United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
In re ROMEL E. CASAB, Debtor.
GRAND SKY ENTERPRISE CO., LTD., Appellee. ROMEL E. CASAB, Appellant,
ORDER AFFIRMING BANKRUPTCY COURT ORDERS
ARTHUR J. TARNOW, Senior District Judge.
Appellee Grand Sky Enterprise Co., Ltd. (Grand Sky) won a judgment against Appellant Romel E. Casab in Michigan state court. When Appellant subsequently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Grand Sky filed an adversary complaint alleging that its judgment against Appellant constitutes non-dischargeable debt under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A). The Bankruptcy Court entered several orders denying Appellant's motions to dismiss Grand Sky's complaint, as well as a final order granting summary judgment to Grand Sky. The Court received Appellant's Notice of Appeal  of these orders on June 9, 2014. Appellant filed a Brief on Appeal  on July 31, 2014. Grand Sky filed its Brief on Appeal  on August 14, 2014.
For the reasons stated below, the Bankruptcy Court's orders are AFFIRMED.
On July 26, 2010, Grand Sky filed a lawsuit against Appellant in Oakland County Circuit Court. On June 2, 2011, the Circuit Court issued an order granting Grand Sky summary disposition and scheduling an evidentiary hearing on damages. The hearing took place on August 10, 2011. Following the hearing, the Circuit Court directed the parties to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. Grand Sky filed its proposed findings and conclusions on August 24, 2011. On November 21, 2011, the Circuit Court issued a final opinion and order adopting Grand Sky's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. The final order found Grand Sky entitled to $3, 464, 676.91 in damages, plus interest. The Circuit Court entered a judgment against Appellant in this amount.
Appellant appealed a portion of the judgment. On March 19, 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court's decision. Appellant did not appeal the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals.
On March 21, 2013, Appellant filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. On June 12, 2013, Grand Sky filed an Amended Adversary Complaint, alleging that its judgment against Appellant is nondischargeable debt. On June 13, 2013, the Bankruptcy Court issued a Notice of Deficient Pleading concerning the Amended Adversary Complaint. The Notice specified the following defect: "Electronic Signature Missing or Incorrect Format ECF Procedure 11(d)(1)." The Notice also stated that if the Amended Advisory Complaint was not corrected, "an order striking the document may be entered by the Court." On June 13, 2013, Grand Sky filed a second Amended Advisory Complaint. This complaint included counsel's signature but omitted counsel's phone number. The Bankruptcy Court did not issue a Notice of Deficient Pleading concerning the second Amended Advisory Complaint.
On July 11, 2013, Appellant filed a Motion to Dismiss. The Bankruptcy Court held a hearing on the motion on August 30, 2013. At the hearing, the Bankruptcy Court denied Appellant's Motion to Dismiss, but directed Grand Sky to serve Appellant with a re-issued summons and the second Amended Advisory Complaint on or before September 13, 2013. The Bankruptcy Court issued an order memorializing this ruling on September 27, 2013.
On October 3, 2013, Appellant filed a second Motion to Dismiss, arguing that Grand Sky had failed to properly serve the re-issued summons and complaint as ordered. On October 17, 2013, the Bankrupty Court issued an order denying the motion. Appellant filed a Motion for Reconsideration on October 24, 2013. The Bankruptcy Court held a hearing on the Motion for Reconsideration on November 25, 2013. The same day, the Bankruptcy Court issued an order granting the Motion for Reconsideration in part, denying Appellant's second Motion to Dismiss, and extending the time for Grand Sky to properly serve the Amended Advisory Complaint. Grand Sky served Appellant with the complaint.
On February 12, 2014, Grand Sky filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Bankruptcy Court held a hearing on the motion on April 7, 2014. The same day, the Bankruptcy Court issued an order granting summary judgment to Grand Sky and ruling that Grand Sky's judgment against Appellant is nondischargeable debt. Appellant subsequently filed a Notice of Appeal of the Bankruptcy Court's order granting Grand Sky summary judgment and "all other prior interlocutory orders, " including the three orders denying Appellant's motions to dismiss.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
This Court reviews a bankruptcy court's conclusions of law de novo. In re Batie, 995 F.2d 85, 88 (6th Cir. 1993). De novo review means that this Court reviews the law independently of the bankruptcy court and no deference is given to the conclusions of the bankruptcy court. Myers v. IRS (In re Meyers), 216 B.R. 402, 403 (B.A.P. 6th Cir. 1998). On appeal to a district court, a bankruptcy court's findings of fact are reversible only if they are clearly erroneous. FED. R. BANKR. P. 8013; In re Batie, 995 F.2d at 88. A factual finding is clearly erroneous when the reviewing court is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. In re AmTrust Financial Corp., 694 F.3d 741, 749 (6th Cir. 2012). "[I]f a question is a mixed question of law and fact, then [the district court] must break it down into its constituent parts and apply the appropriate standard of review for each part." In re Batie, 995 F.2d at 88.
I. Bankruptcy Court ECF ...