt.  Doc.  376),  but  no  affidavits  are   attached.    Instead,  those  affidavits  and  other  related  documents  are  attached  to  the   separate  “Motion  to  Supplement  the  Record  on  Appeal”  regarding  bond  hearing   transcript.    (R2.  869-­‐81,  Bkt.  Doc.  377-­‐1.)    The  affidavits  are  identical  to  those  filed   in  this  Court.     4     Mantiply’s  “Motion  for  Recusal  Based  on  Newly  Discovered  Evidence”  was   based  on  her  discovery  (made  less  than  three  weeks  prior)  that  Judge  Shulman’s   courtroom  deputy,  Angela  Jemison,  and  Chrissie  Carnley,  a  paralegal  for  one  of  the   Hornes’  attorneys,  are  sisters.    Carnley  had  submitted  an  affidavit  on  behalf  of  the   Hornes  attesting  that  she  had  served  copies  of  the  amended  petition  adding   Mantiply’s  clients  as  creditors  in  the  bankruptcy  case  on  Mantiply  via  United  States   mail.    Mantiply  denied,  under  oath,  having  received  them.4    According  to  the  motion,   “Judge  Shulman  made  factual  findings  that  Mrs.  Mantiply’s  testimony  as  to   numerous  issues  was  not  credible  and  resolved  almost  every  disputed  question  of   fact  and  inference  against  her.”    (R2.  863,  Bkt.  Doc.  376.)         The  motion  cited  no  Bankruptcy  Rule  or  Federal  Rule  of  Civil  Procedure.       After  reciting  the  recusal  standard  of  28  U.S.C.  §  455(a),  which  requires  that  a  judge   “shall  disqualify  himself  in  any  proceeding  in  which  his  impartiality  might   reasonably  be  questioned,”    Mantiply  argued  that  “observers  would  certainly   entertain  doubt”  about  Judge  Shulman’s  impartiality  because  he  “was  required  to   choose  between  the  conflicting  testimonies  of  his  Courtroom  Deputy’s  sister  and   Mrs.  Mantiply.”    (Id.  864.)    The  motion  did  not  seek  any  specific  remedy  other  than   recusal.     In  response,  Horne  argued  that  the  appeal  had  divested  the  bankruptcy  of   jurisdiction  to  consider  the  motion.    Alternatively,  Horne  pointed  out  the  motion’s     “multiple  factual  inaccuracies  and  incorrect  legal  assertions.”  (R2.  889,  Bkt.  Doc.                                                                                                                   4  There  were  a  total  of  six  amended  petitions,  one  for  each  of  Mantiply’s   clients.     5     379.)    Horne  also  filed  an  objection  to  the  motion  to  supplement  the  record  on   appeal.    (R2.  931,  Bkt.  Doc.  380.)     In  his  written  order  dated  December  17,  2013,  Judge  Shulman  found  that  the   bankruptcy  court  had  jurisdiction  to  “either  deny  a  Rule  60(b)  motion  or  indicate  its   opinion  that  the  arguments  raised  have  merit  when  a  case  is  on  appeal.”    (R2.  963,   Bkt.  Doc.  386)  (citing  Mahone  v.  Ray,  326  F.3d  1176  (11th  Cir.  2003)).    Next,  because   Mantiply  had  asserted  the  motion  for  recusal  as  one  based  on  “newly  discovered   evidence”  Judge  Shulman  addressed  it  as  a  motion  for  relief  from  judgment  based  on   newly  discovered  evidence  under  Fed.  R.  Civ.  P.  60(b)(2)  (adopted  by  Bankruptcy   Rule  9024)  and  applied  the  five  requirements  for  relief  from  judgment  based  on   newly  discovered  evidence:    “(1)  the  evidence  was  newly  discovered  since  trial;  (2)   the  movant  used  due  diligence  to  discover  the  evidence;  (3)  the  evidence  is  not   merely  cumulative  or  impeaching;  (4)  the  evidence  is  material;  and  (5)  the  evidence   is  such  that  a  new  trial  would  probably  produce  a  new  result.”    (Id.  964)  (citing   Waddell  v.  Henry  County  Sheriff’s  Office,  329  F.3d  1300,  1309  (11th  Cir.  2003)).     