United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
REBECCA L. JONES, Appellant,
LAURA MARGULIES Appellee.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. Grimm United States District Judge
October 19, 2017, Rebecca Jones filed an appeal of an October
2, 2017 Bankruptcy Court Order, ECF No. 82 in Bankr.
17-10502, ECF No. 1-2; Bankr. Settlement Or. 1, ECF No. 1-1.
Not. of Appeal, ECF No. 1. The challenged order approved a
settlement agreement that the Bankruptcy Trustee, Appellee
Laura Margulies, reached with attorney Victor Palmeiro, who
was acting on behalf of Ms. Jones's estate. Id. Ms.
Margulies has filed a Motion to Dismiss. Appellee's Mot.,
ECF No. 2. Because Ms. Jones's appeal is
untimely, this Court lacks jurisdiction over her appeal and
Ms. Margulies's Motion will be granted.
September 29, 2017, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lori Simpson signed
an order granting Trustee Margulies's Motion to approve
the settlement reached between her and Victor Palmeiro on
behalf of Ms. Jones's estate. Bankr. Settlement Or. 1.
This Order was officially entered on October 2, 2017.
Id. Ms. Jones filed her appeal seventeen days later
on October 19, 2017. Not. of App. 1 (showing the appeal was
filed on Oct. 19, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.). Ms. Margulies argues
that Ms. Jones's Notice of Appeal was not timely and that
she lacks standing to bring an appeal. Appellee's Mot.
4-8. Appellant argues that she has standing because the
Bankruptcy Court permitted her to present arguments in her
individual capacity and that she has shown good cause-that
she was provided incomplete information regarding the
settlement-to permit her to file a late appeal.
Appellant's Opp'n ¶¶ 1, 2, 12.
Court has jurisdiction to determine, as a threshold matter,
whether a notice of appeal has been timely filed, but it
ultimately will lack jurisdiction to hear the appeal if the
appeal was not timely filed. Brockett v. Robbins,
No. WMN-16-1020, 2016 WL 2997346, at *2-3 (D. Md. May 25,
2016) (citing O'Keeffe v. Wolff, No.
GJH-14-3829, 2015 WL 327652, at *1 (D. Md. Jan. 23, 2015));
AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA v. Bishop (In re Craig Lewis
Bishop), 333 B.R. 746, 748 n.3 (D.S.C. 2005). Bankruptcy
Rule of Procedure 8002, “Time for Filing Notice of
Appeal, ” provides that a “notice of appeal shall
be filed with the clerk within 14 days of the date of the
entry of the judgment, order, or decree appealed from.”
Fed.R.Bankr.P. 8002(a). Bankruptcy Rule of Procedure 8002(a)
has been “strictly construed” and requires
“strict compliance” with its terms.
AgSouth, 333 B.R. at 748 (quoting In re Hotel
Syracuse, 154 B.R. 13, 15 (N.D.N.Y. 1993) (footnote
omitted)). An appellant may request an extension within that
14-day period, or “within 21 days after that time, if
the party shows excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Bankr.P.
Jones did not make any such request. And, although Ms. Jones
proceeds pro se, she is not excused from strictly
complying with the procedural rules. In re Guaranteed
Better Sales Mktg, Inc., 870 F.2d 654 (Table), 1989 WL
21438, at *1 (4th Cir. 1989) (“Misinterpretation or
ignorance of the applicable time limits even by pro
se litigants does not constitute excusable
neglect.”); Brockett, 2016 WL 2997346, at *3
(“[T]his Court finds that Brockett's pro
se status cannot excuse non-compliance with mandatory
procedures.”). Further, to receive an extension, she
must have requested it within the applicable period. In
re Guaranteed Better Sales Mktg, Inc., 1989 WL 21438, at
*1. Although Ms. Jones believes she has shown “good
cause” because she had incomplete information regarding
the settlement, that does not excuse her from timely filing
her appeal or requesting an extension to file her appeal
within the applicable period. See id.;
Brockett, 2016 WL 2997346, at *3.
noted, on October 2, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court entered an
Order approving the settlement. Therefore, the deadline to
file a timely notice of appeal of the Bankruptcy Court's
Order was October 16, 2017. The Appellant's Notice of
Appeal was signed on October 19, 2017 and received by the
Bankruptcy Clerk's Office that same day. Not. of Appeal.
The Appellant's Notice of Appeal in this case was not
timely filed. See Olslund v. Bellinger, No.
RDB-11-2800, 2012 WL 246440 at *1 (D. Md. Jan. 25, 2012)
(finding, inter alia, that the pro se
Appellant who was a licensed attorney “clearly did not
timely file a Notice of Appeal” because
“Appellant was required to file notice of appeal by
September 9, 2011 and did not do so until September 13,
2011.”); see also Knarf Investments v. Reid (In re
James E. Reid), No. L- 02-1891, 2002 WL 34248549 at *1
(Bankr. D. Md. July 26, 2002).
in the Fourth Circuit repeatedly have held that “if a
prospective appellant fails to timely file his notice of
appeal, the District Court is stripped of its jurisdiction to
hear the appeal.” Chien, 484 B.R. at 663
(citing Smith v. Dairymen, Inc., 790 F.2d 1107, 1111
(4th Cir. 1986)); Olslund, 2012 WL 246440 at *1
(“Rule 8002(a) of Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
states that such a notice must be filed within 14 days of the
entry of the order being appealed. This is a jurisdictional
requirement. Failure to comply with this requirement results
in the dismissal of an appeal.” (citing Ballard v.
Tamojira, Inc., 106 F.3d 389 (4th Cir. 1997));
AgSouth, 333 B.R. at 748; see also Parker,
341 B.R. at 554 (citing, e.g., Stelpflug v. Fed.
Land Bank of St. Paul, 790 F.2d 47, 49 (7th
Cir. 1986)). Because the Appellant's Notice of Appeal was
not timely filed, this Court does not have jurisdiction.
it is this 2nd day of July, 2018,
hereby ORDERED that:
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 2, IS GRANTED;
Plaintiff's Appeal IS DISMISSED; and
Clerk is DIRECTED to CLOSE THE CASE and to MAIL a copy of