King Ramono RA Pharol Beaujayam v. Stumpf

Filing 11

ORDER by Judge Edward M. Chen Re 3 Motion to Dismiss Appeal. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service). (emcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/4/2011)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 KING RAMONO RA PHAROL BEAUJAYAM, No. C-11-3479 EMC 9 Appellant, v. ORDER RE MOTION TO DISMISS APPEAL 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 JOHN G. STUMPF, (Docket No. 3) 12 13 Appellee. ___________________________________/ 14 15 16 Appellee John Stumpf has filed a motion to dismiss the appeal of King Ramono RA Pharol 17 Beaujayam from the Bankruptcy Court’s dismissal of an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. 18 Docket No. 3. Appellant filed a late opposition to Stumpf’s motion to dismiss. Docket No. 6. 19 In Appellant’s opposition, he challenges the impartiality of this Court and requests that the 20 Court disclose “all financial and other conflicts of interest prior to proceeding in this case.” Opp. at 21 1. Construing this request as an affidavit of bias or prejudice and request for recusal pursuant to 28 22 U.S.C. § 144, the Court has authority under that section and Civil Local Rule 3-15 to screen such 23 requests in order to determine whether they are timely and legally sufficient. In the instant case, the 24 Court determines that Appellant’s affidavit is insufficient as it provides no allegations that would 25 qualify as circumstances warranting disqualification under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a) or (b). This Court has 26 no financial interest in the subject matter or parties to the proceeding within the meaning of § 27 455(d)(2). To the extent that Appellant requests that this Court recuse itself from the proceedings, 28 the request is denied. 1 Upon review of the merits of this matter, it is apparent that, without further order from the 2 Bankruptcy court, this Court does not currently have jurisdiction to hear this appeal. Appellant’s 3 notice of appeal is untimely, as it was filed thirty days after the first notice of appeal in this action. 4 Under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8002(a), “The notice of appeal shall be filed with the clerk within 14 days 5 of the date of the entry of the judgment, order, or decree appealed from. If a timely notice of appeal 6 is filed by a party, any other party may file a notice of appeal within 14 days of the date on which 7 the first notice of appeal was filed, or within the time otherwise prescribed by this rule, whichever 8 period last expires.” 9 In this case, the Bankruptcy Court filed its order granting the motion to dismiss the petition on May 25, 2011. See Docket No. 1. Under 8002, Appellant had until June 8 to file his notice of 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 appeal or, if another party to the case timely filed an appeal by that date, he had up to 14 days after 12 that appeal was filed to file his own appeal. Here, the first timely notice of appeal was filed on June 13 7, 2011, by another party, Mr. Stewart. See William-Bullock III Stewart v. John G. Stumpf, Case No. 14 11-3386 EMC, Docket No. 1. Appellant was therefore required to filed his notice of appeal no later 15 than June 21 (14 days after the filing of the first timely notice of appeal by Mr. Stewart). However, 16 Appellant did not file his notice of appeal until July 7, 2011.1 Docket No. 1.2 17 “[T]he failure to timely file a notice of appeal is a jurisdictional defect barring appellate 18 review.” In re Wiersma, 483 F.3d 933, 938 (9th Cir. 2007) (quotation omitted); see also In re 19 Delaney, 29 F.3d 516, 518 (9th Cir. 1994) (“Although rule 8002 ... incorporates some flexibility, we 20 strictly enforce its time provisions.”) (quoting In re Slimick, 928 F.2d 304, 306 (9th Cir. 1990)). 21 Appellant appears to argue that because his notice was filed 14 days after that of Dante De Torres, it 22 is timely. See Opp. at 11. However, Rule 8002 only provides for one 14-day extension beyond the 23 24 25 1 Even crediting Appellant’s argument that it was actually filed July 5, it would still be untimely. See Opp. at 11. 2 26 27 28 Appellant’s notice of appeal asserts that he is also appealing the Bankruptcy Court’s June 13, 2011 order denying a motion to appeal in forma pauperis (“IFP”) and its June 23, 2011 order regarding petitioning creditors’ disruptions of the clerk’s office. See Docket No. 1. However, the June 13 order does not apply to Appellant as he is not named in the order as an applicant for IFP status. Id. In addition, the June 23 order merely sets out procedures for petitioners to follow for future filings with the court and as such does not give rise to an appeal. See 28 U.S.C. § 158. 2 1 first timely notice of appeal. See 8002(a) (“[A]ny other party may file a notice of appeal within 14 2 days of the date on which the first notice of appeal was filed.”) (emphasis added). Thus, once Mr. 3 Stewart filed his notice on June 7, all other potential appellants were required to file their notices by 4 June 21. Mr. De Torres’ notice did not operate to further extend the appeal period. 5 Appellant’s argument that the clock should have restarted upon Mr. Stewart’s filing of an appellant to file his notice of appeal, at the latest, within 14 days of the first timely filed notice of 8 appeal. There is no other provision of the rule extending the appeal period by virtue of an amended 9 notice of appeal. Cf. 8002(b) (tolling time for appeal for all parties if any party files one of four 10 post-judgment motions with the Bankruptcy court). By the time Mr. Stewart filed his amended 11 For the Northern District of California amended notice of appeal on July 7, 2011, see Opp. at 14, is also unavailing. Rule 8002 requires an 7 United States District Court 6 notice of appeal, the clock had already run out for Appellant Beaujayam. See Law Works USA, Inc. 12 v. Walton, No. 10-60731-CIV, 2010 WL 3781387, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 22, 2010) (rejecting 13 appellants’ attempt to cure their untimely appeals by amending a timely appellant’s appeal to 14 include their names) (citing Nocula v. UGS Corp., 520 F.3d 719, 721-22 (7th Cir. 2008)). To allow 15 repeated extensions of the time to file an appeal based on one party’s amendments would be contrary 16 to the Ninth Circuit’s mandate that outside certain enumerated exceptions in Rule 8002, “[t]he time 17 provisions in Bankruptcy Rule 8002 are strictly enforced.” In re Nucorp Energy, Inc., 812 F.2d 582, 18 584 (9th Cir. 1987) (quotations omitted). 