After  finding  that  the  first  two  requirements  were  met,  Judge  Shulman  noted   that  “[t]he  crux  of  Mantiply’s  argument  is  that  [the  judge]  was  biased  in  favor  of  the   evidence  presented  by  the  Hornes  that  Mantiply  was  served  with  the  amendments   that  added  her  clients  to  the  Hornes’  bankruptcy  schedules  due  to  the  familial   relationship  between  his  deputy  clerk  and  the  proponent  of  the  affidavit  to  prove   service  [Carnley].”    (R2.  964,  Bkt.  Doc.  386.)    Judge  Shulman  found  that  the  evidence   was  impeachment  evidence  because  it  was  directed  at  bias  and  related  to  Mantiply’s   credibility.    He  also  found  that  the  evidence  was  cumulative  because  “there  was     6   evidence  of  Mantiply’s  actual  knowledge  of  the  Hornes’  bankruptcy  almost  from  the   time  of  filing.”    (Id.)    Next,  the  judge  determined  that  the  evidence  was  not  material   because  “Mrs.  Carnley’s  affidavit  merely  outlined  the  routine  and  ministerial  actions   she  took  as  Mr.  Wynne’s  legal  assistant  to  serve  the  amendments.”  5  (Id.  965.)       Finally,  Judge  Shulman  concluded  that  the  outcome  of  the  hearing  would  have  been   the  same  even  if  the  relationship  between  Carnley  and  Jemison  had  been  raised  at   that  time  because  “[t]he  Court  was  not  biased  by  the  relationship.”    (Id.)      The  order     concluded  by  denying  “Mantiply’s  motion  for  recusal  based  on  newly  discovered   evidence  and  motion  to  supplement  the  record.”6    (Id.)   Issues  Presented     On  appeal,  Mantiply  argues  that  Judge  Shulman  applied  the  wrong  legal   analysis  to  her  motion  for  recusal  based  on  newly  discovered  evidence  and  that   application  of  the  correct  legal  standard  should  result  in  Judge  Shulman’s                                                                                                                   5  Furthermore,  Judge  Shulman  rejected  Mantiply’s  implication  that   something  nefarious  was  afoot  because  Carnley’s  testimony  was  not  verified  by  a   notation  of  service  on  the  docket  sheet.    Pursuant  to  Bankruptcy  Local  Rule  1009-­‐1,   “the  debtor’s  attorney  is  responsible  for  serving  amendments  on  creditors,  not  the   Clerk’s  office;  therefore,  there  is  not  docket  entry  regarding  service.”    (Id.  965)   6  The  order  did  not  specifically  address  the  motion  to  supplement  the  record   contained  within  the  motion  for  recusal,  nor  did  it  specifically  address  the   separately  filed  motion  to  supplement  the  record  with  the  bond  hearing  transcript.     It  did,  however,  refer  to  both  motions  by  docket  entry.    (Id.  967.)    Therefore,  the   order  applies  to  both  motions  to  supplement.     7   disqualification  and  vacatur  of  the  sanctions  award.7    In  response,  Horne  argues  that   the  bankruptcy  court  did  not  abuse  its  discretion  in  denying  the  recusal  motion.  8   Standard  of  Review     A  district  court  sitting  as  an  appellate  court  in  a  bankruptcy  appeal  reviews   the  bankruptcy  court’s  legal  conclusions  de  novo  and  reviews  findings  of  fact  under   a  clearly  erroneous  standard.    In  re  Sublett,  895  F.2d  1381,  1383  (11th  Cir.  1990).       Legal  Analysis     Introduction     In  retrospect,  the  legal  analysis  applied  by  the  bankruptcy  court  was  wrong;   however;  application  of  the  correct  legal  standard  leads  to  the  same  result.9     Confronted  with  a  “Motion  for  Recusal  Based  on  Newly  Discovered  Evidence”  in  a   matter  in  which  judgment  had  been  entered,  Judge  Shulman  analyzed  it  under  Rule   60(b)(2)  as  a  motion  for  relief  from  judgment  based  on  newly  discovered   evidence.10      Postjudgment  motions  to  vacate  based  on  violations  of  28  U.S.C.  §                                                                                                                   7  In  her  Statement  of  Issues  and  Standard  of  Review,  Mantiply  also  asserts   the  following  issue:    “Whether  the  Trial  Court’s  denial  of  Appellant’s  Motion  to   Supplement  was  error[?]”    (Appellant’s  Br.  3,  Doc.  66.)    Nowhere  in  her  brief  does   she  identify  which  motion  to  supplement  she  is  referring  to,  identify  the  error,  or   address  the  issue.    The  Court  deems  this  issue  to  be  abandoned.   8  Horne  also  points  to  a  number  of  issues  and  arguments  raised  in  Mantiply’s   motions  that  are  due  to  be  stricken  for  failure  to  cite  to  the  record  or  to  legal   authority.    Though  many  of  Horne’s  arguments  are  well  taken,  it  is  ultimately   unnecessary  to  resolve  them.     9  An  appellate  court  may  affirm  a  lower  court’s  decision  “’on  any  ground  that   appears  in  the  record  whether  or  not  that  ground  was  relief  upon  or  even   considered  by  the  court  below.  ‘”    Rowell  v.  BellSouth  Corp.,  433  F.3d  794,  798-­‐99   (11th  Cir.  2005)  (quoting  Powers  v.  United  States,  996  F.2d  1121,  1123-­‐1124  (11th   Cir.  1993)).     10Horne  argues  that  Mantiply  never  requested  relief  from  judgment  below   and,  therefore,  the  issue  cannot  be  considered  on  appeal.    This  argument  presents  a   close  question.  Horne  points  out  that  the  motion  filed  in  bankruptcy  court  sought     8   455(a)  fall  under  Rule  60(b)(6),  which  provides  relief  from  judgment  under  “upon   such  terms  as  are  just.”    Liljeberg  v.  Health  Serv.  Acquisition  Corp.,  486  U.S.  847,  863-­‐ 64  (1988).    On  appeal,  the  denial  of  a  Rule  60(b)  motion  is  reviewed  for  abuse  of   discretion.    Crapp  v.  City  of  Miami  Beach,  242  F.3d  1017,  1019  (11th  Cir.  2006).     The  Supreme  Court  has  held  that  “Rule  60(b)(6)  relief  is  [  ]  neither   categorically  available  nor  categorically  unavailable  for  all  §  455(a)  violations.”     Liljeberg,  486  U.S.  at  863.    Instead,  three  issues  should  be  considered  in  deciding   whether  a  judgment  should  be  vacated  when  a  violation  has  occurred:  “the  risk  of   injustice  to  the  parties  in  the  particular  case,  the  risk  that  the  denial  of  relief  will   produce  injustice  in  other  cases,  and  the  risk  of  undermining  the  public’s  confidence   in  the  judicial  process.”    Id.  at  864.    The  Court  rejects  Mantiply’s  claim  that  the   sibling  relationship  between  Judge  Shulman’s  courtroom  deputy  and  Ms.  Carnley   created  an  appearance  of  impropriety.    Even  though  affirmance  is  appropriate  on   that  ground  alone,  the  Court  also  considers,  and  rejects,  Mantiply’s  position  that  the   purported  violation  would  entitle  her  to  relief  from  judgment.         Judge  Shulman’s  Failure  to  Disqualify  Himself  Did  Not  Violate  §  455(a)     The  first  question  to  be  considered  is  whether  the  sibling  relationship   between  a  witness  and  a  courtroom  deputy  creates  an  appearance  of  impropriety.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               only  “recusal”  in  a  matter  no  longer  pending  before  the  bankruptcy  court.      Not  until   appeal  did  Mantiply  assert  that  the  judgment  should  be  vacated.  