United States District Court, D. Maryland
William M. Nickerson Senior United States District Judge
pending before the Court is Ramona Brockett’s Motion
for Leave to Appeal. ECF No. 1. Also pending before the Court
is Brockett’s Motion for an Extension of Time. ECF No.
5. For the reasons set forth below, both motions will be
April 2, 2013, Brockett commenced a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case
in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of
Maryland, Bankruptcy Petition Number 13-15745-RAG. On October
10, 2013, the United States Trustee filed a complaint to deny
Brockett’s bankruptcy discharge, which commenced
Adversary Proceeding Number 13-587-RAG. The United States
Trustee’s Complaint accused Brockett of fraudulently
concealing and transferring assets prior to filing for
bankruptcy and making a false oath regarding those assets.
Trial was held on December 8, 2014. Brockett appeared pro
se and participated fully in the trial. At the
conclusion of evidence, the bankruptcy court requested that
the parties submit post-trial memoranda and return at a later
date to present closing arguments. Closing argument was
originally set for March 2, 2015, but was rescheduled twice,
once at Brockett’s request, and subsequently on the
bankruptcy court’s own initiative to May 4, 2015.
April 21, 2015, Brockett filed an emergency motion to
continue the May 4th hearing due to illness, which was
denied. The bankruptcy court reasoned that
[t]he evidence that confirms [Brockett]’s medical
condition reflects an inability to stand for long periods.
She will not have to stand in court. Moreover, she has
traveled to New York to receive the evaluations, journeys
which had to be at least as physically taxing as her court
appearance will be. Finally, her effort to guard her doctors
from further disclosure, while requesting a continuance on
the basis of their representations, is not becoming.
ECF No. 1-6 at 8. Brockett moved for reconsideration of the
emergency motion to continue and the bankruptcy court denied
that request, without comment. At the May 4th hearing, the
bankruptcy court ruled in favor of the United States Trustee
on the merits and in all respects. On May 7, 2015, the
bankruptcy court entered final judgment in favor of the
United States Trustee, denying Brockett’s discharge.
Brockett never appealed the bankruptcy court’s final
judgment. Brockett did, however, file a Notice of Motion for
Leave to File an Interlocutory Appeal (Interlocutory Motion)
on May 14, 2015. The Interlocutory Motion sought to appeal
the bankruptcy court’s orders issued April 29, 2015,
and May 1, 2015, denying Brockett’s requests to
continue the May 4th hearing. The bankruptcy court denied
Brockett’s Interlocutory Motion, reasoning that the
challenged orders became final upon the entry of final
13, 2015, Brockett filed a motion titled
“Defendant/Debtor’s Motion for Request for Relief
from a Judgement or Order Based on Clerical Mistake, Overight
or Omission” (Reconsideration Motion). ECF No. 1-5. As
applicable to this appeal, the motion contended that the
bankruptcy court should not have denied Brockett’s
Interlocutory Motion. The bankruptcy court found that
Brockett’s contention of improper denial “may be
correct, if for a different reason than that stated in the
Reconsideration Motion.” ECF No. 1 at 3. Because the
potential flaw in the bankruptcy court’s denial of the
Interlocutory Motion was jurisdictional in nature, it was
raised sua sponte.
bankruptcy court noted that Federal Rule of Bankruptcy
Procedure 8004(c)(1) “would require a properly
filed motion for interlocutory appeal to be promptly
transferred by the clerk of the bankruptcy court to the clerk
of the district court” (emphasis added). Id.
The bankruptcy court observed that Brockett’s
Interlocutory Motion was not accompanied by a separate notice
of appeal as required by Rule 8004(a), nor the prescribed
filing fee as required by Rule 8003(a). The bankruptcy stated
[w]hether the Interlocutory Motion, sans both the
fee and separate notice of appeal, was properly filed and
should have triggered a prompt transfer raises a legitimate
question. But whether the Interlocutory Motion was properly
filed or not, the better course of action would have been for
the Oversigned not to rule upon it.
Id. at 3-4. The bankruptcy court concluded that if
an appeal was legitimately commenced, then the court no
longer had jurisdiction to issue the order denying the
Interlocutory Motion. The bankruptcy court granted
Brockett’s Reconsideration Motion in part, vacated its
order denying the Interlocutory Motion, and transferred the
Interlocutory Motion to this Court.
on April 5, 2016, the Interlocutory Motion was docketed in
this Court as Brockett’s Motion for Leave to Appeal.
ECF No. 1. On April 15, 2016, in accordance with Rule
8004(b)(2), the United States Trustee filed a response in
opposition to the Motion for Leave to Appeal. ECF No. 3. On
May 3, 2016, Brockett filed a Motion for Extension of Time
due to medical circumstances, requesting a three month
extension to file a reply to the United States
Trustee’s Opposition. ECF No. 5. The United States
Trustee opposed the motion to extend time. ECF No. 7.
Brockett replied to that opposition. ECF No. 8.
Motion for an Extension of Time
for interlocutory appeals of bankruptcy court rulings are
governed by Rule 8004. To commence an interlocutory appeal,
Rule 8004(a) provides that a notice of appeal accompanied by
a motion for leave to appeal is to be filed with the
bankruptcy clerk. Then, under Rule 8004(c), the bankruptcy
clerk is to promptly transmit the notice of appeal and the
motion for leave to appeal to the district clerk. Finally,
Rule 8004(b)(2) provides that a response or cross-motion may
be filed with the district clerk. Hence, Rule 8004 provides
for a motion, and an opposition, but does not provide for any
further submissions on the matter. See,
e.g., Fed. R. Bank. P. 8004(c)(3) (“The motion
and any response or cross-motion are submitted without oral
argument unless the district court or [bankruptcy appellate
panel] orders otherwise.”). Upon review of Rule 8004,
there is no basis to grant the extension Brockett seeks, as
there is no deadline to extend for further filings in this
matter. Therefore, Brockett’s Motion for Extension of
Time, ECF No. 5, will be denied.
B.Motion for Leave ...