United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Se Debtor-Appellant Fatima Mustafa appeals four orders
issued in a single bankruptcy proceeding, In re Fatima
Mustafa, Ch. 13 Case No. TJC 15-20053 (Bankr. D. Md.),
which have been docketed in this Court as four separate
cases. See Civ. Nos. PJM 16-494, PJM 16-523, PJM
16-3828, PJM 16-4007. The first two appeals pertain to
lift-stay orders with respect to post-foreclosure proceedings
involving two separate properties; the other two appeals
relate to orders dismissing the underlying bankruptcy,
- In Civ. No. PJM 16-494 Mustafa v. PennyMac Corp., by
Pennymac Loan Services, LLC, its servicing
agent (“Pennymac”), the
Mustafas seek relief from a lift-stay Order that
would allow Pennymac to proceed with a post-foreclosure sale
of residential property at 18306 Bubbling Spring Terrace,
Boyds, Maryland (“Bubbling Spring property”). ECF
No. 1-1. That property, originally purchased by the Mustafas
on May 18, 2005, was sold in a foreclosure sale on October
17, 2014. ECF No. 9 at 7. The sale has not yet been ratified
by the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. ECF No. 2-17.
- In Civ. No. PJM 16-523 Mustafa v. PMT NPL Financing
2015-1 by Pennymac Loan Services, LLC, its servicing
agent (“PMT”), the Mustafas seek relief from
a lift-stay Order allowing PMT to proceed with the eviction
of the Mustafas from 14406 Autumn Branch Terrace, Boyds,
Maryland (“Autumn Branch property), also residential
property. ECF No. 1-1. The Mustafas originally purchased that
property on May 5, 2005. ECF No. 203. It was sold in a
foreclosure sale on May 14, 2014, which the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County ratified on August 13, 2014. ECF No. 7 at
- In Civ. No. PJM 16-3828 Mustafa v. Branigan,
Fatima Mustafa seeks relief from the Bankruptcy Court's
Order dismissing the proceeding. See ECF No. 1-1.
- In Civ. No PJM 16-4007 Mustafa v. Branigan
(“Mustafa II”), Fatima Mustafa seeks relief from
the Bankruptcy Court's Order denying her motion to
reinstate the bankruptcy case. ECF No. 1-1.
Opinion, the Court deals only with the appeals of the two
lift-stay orders. For the reasons that follow, the Court
AFFIRMS the Orders of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Maryland in both cases.
U.S. District Court has jurisdiction to review final
decisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court under 28 U.S.C. §
158(a). The District Court reviews the Bankruptcy Court's
conclusions of law de novo and findings of fact for
clear error. In re Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, Inc.,
400 F.3d 219, 224 (4th Cir. 2005).
Mustafa filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy under
Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Act on July 20, 2015, which was
converted to a Chapter 13 proceeding on August 24, 2015. Civ.
No. PJM 16-523, ECF No. 6 at 8. A stay of the
post-foreclosure proceedings in state court with respect to
both referenced properties was automatically imposed by the
commencement of the bankruptcy proceeding, pursuant to 11
U.S.C. §362(a). Orders lifting automatic stays are final
and appealable. Safety-Kleen, Inc. v. Wyche, 274
F.3d 846, 864 n. 4 (4th Cir. 2001).
request of a party in interest, ” a Bankruptcy Judge
may lift a stay automatically imposed by the commencement of
a bankruptcy proceeding after notice and a hearing if, among
other reasons, “the debtor does not have an equity in
such property; and such property is not necessary to an
effective reorganization.” 11 U.S.C. § 362 (d)(2).
In this case, finding that the Mustafas neither had an equity
in the properties and that properties were not necessary to
an effective reorganization, Judge Catliota of the Bankruptcy
Court filed a lift-stay order with respect to the Bubbling
Spring property on February 10, 2016, following a hearing on
February 1, 2016, Civ. No. PJM 16-494, ECF No. 1, and did the
same with respect to the Autumn Branch property on February
23, 2016, following a hearing on February 22, 2016. Civ. No.
PJM 16-523, ECF No. 1.
their appeals, the Mustafas argue that Judge Catliota erred
in lifting the stays because (1) neither Appellee had
standing or was a “party in interest” and (2) the
Mustafas, as debtors, in fact, had equity in the Autumn
Branch and Bubbling Spring properties.