United States District Court, S.D. New York
March 26, 2015
In re: SAINT VINCENT'S CATHOLIC MEDICAL CENTERS OF NEW YORK, Debtor.
EUGENE I. DAVIS, as liquidating trustee of the Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Centers of New York Liquidating Trust, Appellee. ELAINE GARVY, as administratrix of the estate of Ronald Brophy, deceased, Appellant,
OPINION AND ORDER
KATHERINE POLK FAILLA, District Judge.
This Opinion considers the Court's jurisdiction over an appeal from an Order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Morris, J. ). Appellant Elaine Garvy, who has a history of untimeliness in the bankruptcy proceedings, had moved the Bankruptcy Court to consider timely-filed her untimely proof of claim. The Bankruptcy Court denied the motion; this untimely appeal followed. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that, under the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and applicable precedent, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and therefore grants the motion of Appellee Eugene I. Davis to dismiss this appeal.
The bankruptcy proceedings underlying this appeal commenced in April 2010 in the Bankruptcy Court. (Schultz Decl. ¶ 4). On June 19, 2014, Appellant filed in that court a "Motion of Elaine Garvy Administrator of the Estate of Ronald Brophy Deceased to Consider Proof of Claim Timely Filed." ( Id. at ¶ 6). By July 14, 2014, the motion was fully briefed. ( Id. at ¶¶ 7-8). On July 17, 2014, the Bankruptcy Court heard argument from the parties and issued an oral ruling denying that motion. ( Id. at ¶ 8). On July 22, 2014, the Bankruptcy Court entered an order memorializing its earlier ruling (the "July 22, 2014 Order"). ( Id. at ¶ 9, Ex. A). On August 12, 2014, Appellant filed a notice of appeal from the July 22, 2014 Order. ( Id. at ¶¶ 6, 10; Menkes Decl. ¶ 7; Dkt. #1 (notice of appeal)).
On September 11, 2014, the notice of appeal and designations of the record on appeal were entered in this Court. ( See Dkt. #1-4). On September 15, 2014, this case was assigned to the undersigned, and on September 16, 2014, the Court issued a Bankruptcy Appeal Scheduling Order. (Dkt. #5). On September 22, 2014, Appellant filed the instant motion to dismiss. (Dkt. #6-10). On September 25, 2014, the Court stayed other deadlines pending resolution of Appellant's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. #11). In opposing Appellant's motion, Appellee filed a cross-motion to deem her notice of appeal timely filed, and these motions were fully briefed by October 27, 2014. ( See Dkt. #14-17).
Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8002(a) typically requires that a notice of appeal "be filed with the clerk within 14 days of the date of the entry of the judgment, order, or decree appealed from." This requirement is jurisdictional: Federal "district courts' jurisdiction to hear bankruptcy appeals is circumscribed by 28 U.S.C. § 158(c)(2), which provides that bankruptcy appeals must be filed in the time provided by Rule 8002 of the Bankruptcy Rules.'" In re Soundview Elite Ltd., 512 B.R. 155, 157 (S.D.N.Y. 2014) (quoting In re Siemon, 421 F.3d 167, 169 (2d Cir. 2005) ("[I]n the absence of a timely notice of appeal[, ] the district court is without jurisdiction to consider the appeal[.]")), aff'd, ___ F.Appx. ___, No. 14-1642, 2015 WL 1087708 (2d Cir. Mar. 13, 2015) (summary order); see also In re Indu Craft, Inc., 749 F.3d 107, 115 (2d Cir. 2014) (distinguishing In re Siemon but affirming its holding that the "time limits  prescribed by statute for appeals to district courts acting as appellate courts over bankruptcy matters" are jurisdictional); In re Residential Capital, LLC, No. 14 Civ. 9723 (PAE), 2015 WL 405570, at *1-3 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 30, 2015) (citing Indu Craft, Siemon, and Soundview Elite and finding no jurisdiction over untimely-filed appeal). In this case, Appellant did not file her notice of appeal within 14 days, or by August 5, 2014, as she acknowledges. (Appellant Opp. 2; Menkes Decl. ¶ 7). Thus, in order for the Court to have jurisdiction, an exception to the Rule's 14-day requirement must apply.
