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Boateng v. Grigsby

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 22, 2019

COMFORT A. BOATENG, Pro Se Debtor-Appellant
v.
NANCY SPENCER GRIGSBY Trustee-Appellee

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PETER J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pro Se Debtor-Appellant Comfort A. Boateng[1] has appealed an Order of the Bankruptcy Court dismissing her underlying Chapter 13 proceeding, In re Comfort A. Boateng, Ch. 13 No. TJC 17-26830 (Bankr. D. Md.). For the following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the Order of the Bankruptcy Court, ECF No. 1-1.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         On September 21, 2006, Comfort A. Boateng and her husband, Kofi L. Boateng, executed an adjustable-rate note in the amount of $620, 000.00. ECF No. 4-58 at ¶ 3. The note was secured by a first priority deed of trust of even date, encumbering real property designated as 12600 Nichols Promise Drive, Bowie, MD 20720 (the "Property"). Id. at ¶ 3. Some time before January 1, 2009, Boateng allegedly ceased making payments on the note and has owed payments to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, the holder of the note, since then. Id. at ¶¶ 10-12. Shapiro & Brown, LLP, acting as substitute trustee, initiated a foreclosure action against the Boatengs and the Property in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County on February 25, 2016. See CAEF16-04391.

         On April 24, 2017, Comfort Boateng filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, Bankr. No. 17-15651, one day before a scheduled foreclosure sale of the Property. ECF No. 4-58 at ¶ 9. On June 1, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed this petition for failure to file information on June 1, 2017. Id.

         On July 17, 2017, Kofi Boateng filed a second Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition, Bankr. No. 17-19660. ECF No. 4-58 at ¶ 9. This filing also occurred one day before the foreclosure sale of the Property scheduled for July 18, 2017. Id. On September 1, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court also dismissed this petition for failure to file requisite information. Id.

         On December 18, 2017, Comfort Boateng[2] filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, Bankr. No. 17-26830. ECF No. 4-58 at ¶ 9. The dismissal of that filing forms the basis for the appeal currently before the Court. As with the previous two bankruptcy petitions, this one was also filed one day before a foreclosure sale of the Property was to take place on December 19, 2017. Id. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 521 and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 1007 and 3015(b), the Clerk of the Court issued a Notice of Deadline for Filing Missing Documents, informing Boateng that she had until January 2, 2018 to file the required documents associated with her bankruptcy filing. ECF No. 4-2. The Notice of Deadline also indicated that if Boateng did not submit the missing documents, the case would be dismissed without a hearing. Id.

         On December 29, 2017, Boateng filed a Motion to Extend Time to File Schedules, Other Documents and Information Required under 11 U.S.C. § 521, citing as her reason an inability to gather all necessary documents for completing the missing filings due to the pending foreclosure sale process. ECF No. 4-8. On January 8, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court granted Boateng's Motion, requiring her to file all remaining documents by January 19, 2018. ECF No. 4-10. The Bankruptcy Court also informed Boateng that failure to complete the required filings within the extended time might result in dismissal of her case. Id.

         On January 24, 2018, Boateng filed some, but not all, of the required documentation. See, e.g., ECF No. 4-15 (Chapter 13 Plan Filed by Comfort A. Boateng). On January 25, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court issued a Deficiency Notice after Boateng failed to file a Certificate of Service and filed an obsolete Chapter 13 Plan, instructing her to cure by filing a Certificate of Service and Local Bankruptcy Form M. ECF No. 4-16. On January 26, 2018, after Boateng failed to cure, the Bankruptcy Court terminated the automatic stay and dismissed the case. ECF No. 4-17.

         On January 30, 2018, Boateng filed a Motion to Reinstate the Chapter 13 Case, representing that she had recently retained counsel, mailed "all Chapter 13 payment[s]," and affirmed that she would fix the schedules and Chapter 13 plan. ECF No. 4-21. On February 15 and 21, 2018, Boateng filed the required documentation. See, e.g., ECF Nos. 4-27, 4-33. Subsequently, on February 22, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Order Vacating the Order Dismissing the Case. ECF No. 4-34. That same day, the Bankruptcy Court issued another Deficiency Notice, stating that Boateng had filed an obsolete Chapter 13 Plan form and instructing her to cure by filing the new Plan form (M) by March 8, 2018. ECF No. 4-35.

         On March 8, 2018, Boateng filed an Amended Chapter 13 Plan, ECF No. 4-46, but that same day, the Bankruptcy Court issued another Deficiency Notice after Boateng filed an obsolete Certificate of Service form. ECF No. 4-47. Boateng was instructed to cure by filing the correct M-l form with the Plan by March 22, 2018. Id. On March 9, 2018, Boateng filed the Certificate of Service in response to the Bankruptcy Court's March 8 Deficiency Notice. ECF No. 4-48.

         And on April 17, 2018, in response to Objections filed by the Bankruptcy Trustee, Boateng filed an Amended Chapter 13 Plan. ECF No. 4-67. But on May 8, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court declined to confirm Boateng's Amended Chapter 13 Plan after concluding that it did not fulfill the requirements set out in § 1325. ECF No. 4-78. The Bankruptcy Court once again granted Boateng leave to file-this time an amended Plan-and to do so by June 11, 2018. Id. She was also notified that failure to complete the required filings, convert to another chapter, or voluntarily dismiss by that date might result in dismissal of her case without further notice or hearing. Id. Because Boateng failed to file an Amended Plan by June 11, the Bankruptcy Court terminated the automatic stay and dismissed her case on June 18, 2018. See ECF No. 4-96 at 2.

         On June 28, 2018, Boateng filed a Motion to Reinstate the Chapter 13 Case, along with an Amended Chapter 13 Plan. In her Motion, Boateng claimed that she was making the Plan payments and that creditor Deutsche Bank National Trust Company had withdrawn its claim to "over Million dollars" after the Bankruptcy Court's May 8th denial of Plan confirmation. ECF No. 4-97. Accordingly, on July 2, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court issued another Order Vacating the Order Dismissing the Case. ECF No. 4-99. The same day, however, the Bankruptcy Court issued a Deficiency Notice after Boateng failed to include the list of creditors served in her filing. ECF No. 4-101. The Bankruptcy Court instructed Boateng to cure by filing a Certificate of Service by July 16, 2018. Id.

         On July 16, 2018, Boateng filed another Amended Chapter 13 Plan. ECF No. 4-107. The following day, the Bankruptcy Court again declined to confirm Boateng's Amended Plan after concluding that the Plan did not fulfill the requirements set out in § 1325 for confirmation. ECF No. 4-108. The Bankruptcy Court granted Boateng leave to file an amended Plan by August 31, 2018, notifying her that failure to complete the required filings, convert to ...


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