19 Finally, Appellant’s arguments with respect to the timeliness of notices of appeal filed by 20 other appellants, and whether they were properly served, see Opp. at 10-11, 14, are inapposite since 21 the only party to which Appellee’s motion to dismiss applies is Appellant Beaujayam. 22 The only way in which Appellant’s appeal would be timely is if he were granted an 23 extension pursuant to 8002(c), under which the Bankruptcy court has discretion to “extend the time 24 for filing the notice of appeal by any party.” 8002(c)(1). Appellant asserts that he filed such a 25 motion with the Bankruptcy court to extend time to file his notice of appeal. See Opp. at 14. 26 Indeed, the docket sheet submitted with Appellant’s Notice of Appeal, Docket No. 1 Exh. 4, 27 indicates that he filed such a motion in the Bankruptcy court on July 5, 2011 at that court’s Docket 28 No. 71. Pursuant to Rule 8002(c)(2), Appellant would have to demonstrate "excusable neglect" in 3 1 order to warrant an extension from the Bankruptcy court because he filed the motion 14 days after 2 the time for filing a notice of appeal had already expired. See 8002(c)(2) (“A request to extend the 3 time for filing a notice of appeal must be made by written motion filed before the time for filing a 4 notice of appeal has expired, except that such a motion filed not later than 21 days after the 5 expiration of the time for filing a notice of appeal may be granted upon a showing of excusable 6 neglect.”) (emphasis added). Beaujayam’s motion for an extension. Since the Bankruptcy court has yet to rule on Appellant’s 9 motion for an extension of time, this Court cannot consider the instant appeal. Only the bankruptcy 10 court, not the district court or bankruptcy appellate panel, may extend the time for filing the notice 11 For the Northern District of California The Bankruptcy court’s docket sheet indicates that the court has never ruled on Appellant 8 United States District Court 7 of appeal.” 10 A. Resnick & J. Sommer, Collier on Bankruptcy ¶ 8002.09 (16th ed. 2011). If the 12 Bankruptcy court denies Appellant’s motion, his appeal will be untimely unless he appeals the 13 denial and can show that the Bankruptcy court’s decision was an abuse of discretion. See In re 14 Cahn, 188 B.R. 627, 629 (9th Cir. BAP 1995) (“The bankruptcy court's denial of a motion for 15 extension of time to file an appeal is reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard.”). If the 16 Bankruptcy court grants the motion to extend, Appellant will have 14 days from the entry of that 17 order to file his notice of appeal in this Court. 18 The fact that Appellant filed a motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal that 19 complies with Rule 8002(c)(2) does not, on its own, render his notice of appeal of the underlying 20 court orders timely. The Tenth Circuit has considered this issue directly and held: 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 “[T]he motion to extend [did not] automatically serve to extend the appeal time until such time as the bankruptcy court ruled on the extension motion. In order to qualify as a tolling motion, a pleading must seek ‘substantive, not merely ministerial or clerical, relief.’ Munden v. Ultra-Alaska Assocs., 849 F.2d 383, 387 (9th Cir. 1988). Under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8002(b), specific post-judgment motions act to toll the running of the time to appeal. As distinguished from motions to extend, motions that toll the time to appeal under Rule 8002(b) are those which seek to amend or add to the findings, or to alter or amend the judgment or to request a new trial or which seek relief from the judgment. See Rettig v. Peters (In re Peters), 191 B.R. 411, 415 (9th Cir. BAP 1996). A motion for extension of time is ministerial and does not qualify as a tolling motion.” 28 4 have expressly decided this issue, see In re Peters, 191 B.R. at 420 (“[W]e need not consider 3 whether the appellant's motion to extend the time for filing her notice of appeal should be construed 4 as a tolling motion.”), the Court finds the Tenth Circuit’s reasoning persuasive. Indeed, as the 5 District of Connecticut has noted with respect to the analogous Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 6 4(a)(5), finding that the mere filing of a motion to extend the time to file an appeal tolled the time to 7 appeal “would render superfluous the court's decision on the motion for extension of time to file a 8 notice of appeal.” Nyack v. S. Conn. State Univ., No. 3:03-CV-839 (TPS), 2007 WL 162723, at *2 9 (D. Conn. Jan. 17, 2007). Thus, absent the grant of an extension, Appellant’s appeal is untimely. 10 Accordingly, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7–1(b), the Court determines that this matter is 11 For the Northern District of California In re Higgins, 220 B.R. 1022, 1026 (10th Cir. 1998). While the Ninth Circuit does not appear to 2 United States District Court 1 appropriate for resolution without oral argument, and VACATES the hearing. The Court hereby 12 REMANDS this action to the Bankruptcy court pending its ruling on Appellant’s motion for an 13 extension of time to file a notice of appeal. 14 The Court also GRANTS Appellee’s Request for Judicial Notice of the docket reports in the 15 Bankruptcy Court and related appeals in this Court, Docket No. 4. See Fed. R. Evid. 201. As for 16 Appellant’s Request for Judicial Notice, Docket No. 8, the Court GRANTS the request as to 17 Exhibits 6 and 7, the Bankruptcy court’s orders. The Court DENIES Appellant’s other requests as 18 moot. 19 This order disposes of Docket No. 3. 20 21 IT IS SO ORDERED. 22 23 Dated: October 4, 2011 24 _________________________ EDWARD M. CHEN United States District Judge 25 26 27 28 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?