In re: Earl Benard Blasingame; Margaret Gooch Blasingame, Debtors.Church Joint Venture, L.P.; Farmers & Merchants Bank.; Edward L. Montedonico, Chapter 7 Trustee, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
Earl Benard Blasingame; Margaret Gooch Blasingame Defendants-Appellants.
from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western
District of Tennessee at Memphis. No. 08-28289-Jennie D.
Argued: March 1, 2016
J. Cocke, EVANS│PETREE, PC, Memphis, Tennessee, for
W. Akerly, CANTEY HANGER LLP, Dallas, Texas, for Appellees.
J. Cocke, EVANS│PETREE, PC, Memphis, Tennessee, Michael
P. Courty, GLANKER BROWN, PLLC, Memphis, Tennessee, for
W. Akerly, CANTEY HANGER LLP, Dallas, Texas, C. Barry Ward,
BALLIN, BALLIN & FISHMAN, P.C., Memphis, Tennessee, for
Before: HARRISON, HUMPHREY, and PRESTON, Bankruptcy Appellate
KATHRYN PRESTON, CHIEF BANKRUPTCY APPELLATE PANEL JUDGE.
these consolidated appeals, Earl Benard Blasingame
("Benard Blasingame") and Margaret Gooch Blasingame
("Margaret Blasingame") (together,
"Debtors") appeal the order denying their
discharges and the order striking certain documents from the
record on appeal. For the reasons stated below, the Panel
affirms the order denying Debtors' discharges, and
affirms in part and reverses in part the order striking
documents from the record.
raised the following issues on appeal:
1. Was the bankruptcy court's finding that Debtors
concealed assets or transferred property with intent to
hinder and delay a creditor or officer of the estate, as
required to deny their discharges pursuant to §
727(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Bankruptcy Code, clearly
2. Was the bankruptcy court's finding that Debtors
knowingly and fraudulently made false oaths for purposes of
11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(4) clearly erroneous?
3.Was the bankruptcy court's finding that Debtors did not
reasonably rely on the advice of their bankruptcy counsel in
connection with their bankruptcy filings clearly erroneous,
not supported by the facts, and contrary to the law of the
4.Was the bankruptcy court's decision to strike certain
documents in the record on appeal in BAP Case No. 15-8008
(specifically ECF Nos. 543, 556, 557 and 564 in the
underlying bankruptcy case, and ECF Nos. 477, 508, 528, 535,
536 and 537 in the adversary proceeding) clearly erroneous
and an abuse of discretion?
AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), this Panel has jurisdiction to
hear appeals "from final judgments, orders, and
decrees" issued by the bankruptcy court. For purposes of
appeal, an order is final if it "ends the litigation on
the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute
the judgment." Midland Asphalt Corp. v. United
States,489 U.S. 794, 798, 109 S.Ct. 1494, 1497 (1989)
(citation and quotation marks omitted). "An order
denying a discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §§
727(a)(2)(A) and (a)(4)(A) is a final order, see,
e.g., Hamo v. Wilson (In re Hamo), 233
B.R. 718, 720 (B.A.P. 6th Cir.1999), and final orders of a
bankruptcy court may be appealed by right ...