Meoli v. Mane USA
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 1 granting Plaintiff's motion for default; the Clerk of Court shall enter Judgment ; signed by Judge Robert J. Jonker (Judge Robert J. Jonker, ymc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BANKRUPTCY CASE NO. 09-06914
BANKRUPTCY CASE NO. 09-06916
SUREFIL PROPERTIES, LLC,
Chapter 7 Trustee,
ADVERSARY PROCEEDING NO. 11-80566
DISTRICT COURT CASE NO. 1:12-cv-733
HON. ROBERT J. JONKER
This case comes before the Court on Report and Recommendation from the Bankruptcy
Court for the Western District of Michigan (docket # 1-1). Plaintiff, Marcia Meoli, the Chapter 7
Trustee in this matter, filed a complaint to recover a preferential transfer Debtor made to Defendant
and seeking a money judgment in the amount of $ 14,573.40 plus costs of $ 293.00, for a total
judgment of $ 14,866.40, together with interest at the federal statutory rate from the date of the
Complaint until the judgment is paid in full. (docket # 1-1, at 2 (citing 11 U.S.C. §§ 547, 550.)
Plaintiff also seeks to disallow any and all claims filed by Defendant under 11 U.S.C. § 502(d) until
the judgment has been paid in full. (Id.) Defendant failed to answer the complaint, and Plaintiff
subsequently filed a motion for entry of a default judgment against Defendant. (Id.) The Bankruptcy
Court held a hearing on May 25, 2012, and again on June 21, 2012, to address Plaintiff’s motion,
but Defendant did not appear. (Id.) The Bankruptcy Court’s Report and Recommendation followed.
In its Report and Recommendation, the Bankruptcy Court concluded that default judgment
against Defendant was appropriate. The Bankruptcy Court declined to enter final judgment in this
matter, however, because it believed it did not have constitutional authority to enter a final judgment
in this matter and therefore submitted its Report and Recommendation to this Court for the entry of
judgment. Id. (citing Moyer v. Koloseik (In re Sutton), ___ B.R. ___, 2012 WL 1605591 (Bankr.
W.D. Mich. 2012) and Meoli v. Huntington Nat’l Bank (In re Teleservices Group, Inc.), 456 B.R.
318 (Bankr. W.D. Mich. 2011).
After reviewing the Bankruptcy Court’s Report and Recommendation and the record below,
the Court grants Plaintiff’s motion for default, adopts the Report and Recommendation, and enters
a money judgment in favor of Plaintiff against Defendant in the amount of $ 14,866.40, together with
interest at the federal statutory rate from the date of the Complaint until paid in full, as recommended
by the Bankruptcy Court. While the Court acknowledges the uncertainty Stern v. Marshall, ___ U.S.
___, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), created regarding the constitutional authority of bankruptcy courts to
enter final judgment in certain proceedings, the Court does not believe Stern affects the Bankruptcy
Court’s authority to enter a default judgment in this action. However, it is undisputed the Court has
jurisdiction to enter judgment in this matter, and the Bankruptcy Court’s reference of the matter to
the Court does not constitute reversible error. Cf. In re Burkman Supply, Inc., 217 B.R. 223, 223
(W.D. Mich. 1998) (“[T]he fact that the bankruptcy judge in this matter took the additional step and
submitted this matter to the Court by way of a report and recommendation does not constitute
reversible error.”). Therefore, in order to resolve this matter in an expeditious, efficient, and costeffective manner, the Court adopts the Bankruptcy Court’s recommendation to enter judgment in
favor of Plaintiff.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The Clerk of Court shall enter Judgment.
July 24, 2012
/s/ Robert J. Jonker
ROBERT J. JONKER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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