Rule 8002 does contain exceptions to the 14-day requirement, but states:
A request to extend the time for filing a notice of appeal must be made by written motion filed before the time for filing a notice of appeal has expired, except that such a motion filed not later than 21 days after the expiration of the time for filing a notice of appeal may be granted upon a showing of excusable neglect.
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8002(c)(2). In this case, Appellant did not request an extension of time within this 21-day window, or by August 26, 2014, as she again acknowledges. (Appellant Opp. 2-4, 6). However, she argues that the Court should construe her belated filing of a notice of appeal on August 12, 2014 - after the expiration of the August 5 deadline to file notice of appeal but within the 21-day window to file a motion for extension of time - as a timely motion for an extension of time. ( Id. at 3-4, 6-7). She further argues that because information she advances for the first time in connection with the instant motion satisfies the test for excusable neglect,  her motion for extension of time should be granted and her notice of appeal should deemed timely, nunc pro tunc, to August 5, 2014. ( Id. at 3-4, 6-9).
First of all, Appellant simply failed to submit a "written motion [for an extension of time] filed before the time for filing a notice of appeal has expired, " as required by the Rule. Fed.R.Bankr.P. 8002(c)(2). Acknowledging that failure, Appellant makes the rather circular argument that her late-filed notice of appeal should be construed as a motion for an extension of time to file her notice of appeal. (Appellant Opp. 6-7). In support, Appellant cites to certain cases that suggest disfavor of "overly formal filing requirements." Soundview Elite Ltd., 512 B.R. at 157-58 (construing cover email stating that pro se appellants would "quickly correct any procedural missteps or make any revisions as we become aware of them" as motion for a one-day extension, nunc pro tunc, where notice of appeal filed two hours late, given totality of circumstances and appellants' pro se status); see also Green v. United States, 260 F.3d 78, 83 (2d Cir. 2001) (noting, in a pro se habeas corpus case, that "a district court is empowered, and in some instances may be required" to treat a motion "nominally seeking an extension of time... as a substantive motion for relief"); Adelson v. Harris, 973 F.Supp.2d 467, 495 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (extending a deadline for filing motion to dismiss on certain grounds nunc pro tunc where litigants failed to file a formal motion on those grounds, but included a footnote in briefings that effectively provided the required notice to court and opposing party).
The cases Appellant cites are inapposite. None of them stands for the proposition that a bare, late-filed notice of appeal by a counseled party can constitute a motion for an extension of time to file that same notice of appeal. Indeed, to accept Appellant's argument would seemingly vitiate Rule 8002(c)(2). All of the cited cases involved some writing, however brief, that the court could construe as an application or as notice of an intent to seek an extension of time. But nothing within Appellant's notice of appeal is analogous to the transmittal message in Soundview Elite or the footnote in Adelson. It is a notice of appeal, and nothing more. ( See Dkt. #1). Further, unlike the parties in Soundview Elite and Green, Appellant is counseled and receives no special solicitude from the Court in construing her papers. And Adelson, while not involving a pro se litigant, is further distinguishable on the basis that it addressed whether a party had provided proper notice of a basis of a motion to dismiss. That is, it dealt not with fundamental question of the court's jurisdiction, but with the less weighty issue of whether a party had waived a certain argument. See generally Adelson, 973 F.Supp.2d at 494-96.
In the time available to Appellant to file a motion for an extension (up to August 26, 2014), she filed none. Nor did she proffer any of the information or arguments she now offers in seeking to meet the legal standard for "excusable neglect." Cf. Soundview Elite, 512 B.R. at 159 (dismissing bankruptcy appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because appellants failed to meet legal standard for "excusable neglect, " where notice and email stated no facts or arguments that excused late filing, and pro se status alone insufficient). Accordingly, Rule 8002(c)(2) is inapplicable and this appeal fails for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
For the foregoing reasons, the Appellee's motion to dismiss the appeal is GRANTED, and Appellant's motion to deem her notice of appeal timely filed is DENIED. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate all pending motions, adjourn all remaining dates, and close this case.