United States District Court, D. Maryland
CATHERINE C. BLAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robertson appeals an order of the United States Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Maryland denying his motion to
reinstate his bankruptcy case under Federal Rules of
Bankruptcy Procedure 9023 and 9006(b)(1). (Pet.'s Br. 1).
For the reasons stated below, the bankruptcy court's
decision will be affirmed.
filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on June 28, 2017. Within
three months, Robertson failed to appear at two scheduled
proceedings, prompting filings from the Chapter 13 Trustee,
Nancy Spencer Grigsby (“Trustee”), and the
the Trustee filed a motion to dismiss on August 21, 2017,
after Robertson had to reschedule a meeting with his
creditors. The motion claimed that Robertson failed to submit
certain documents ahead of the meeting, failed to provide
certain required documents, failed to begin payment under his
proposed bankruptcy plan, and that the creditor meeting did
not occur. (ECF No. 4 (“Record”) at Ex. 16).
Robertson claims that although he received the Trustee's
motion, and opposed it, he failed to receive notice of the
Trustee's response to his opposition. (Pet.'s Br. 2).
next missed his Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan confirmation
hearing, causing, in part, the bankruptcy court to file an
order on September 13, 2017, denying Robertson's proposed
bankruptcy plan. (R. at Ex. 20). The court gave Robertson 14
days to convert his case to a different proceeding under the
bankruptcy code, or to voluntarily dismiss his case.
(Id.) If he did neither, the court warned, it may
dismiss Robertson's case for failure to prosecute,
without further notice or hearing. (Id.)
asked the court to reconsider its order to no avail. (R. at
Ex. 21). The Trustee opposed his request noting several
violations of the bankruptcy code and that Robertson's
proposed plan would not have been confirmable even if he had
attended the meeting with the creditors. (R. at Ex. 22).
Robertson having neither converted his case nor voluntarily
dismissed it, the bankruptcy court made good on its warning
and dismissed Robertson's case on October 12, 2017,
relying on its prior September 13, 2017, order. (R. at Ex.
unsuccessfully moving the bankruptcy court to reinstate his
case in October and November of 2017, (R. at Ex. 27, 30),
Robertson turned to this court for relief. He filed a notice
of his appeal of the bankruptcy court's denial of his
motion for reinstatement, (R. at Ex. 32),  on November 27,
2017. (R. at Ex. 33).
court reviews decisions from the bankruptcy courts in the
same manner the federal courts of appeals review decisions
from the district courts. 28 U.S.C. § 158(c)(2). Thus,
legal conclusions are reviewed de novo, factual
findings are reviewed for clear error, In re White,
487 F.3d 199, 204 (4th Cir. 2007), and discretionary
decisions are reviewed for abuse of discretion. A court
“abuses its discretion when it (1) acts arbitrarily, as
if neither by rule nor discretion, (2) fails to adequately .
. . take into account judicially recognized factors
constraining its exercise of discretion, or (3) rests its
decision on erroneous factual or legal premises.”
U.S. v. Alvarado, 840 F.3d 184, 188-89 (4th Cir.
2016) (internal citation omitted).
argues that the bankruptcy court's denial of his motion
to reinstate his case under Federal Rules of Bankruptcy
Procedure 9023 and 9006(b)(1) violated his due process
rights, particularly because he is a pro se litigant. He
argues that because he did not timely receive the
Trustee's response to his opposition to the Trustee's
motion to dismiss, he should have been granted more time to
comply with the deficiencies the response noted.
Rule 9023 nor Rule 9006(b)(1) support Robertson's
position. Rule 9023 states, with a few inapplicable
exceptions, that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59 applies
to bankruptcy proceedings, and that “[a] motion for a
new trial or to alter or amend a judgment shall be filed, and
a court may on its own order a new trial, no later than 14
days after entry of judgment.” Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9023.
Rule 59 states that a court “may, on motion, grant a
new trial . . . for any reason for which a new trial has
heretofore been granted in an action at law . . . or . . . a
suit in equity in federal court.” Fed. R. Civ. P 59.
And Rule 9006(b)(1) instructs that:
[W]hen an act is required or allowed to be done at or within
a specified period by these rules or by a notice given
thereunder or by order of court, the court for cause shown
may at any time in its discretion (1) with or without motion
or notice order the period enlarged if the request therefor
is made before the expiration of the period originally
prescribed or as extended by a previous order or (2) on
motion made after the expiration of ...