United States District Court, D. Maryland
LISA S. BRISTOL, Pro Se Debtor-Appellant
TIMOTHY P. BRANIGAN Chapter 13 Trustee-Appellee LISA S. BRISTOL, Pro Se Debtor-Appellant
TIMOTHY P. BRANIGAN Chapter 13 Trustee-Appellee
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Se Debtor-Appellant Lisa Sabrina Bristol appeals two
orders issued in a single bankruptcy proceeding, In re
Lisa Sabrina Bristol, Ch. 13 Case No. LSS 18-16227
(Bankr. D. Md.), which were docketed in this Court as two
separate cases. See Civ. Nos. PJM 18-02957, PJM
No. PJM 18-02957 Bristol v. Branigan, she seeks
relief from the Bankruptcy Court's Order denying
confirmation of her Chapter 13 Plan without leave to amend,
ECF No. 1, and in Civ. No PJM 18-03197 Bristol v.
Branigan, she seeks relief from the Bankruptcy
Court's Order dismissing her case for failure to appear
at the hearing on the Motion to Dismiss and the failure to
make plan payments. ECF No. 1.
reasons that follow, the Court AFFIRMS the
Order of the Bankruptcy Court dismissing the case.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief on May 8,
2018. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF No. 1 -2. 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 the Chapter 13 trustee.
See 11 U.S.C. § 1322. Bristol was represented
by counsel during part of the bankruptcy proceeding but acted
pro se starting August 29, 2018. She proceeds pro
se in this Court as well.
9, 2019, Timothy P. Branigan was appointed as Chapter 13
Trustee. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF No. 1-2. Pursuant to 11
U.S.C. § 341(a), the Bankruptcy Court scheduled a
Meeting of Creditors to be held on June 21, 2018.
Id. However, Bristol failed to file the required
documents and on May 23. 2018, the Bankruptcy Court issued an
Order to Show Cause why the case should not be dismissed.
Id. On June 5, 2018. the Bankruptcy Court then
signed an Order Extending Time, which gave Bristol additional
time to submit the required documents. Id. After
Bristol failed to submit the requisite documents before the
(extended) deadline again, the Bankruptcy Court issued an
Order Dismissing the Case for Failure to Complete Required
28, 2018, Bristol submitted her Chapter 13 Plan. Civ. No PJM
18-03197. ECF No. 1 -2. In the plan, she stated that she
would pay $1, 752 per month for 60 months, in addition to a
S16, 000 lump sum payment in month 12, and another $16, 000
payment due every 12 months afterwards until month 60. Civ.
No PJM 18-02957, ECF No. 3-1. The next day, the Bankruptcy
Court vacated its previous order dismissing the case. Civ. No
PJM 18-02957, ECF No. 1-2. The Bankruptcy Court then
certified that Bristol was in compliance with all filing
requirements of 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(1) except
subparagraph 521(a)(1)(B)(iv), which was not filed with the
Court pursuant to LBR 1007-4. Id.
2, 2018, the Bankruptcy Court scheduled an Amended 341(a)
Meeting of Creditors to be held on August 16. 2018. Civ. No
PJM 18-03197, ECF No. 1-2. However, Bristol's counsel
failed to appear at the 341(a) Meeting. Branigan then filed a
Motion to Dismiss for Counsel's Failure to Appear at the
Meeting of Creditors Without Excuse on August 20,
2018. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF No. 3-1.
Branigan argued that this failure to appear constituted cause
for dismissal and resulted in an unreasonable delay that was
prejudicial to creditors. Id. Furthermore, Branigan
argued that Bristol had not even tendered the first plan
payment due, which was an alternate basis for dismissal under
11 U.S.C. § 1307(c). Id. Branigan certified
that Bristol's counsel was served a version of the Motion
to Dismiss via the CM/ECF system and that a paper copy was
sent to Bristol. Id.
filed a response to Branigan's Motion to Dismiss, arguing
that she was in fact present at the 341(a) meeting though
conceding that her counsel was not. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF
No. 3-2. According to Bristol, she was notified that her
counsel would not appear at the meeting the day before the
meeting, and she relayed this information to Branigan the day
of the meeting. Id. She also told Branigan she was
not feeling well and was under the influence of medication.
Id. However, according to Bristol, Branigan refused
to accommodate her situation. Id.
also argued in her response to Branigan's Motion to
Dismiss that her counsel had advised her to not make payments
until a third-party filed a Motion to Lift the Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy Court scheduled a Notice of Hearing on
Branigan's Motion to Dismiss to be held on October 2,
2018. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF No. 3-3. The Certificate of
Notice from September 7, 2018 confirms that Bristol was
provided notice of this hearing. Id. But Bristol
failed to appear for the Motion to Dismiss Hearing, according
to the Bankruptcy Court's Proceeding Memo. Civ. No PJM
18-03197, ECF No. 3-4. On October 2, 2018, the Bankruptcy
Court dismissed the case based on Bristol's failure to
appear at the Motion to Dismiss hearing and Bristol's
failure to make plan payments. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF No.
3-10. Bristol appealed in a timely fashion.
Branigan filed objections to Bristol's Chapter 13 plan.
He stated that Bristol had failed to specify the source of
the lump sum payments, had conflicting treatments of Caliber
Home Loans under sections 4.6.2 and 4.6.5, and had filed an
adversary proceeding to value or avoid a lien on a property
owned as tenants by the entirety, in violation of law. Civ.
No PJM 18- 02957, ECF No. 3-4. On September 17, 2018, the
Bankruptcy Court denied confirmation of Bristol's plan
without leave to amend. Civ. No PJM 18-03197, ECF No. 3-7.
Bristol appealed in a timely manner.
has since filed a new bankruptcy case under Chapter 7 and
obtained a ...