Hagan v. Imperial Auto Protection, LLC
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion for leave to appeal 2 is denied, and the appeal 1 is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. A separate Order of Dismissal is entered this same date. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on July 3, 2014. (MCB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
In RE: IMPERIAL AUTO
IMPERIAL AUTO PROTECTION, )
Case No. 4:14 CV 1000 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Richard Hagan’s motion for leave to
appeal a decision of the bankruptcy court. On April 17, 2014, Imperial Auto
Protection, LLC filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in the Eastern Division of
the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. That case
is assigned Cause Number 14-43062-659 and is pending before the Honorable
Kathy A. Surratt-States, United States Bankruptcy Judge. Hagan seeks to appeal
Judge Surratt-States’ May 13, 2014, denial of his motion to dismiss and for
sanctions, which Hagan acknowledges is an interlocutory order.1
28 U.S.C. § 158(a) empowers the district court with jurisdiction to hear
appeals from final judgments and orders and, with leave of the court, from
interlocutory orders and decrees entered by the bankruptcy court. When deciding
whether to grant a motion for leave to appeal, a court applies the standards found
in 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). In re Machinery, Inc., 275 B.R. 303, 306 (8th Cir. 2002).
Section 1292(b) instructs that the question involved be a controlling question of
law as to which there exists a substantial ground for difference of opinion
respecting the correctness of the bankruptcy court’s decision and a finding that an
immediate appeal would materially advance the ultimate termination of the
litigation. 27 U.S.C. 1292(b). “‘Leave to appeal from interlocutory orders should
be granted only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ because to do otherwise would
contravene the well-established judicial policy of discouraging interlocutory
appeals and avoiding the delay and disruption which results from piecemeal
litigation.’” In re Machinery, Inc., 275 B.R. at 306 (citing Abel v. Shugrue, 179
B.R. 24, 28 (S.D.N.Y. 1995)).
Here, Hagan has completely failed to satisfy the standards set forth in 28
Judge Surratt-States denied the motion on the record following a hearing and by written
Order dated June 6, 2014 [#5].
U.S.C. § 1292(b). Basically, he dislikes the bankruptcy court’s ruling that the
Chapter 11 filing was not made in bad faith so as to justify a dismissal of the
Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings or sanctions. Judge Surratt-States made this
determination after hearing the testimonial evidence, oral argument by counsel,
and having reviewed the parties’ written submissions and relevant Eighth Circuit
caselaw. This decision does not involve a “controlling question of law as to which
there exists a substantial ground for difference of opinion” as required by §
1292(b). Instead, Judge Surratt-States’ decision was made after she heard and
decided the relevant facts in light of her knowledge and oversight of the
bankruptcy proceedings. She then applied the law to those facts. That Hagan does
not like the result does not convert her decision into one that is immediately
appealable. If bankruptcy litigants were given permission to appeal every time the
bankruptcy court entered a ruling they didn’t like, the judicial policy discouraging
delay and piecemeal litigation would be completely frustrated, if not thwarted
entirely. This is simply not the type of important question of law or extraordinary
circumstance that justifies the granting of an interlocutory appeal.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion for leave to appeal [#2] is
denied, and the appeal [#1] is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
A separate Order of Dismissal is entered this same date.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 3rd day of July, 2014.
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