justia.com | May 5, 2015
Bullard v. Blue Hills Bank
||Opinion Date: May 4, 2015
|Areas of Law: Bankruptcy, Civil Procedure
After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Bullard submitted a proposed repayment plan. Bullard’s mortgage lender objected to the plan’s treatment of its claim. The Bankruptcy Court sustained the Bank’s objection and declined to confirm the plan. Bullard appealed to the First Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, which concluded that denial of confirmation was not a final, appealable order, 28 U.S.C.158(a)(1), but heard the appeal under a provision permitting interlocutory appeals “with leave of the court,” and agreed that Bullard’s proposed plan was not allowed. The First Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, finding that the order denying confirmation was not final so long as Bullard remained free to propose another plan. A unanimous Supreme Court affirmed. The relevant proceeding is the entire process of attempting to arrive at an approved plan that would allow the bankruptcy case to move forward. Only plan confirmation, or case dismissal, alters the status quo and fixes the parties’ rights and obligations; denial of confirmation with leave to amend changes little. Additional considerations—that the statute defining core bankruptcy proceedings lists “confirmations of plans,” but omits any reference to denials; that immediate appeals from denials would result in delays and inefficiencies; and that inability to immediately appeal a denial encourages the debtor to work with creditors and the trustee to develop a confirmable plan—bolster this conclusion.
Nancy Duffy McCarron, CBN 164780
Attorney, Real Estate Broker, BBB Arbitrator, CA Notary Public
Certified Forensic Loan Auditor, Property Manager
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