It  is  true  that  “an   issue  not  raised  [below]  and  raised  for  the  first  time  in  an  appeal  will  not  be   considered  [on  appeal].”    Access  Now,  Inc.  v.  Southwest  Airlines  Co.,  385  F.3d  1324,   1331  (11th  Cir.  2004).      The  motion  filed  below  addressed  only  grounds  for  recusal   under  28  U.S.C.  §  455(a),  did  not  address  the  point  of  a  motion  for  recusal  filed  post-­‐ judgment,  did  not  cite  any  rule  supporting  relief  from  judgment,  and  did  not  request   specific  relief  other  than  recusal.    Nevertheless,  Judge  Shulman  interpreted  the   motion  as  one  for  relief  from  judgment  and  addressed  it  as  such.    For  that  reason,   this  Court  will  also  address  the  merits  of  the  claim.     9   The  unequivocal  answer  is  that  it  does  not.    The  Court  has  neither  found,  nor  been   directed  to,  any  cases  in  which  recusal  was  sought  based  on  the  relationship   between  a  court’s  administrative  employee,  such  as  a  courtroom  deputy,  and  a   witness  or  party.    There  are,  however,  a  number  of  recusal  cases  involving  law   clerks,  who  are  members  of  chambers  staff  and  who  engage  in  substantive  work  on   cases  assigned  to  the  judge.    The  rule  that  emerges  from  those  cases  is  this:    If  a  law   clerk’s  relationship  with  an  attorney  or  party  in  a  case  creates  an  appearance  of   impropriety,  then  the  law  clerk  is  disqualified  from  working  on  that  case  but  the   judge  is  not.    See  Parker  v.  Connors  Steel  Co.,  855  F.2d  1510,  1523-­‐25  (11th  Cir.  1988)   (appearance  of  impropriety  based  on  totality  of  circumstances,  including  judge   giving  credit  to  law  clerk  in  opinion,  law  clerk’s  father  partner  in  law  firm  that   represented  defendant,  and  law  clerk  holding  hearing  in  judge’s  absence);    Hunt  v.   Am.  Bank  &  Trust  Co.  of  Baton  Rouge,  783  F.2d  1011  (11th  Cir.  1986)  (per  curiam),   (recusal  not  required  where  two  of  judge’s  law  clerks  accepted  offers  of   employment  from  law  firm  representing  defendants  while  case  was  pending  and   case  had  been  assigned  to  one  of  those  law  clerks  as  a  “ministerial”  matter  before   law  clerk  recused);  Crawford  v.  Dept.  of  Homeland  Security,  245  Fed.  Appx.  369  (5th   Cir.  2007)  (affirming  denial  of  recusal  motion  based  on  unsupported  speculation   that  law  clerk  previously  litigated  against  plaintiff  and  noting  that  “the  final   decisions  in  this  case  were  made  by  the  judge,  not  the  law  clerk”).    The  mere   existence  of  a  relationship  between  a  law  clerk  and  a  party  does  not  disqualify  the   judge;  rather,  disqualification  may  be  called  for  only  if  the  law  clerk  works  on  the   case,  i.e.,  makes  a  substantive  contribution  to  the  outcome  of  the  case.         10     A  courtroom  deputy  functions  as  an  administrative  employee  who  plays  no   substantive  role  in  the  decision-­‐making  process.    A  law  clerk’s  relationship  to  a   party  does  not  create  an  appearance  of  impropriety,  as  long  as  the  law  clerk   performs  no  substantive  work  on  the  case.    A  fortiori,  no  appearance  of  impropriety   arises  from  courtroom  deputy’s  relationship  to  a  party  because  that  courtroom   deputy’s  function  is  administrative,  not  substantive.    To  paraphrase  the  First  Circuit:     “Both  bench  and  bar  recognize,  moreover,  that  judges,  not  [courtroom  deputies]   make  the  decisions.”    In  re  Allied–Signal,  Inc.,  891  F.2d  967,  971  (1st  Cir.  1989).         Mantiply’s  reliance  on  United  States  v.  