United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Se Debtor-Appellant Fatima Mustafa appealed four orders
issued in a single bankruptcy proceeding, In re Fatima
Mustafa, Ch. 13 Case No. TJC 15-20053 (Bankr. D. Md.),
which were docketed in this Court as four separate cases.
See Civ. Nos. PJM 16-494, PJM 16-523, PJM 16-3828,
PJM 16-4007. The Court has already considered and affirmed
the Bankruptcy Court with respect to two appeals of lift-stay
orders pertaining to post-foreclosure proceedings on two
residential properties. See Mustafa v. PennyMac Corp. by
PennyMac Loan Servs., LLC, No. CV PJM 16-494, 2017 WL
1176057 (D. Md. Mar. 29, 2017).
Court now addresses the other two appeals, both of which
relate to orders dismissing the underlying bankruptcy. In
Civ. No. PJM 16-3828 Mustafa v. Branigan, she seeks
relief from the Bankruptcy Court's Order dismissing the
proceeding, see ECF No. 1-1, and in Civ. No PJM
16-4007 Mustafa v. Branigan, she seeks relief from
the Bankruptcy Court's Order denying her motion to
reinstate the bankruptcy case. ECF No. 1-1.
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
orders of the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland
in both cases.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief on July 20,
2015, which was voluntarily converted into a Chapter 13 case
a month later. ECF No. 1-1, at 1. Chapter 13 of the
Bankruptcy Code allows an individual with a regular income to
pay some or all of her debts over 3-5 years and keep some or
all of her property by developing and complying with a
payment plan under the supervision of a Chapter 13 trustee.
See 11 U.S.C. § 1322. Mustafa was represented
by counsel in the bankruptcy proceeding but in this Court she
is acting pro se.
facts of the case are uncomplicated and, it appears,
undisputed in this Court. According to an opinion written by
Bankruptcy Judge Catliota who presided over the case, four
creditors held claims against Mustafa totaling $46, 000,
whose monthly net income after expenses was determined to be
$3, 370. Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF No. 1-1, at 1.
did not appear at two separate meetings with creditors in
2016, spurring the Chapter 13 Trustee, Thomas Branigan, to
file two motions to dismiss the proceedings. See
Bankr. No. TJC 15-20053, ECF Nos. 44, 86. Both were denied by
the Bankruptcy Court. Id. at 51, 121. But, for more
than a year, Mustafa also failed to submit critical records
to Branigan, including tax returns, bank statements, and
proof of her husband's and son's social security
status. Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF No. 1-1. Mustafa does not
dispute that she failed to submit this material, though she
submits that eventually, on September 3, 2016, she did submit
them. ECF No. 2-6 at 3.
most prominent cause of delay, however, was that for a year
into her case, Mustafa proposed three different Chapter 13
plans, none of which was deemed suitable for confirmation by
the Bankruptcy Court. See Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF
No. 1-2. Judge Catliota ultimately gave Mustafa “one
last chance” to amend her plan by August 26, 2016. Civ.
No. PJM 16-3828, ECF No. 1-1, at 3. On August 23, 2016, she
filed an amended plan, but on October 3, 2016, the Bankruptcy
Court declined to confirm it. Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF No.
1-2. Then, with extraordinarily tender mercy, the Bankruptcy
Court gave Mustafa until October 21, 2016 to file yet another
plan, warning that:
[I]f within the time granted for amendment the Debtor(s)
fail(s) to file an Amended Plan, voluntarily dismiss this
case, or the case is not converted to a case under another
chapter, the court may reconvert this case to a case under
Chapter 7 or dismiss this case, without further notice or
hearing, because of Debtor's failure to prosecute the
Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF No. 1-1, at 3. On October 21, 2016,
Mustafa filed a motion to extend the time to file her final
plan, which the Bankruptcy Court, with continuous generous
solicitude, granted, giving her an extension until November
12, 2016. Id.
days after that deadline had passed, without receiving a
filing from Mustafa, Judge Catliota dismissed her Chapter 13
case, citing his October 3, 2016 order. Civ No. PJM 16-3828,
ECF No. 1-1. That same day, Mustafa filed a Motion to
Reinstate Chapter 13 Case (“Motion to
Reinstate”). Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF No. 2-4 at 2.
while the Motion to Reinstate was pending before the
Bankruptcy Court, Mustafa appealed the Order of Dismissal
that the Motion to Reinstate was based on. That appeal was
docketed in this Court as Civ. No. PJM 16-3828.
December 1, 2016, Judge Catliota denied the Motion to
Reinstate. Civ. No. PJM 16-4007, ECF No. 2-5, an order that
Mustafa appealed as well. That appeal was ...