Del Carmen Molina v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
ORDER DISMISSING APPEAL. Closing Case. Signed by Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. on 4/25/2017. (pes) NOTICE: If there are sealed documents in this case, they may be unsealed after 1 year or as directed by Court Order, unless they have been designated to be permanently sealed. See Local Rule 5.4 and Administrative Order 2014-69.
United States District Court
Southern District of Florida
Angela Del Carmen Molina,
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Appellee.
Civil Action No. 16-24834-Civ-Scola
Order Dismissing Appeal
This matter is before the Court on pro se Appellant Angela Del Carmen
Molina’s appeal of the bankruptcy court’s denial of her motion to extend the
automatic bankruptcy stay pursuant to section 362(c)(3) of the Bankruptcy
Code. For the reasons that follow, Molina’s appeal is dismissed as moot.
This appeal arises out of a voluntary Chapter 13 bankruptcy case filed by
Molina on October 19, 2016. This was the fourth Chapter 13 bankruptcy case
filed by Molina since December 27, 2011. (Appellee’s Ans.; ECF No. 23, 10.) Her
third filing was dismissed on April 11, 2016 and then closed on May 12, 2016,
just five months prior to the filing of the instant bankruptcy petition. (Id. at 7.)
Appellee Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. purports to be a creditor, as a successor in
interest to Aurora Loan Services, LLC, which had obtained, in state court, a
final judgment of foreclosure on a mortgage it held on real property owned by
Molina. (Id. at 10.)
Ordinarily, an automatic stay is triggered by the filing of a bankruptcy
petition. However, because Molina filed her current Chapter 13 case less than
one year after her previous Chapter 13 case was dismissed, it is subject to the
repeat-filer provisions of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer
Protection Act of 2005 (codified in scattered sections of 11 U.S.C.). Section
362(c)(3)(A) of that act provides that, under these circumstances, the automatic
stay “with respect to any action taken with respect to a debt or property
securing such debt or with respect to any lease shall terminate with respect to
the debtor on the 30th day after the filing of the later case.” 11 U.S.C. §
362(c)(3)(A). Upon motion, however, the bankruptcy court may extend the stay
after notice and a hearing “if the party in interest demonstrates that the filing
of the later case is in good faith as to the creditors to be stayed.” 11 U.S.C. §
On October 25, 2016, Molina filed a motion to extend or impose the
automatic stay. (Bank. Dkt. ECF No. 13.) Wells Fargo opposed the motion and
Molina thereafter replied. (Bank. Dkt. ECF Nos. 25 & 26.) The Court then held
a hearing, at which it heard argument from the parties, and denied Molina’s
motion, finding “no cause to extend the automatic stay.” (Bank. Dkt. ECF No.
27.) Just over two weeks later, on December 2, 2016, the bankruptcy court
dismissed Molina’s case, with prejudice, for her failure to make preconfirmation-plan payments and for her failure to appear at the section 341
meeting of creditors. (Bank. Dkt. ECF No. 42.) Thereafter Molina filed a motion
to reinstate her case and then a motion for a rehearing and to reconsider the
denial of her motion to reinstate. The latter motion was also denied. While her
appeal of the order denying her motion to extend the stay was pending in this
Court, Molina also filed a notice of appeal, seeking review in the district court
of the bankruptcy court’s order denying her motion for rehearing of her motion
to reinstate her case. That appeal, Molina v. Neidich, is currently pending
before United States District Judge Kathleen M. Williams in Case No. 1:17-cv20876-KMW.
The Court finds that because Molina’s bankruptcy case has been
dismissed, her appeal of the order denying her motion to extend her stay is
moot. Section 362(c)(2)(B) states unambiguously that an automatic bankruptcy
stay ceases when the bankruptcy case is dismissed. 11 U.S.C. § 362(c)(2)(B);
see In re Lashley, 825 F.2d 362, 364 (11th Cir. 1987) (noting the need for a
debtor to obtain a stay pending appeal in order to prevent a creditor from
foreclosing on debtor’s property during the appeal); see also, e.g., In re De
Jesus Saez, 721 F.2d 848, 851 (1st Cir. 1983) (“[A]n automatic stay must
plainly terminate upon dismissal of the petition giving rise to it.”); In re
Lomagno, 320 B.R. 473, 478 (B.A.P. 1st Cir. 2005), aff’d, 429 F.3d 16 (1st Cir.
2005) (“[D]ismissal of the bankruptcy petition immediately terminates . . . the
automatic stay.”). Thus, any relief the Court could grant with respect to the
instant appeal would have no possible effect considering the ultimate
termination of any stay by reason of the bankruptcy court’s dismissal of
Molina’s appeal is therefore dismissed. The Clerk is directed to close
this case and any pending motions are denied as moot. Further, based on the
Court’s order, the need for oral argument has been obviated. The hearing
previously set for April 27, 2017 is thus canceled. Counsel for Wells Fargo is
directed to make their best effort to contact Molina, whether by telephone,
email, or otherwise, to inform her of the cancelation of the oral argument.
Done and ordered, at Miami, Florida, on April 25, 2017.
Robert N. Scola, Jr.
United States District Judge
Copies to via U.S. mail to:
Angela Del Carmen Molina
338 Falcon Avenue
Miami Springs, FL 33166
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