Kelly,  888  F.2d  732  (11th  Cir.  1989),  to   demonstrate  the  need  for  recusal  is  woefully  misplaced.    In  Kelly,  a  criminal  case   tried  nonjury,  the  judge’s  wife  and  the  wife  of  a  witness  for  defense  were  close   friends.    The  judge  asked  the  witness’s  wife  into  chambers  during  the  trial  where   she  told  him  that  her  husband  was  going  to  be  a  witness.    The  judge  informed  the   parties  of  the  friendship,  “expressed  profound  doubts”  that  he  should  continue,   “expressed  near  certainty”  that  he  should  recuse,  and  admitted  that  the  situation   had  caused  him  marital  disharmony.    Id.  at  745.  Nevertheless,  he  did  not  recuse   himself  for  fear  that  jeopardy  had  attached.    The  appellate  court  reversed,  holding   that  all  of  these  considerations—the  personal  relationship,  the  judge’s  expressed   discomfort,  and  his  decision  to  avoid  a  potential  double  jeopardy  claim—created  an   appearance  of  impropriety.    In  the  instant  case,  the  witness  had  no  relationship  to   either  the  judge  or  a  member  of  his  family.    For  that  reason  alone,  Kelly  is  inapposite.     In  further  support  of  her  argument  that  recusal  was  required  under  §  455(a),   Mantiply  cites  a  number  of  Judge  Shulman’s  rulings  and  other  case-­‐related  actions     11   that  she  contends  demonstrate  partiality.    This  Court  will  not  attempt  to  address  in   detail  this  exhaustive  list  of  complaints  of  unfair  treatment.    Suffice  it  to  say  that   “judicial  rulings  alone  almost  never  constitute  a  valid  basis  for  [a  recusal  motion   under  §  455(a)]  when  no  extrajudicial  source  is  involved.”    Liteky  v.  United  States,   510  U.S.  540,  555  (1994).    Because  the  Court  has  found  no  extrajudicial  bias  (i.e.,  the   sibling  relationship  between  the  courtroom  deputy  and  the  witness  did  not  create   an  appearance  of  impropriety),  the  evidence  of  unfavorable  rulings  or  treatment   cannot  support  the  recusal  argument.11     The  Decision  Would  be  Affirmed  Even  if  Recusal  Had  Been  Required     In  Liljeberg,  the  Supreme  Court  held  that  failure  to  recuse  when  recusal  is   warranted  is  not  necessarily  grounds  for  reversal.    Instead  a  court  must  consider  the   risk  of  injustice  to  the  parties,  risk  of  injustice  in  other  cases  and  the  risk  of   undermining  the  public’s  confidence  in  the  judicial  process.    Liljeberg,  486  U.S.  at   864.    Affirming  the  bankruptcy  judge’s  decision  would  not  reflect  adversely  on  any   of  these  factors  because  the  evidence  supporting  the  sanctions  award  was   overwhelming.    Mantiply  was  sanctioned  for  willful  violation  of  the  automatic  stay,   11  U.S.C.  §  362(a)(1),  and  for  willful  violation  of  the  discharge  injunction,  11  U.S.C.  §                                                                                                                   11  Mantiply  has  made  a  number  of  unsupported,  inflammatory  accusations   regarding  Judge  Shulman’s  handling  of  this  case.    This  Court  cannot  allow  them  all  to   go  without  remark.    On  pages  15-­‐16  of  her  brief,  Mantiply  argues  that  Judge   Shulman’s  partiality  was  apparent  because  he  ruled  too  quickly  on  Mantiply’s   February  20,  2013  motion  to  vacate  the  bankruptcy  judgment.    Because  a  ruling  was   entered  less  than  two  working  days  after  the  motion  was  filed,  Mantiply  concludes   that  “having  your  sister  running  the  Judge’s  docket  comes  in  quite  handy  for  a  legal   assistant,  her  boss  and  their  clients  when  the  collection  of  a  large  monetary   judgment  is  at  stake.”    (Appellant’s  Br.  16.)    Mantiply  concludes  her  brief  in  a  similar   vein,  requesting  that  “the  judgment  [  ]  be  vacated  and  the  case  remanded  to  an   impartial  Judge  and  preferably  one  without  a  fox  guarding  the  henhouse.”    (Id.  21.)       These  gratuitous  statements  serve  no  useful  purpose.     12   524(a).    Willful  violation  of  either  statute  occurs  when  a  party  is  aware  of  the   bankruptcy  and  intended  the  actions  that  violated  the  stay  or  discharge.    In  re  Hardy,     97  F.3d  1384,  1390  (11th  Cir.  1996).    Mantiply  admittedly  knew  of  the  Hornes’   bankruptcy  petition  shortly  after  it  was  filed.    With  that  knowledge,  she  filed  the   state  court  action  against  Richard  Horne  and  kept  that  action  alive  long  after  the   discharge  had  been  entered.    Indeed,  Mantiply  admits  that  she  violated  the   automatic  stay  and  seeks  reversal  only  as  to  violation  of  the  discharge  injunction.         Mantiply  argued  at  the  sanctions  hearing  that  she  lacked  the  knowledge   necessary  for  a  willful  violation  of  the  discharge  injunction  because  she  was  not   aware  that  he  clients  had  been  added  as  creditors  in  the  bankruptcy  petition.    In  her   current  appeal,  Mantiply  maintains  that  the  only  evidence  of  her  knowledge  is  the   allegedly  tainted  Carnley  affidavit  and,  therefore,  reversal  is  warranted.12      That   argument  ignores  crucial  law  and  evidence.    First,  knowledge  of  the  existence  of  the   bankruptcy  proceeding  is  adequate  to  put  a  creditor  on  notice  that  he  must  file  a   complaint  in  bankruptcy  contesting  dischargeability  or  be  forever  barred,  even  if  the   debtor  failed  to  list  him  as  a  creditor.    Byrd  v.  Alton  (In  re  Alton),  837  F.2d  457,  461   (11th  Cir.  1988)  (per  curiam).13    Therefore,  because  Mantiply  had  actual  knowledge   of  the  bankruptcy  petition,  notice  that  her  clients  had  been  listed  as  creditors  was   unnecessary.    Second,  there  is  indisputable  evidence  that  Mantiply  received  actual                                                                                                                   12  Carnley  testified  that  she  served  the  amended  petition  adding  Mantiply’s   clients  by  mailing  them  to  Mantiply.    Mantiply  denied  receiving  any  of  the  six  copies   Carnley  allegedly  mailed.       13  Mantiply  points  out  that  Alton  was  abrogated  by  Kontrick  v.  Ryan,  540  U.S.   443  (2004).    It  was,  however,  abrogated  on  a  completely  unrelated  issue,  i.e.,   whether  a  bankruptcy  court  had  discretion  to  consider  a  late-­‐filed  motion  to  extend   time  to  file  dischargeability  complaint.  With  respect  to  other  issues,  Alton  remains   good  law.     13   notice  that  her  clients  were  listed  as  creditors.      After  her  clients  were  added  as   creditors,  Mantiply  received  at  least  120  notices,  on  behalf  of  her  clients,  from  the   bankruptcy  court.    (Oct.  28,  2013  Opinion  3,  Doc.  35.)   Conclusion     For  the  reasons  set  forth  above,  the  Court  finds  that  Judge  Shulman  was  not   required  to  recuse  himself  from  this  case  and  did  not  err  in  denying  the  motion  for   relief  from  judgment.    Accordingly,  the  order  is  AFFIRMED.     DONE  and  ORDERED  this  the  8th  day  of  April,  2014.                               s/Charles  R.  Butler,  Jr.         Senior  United  States  District  Judge           14    

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