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Satti v. Nachadim Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. New York

February 16, 2018

ABDEL SATTI, Appellant,
v.
NECHADIM CORP., Appellee.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          MARGO K. BRODIE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On February 3, 2017, Appellant Abdel Satti, proceeding pro se, filed this appeal arising from a bankruptcy proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York (the “Bankruptcy Court”), under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 101 et seq. The bankruptcy proceeding involved the estate of debtor corporation 33 Vanderbilt A&P, Inc. (the “Debtor”), of which Appellant is the principal. (See 33 Vanderbilt A&P, Inc., No. 16-BK-40569 (E.D.N.Y. Br. filed Feb. 10, 2016) (“Main Case”).) During that proceeding, an adversary complaint, together with a motion for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”), was filed on August 3, 2016 by Trustee of the bankruptcy estate Richard J. McCord against Appellant, (see generally Adv. Proceeding Compl., Docket Entry No. 1, No. 16-BK-1143 (E.D.N.Y. Br. filed Aug. 3, 2016) (“Adversary Proceeding”)), which motion was granted by the Honorable Nancy Hershey Lord on August 5, 2016 and extended periodically thereafter, (see Order dated Aug. 5, 2016, Docket Entry No. 4, Adversary Proceeding). Appellant appeals from the Bankruptcy Court's orders granting the Trustee's application for a TRO, and from an order approving the sale of the Debtor's real property located at 1172 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York (the “Brooklyn Property”). (Notice of Appeal, Docket Entry No. 1.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses the appeal.

         I. Background

         a. Factual background

         On February 10, 2016, the Debtor filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition pursuant to Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, signed by Appellant as “President.” (See Ch. 11 Voluntary Pet., Docket Entry No. 1, Main Case.) The Debtor owned the Brooklyn Property, as well as real property located at 245 West 134th Street in New York (the “Manhattan Property”). (See, e.g., Adv. Proceeding Compl. ¶ 13.) On June 12, 2016, the case was converted to a proceeding under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, (Order dated June 12, 2016, Docket Entry No. 28, Main Case), and on June 15, 2016, the United States Trustee appointed the Trustee, (Order dated June 15, 2016, Docket Entry No. 29, Main Case). On August 3, 2016, the Trustee filed an adversary action against Appellant, alleging that Appellant (1) improperly continued to operate the Brooklyn Property after bankruptcy had been declared, (2) failed to produce documents necessary for the Trustee to administer the bankruptcy estate, and (3) took various actions to frustrate the Trustee's efforts to discharge his obligations. (See generally Adv. Proceeding Compl.) By order dated August 5, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court enjoined Appellant from entering the Brooklyn Property and Manhattan Property. (Order dated Aug. 5, 2016, Docket Entry No. 4, Adversary Proceeding.) Appellant was further enjoined from collecting rents or other monies owed to the Debtor, and from “interfer[ing] with the Trustee's administration of the estate and its assets . . . .” (Id.) The Bankruptcy Court scheduled a hearing on the TRO for August 11, 2016. (Id.)

         Appellant, along with counsel for the Debtor, appeared for the August 11, 2016 hearing, but various subpoenaed witnesses failed to appear. (See Minute Entry dated Aug. 11, 2016, Adversary Proceeding.) The hearing was adjourned to three subsequent dates between September through December of 2016, but Debtor's counsel and the various witnesses failed to appear on each occasion. (Minute Entries dated Aug. 11, 2016, Sept. 14, 2016, Oct. 6, 2016, and Dec. 1, 2016, Adversary Proceeding.)

         On November 7, 2016, the Trustee moved for an order approving the sale of both properties. (Mot. to Approve Sale, Docket Entry No. 50, Main Case.) Mohamed Satti, Appellant's son, (Mohamed Satti Obj., Docket Entry No. 55, Main Case), Pamela Rodgers, Appellant's spouse, (Pamela Rodgers Obj., Docket Entry No. 56, Main Case), and Appellant, (Abdel Satti Obj., Docket Entry No. 57, Main Case), each of whom self-identified as a “part owner” of the Brooklyn Property and Manhattan Property, among others, filed objections to the Trustee's motion. The objections of both Mohamed Satti and Rodgers stated that they objected because they “did not file a bankruptcy for the above listed properties.” All three objectors claimed that the offering price for each property was below market value.

         By orders dated December 9, 2016 and December 12, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court granted the Trustee's motions to sell the Manhattan Property and Brooklyn Property at a public auction scheduled for January 11, 2017. (Order dated Dec. 9, 2016, Docket Entry No. 61, Main Case; Order dated Dec. 12, 2016, Docket Entry No. 62, Main Case.) The sale of the Brooklyn Property was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court on January 24, 2017. (Order dated Jan. 24, 2017, Docket Entry No. 78, Main Case.)

         Appellant challenges the Bankruptcy Court's orders (1) enjoining him from entering onto the Brooklyn Property and Manhattan Property, and (2) approving the sale of the Brooklyn Property. (Notice of Appeal.) However, Appellant failed to file an appellate brief in violation of Rule 8018 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, despite repeatedly being directed by the Court to do so. (See Orders dated Aug. 7, 2017 and Oct. 10, 2017.)

         b. Procedural history

         Appellant filed a notice of appeal on February 3, 2017. (Notice of Appeal.) On March 31, 2017, the clerk of court notified all parties that the bankruptcy court record “ha[d] been received or is available electronically” and directed the parties to “follow [the] briefing schedule as set forth in Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8018, ” specifically instructing that “appellant must serve and file a brief within [thirty] days of this notice . . . .” (Notice dated Mar. 31, 2017). On June 9, 2017, the Trustee filed a letter with the Court requesting that the appeal be dismissed for Appellant's failure to file a brief.[1] (Letter dated June 9, 2017, Docket Entry No. 4.) On August 7, 2017, the Court issued an order noting that “Plaintiff-appellant has failed to file a brief in accordance with Rule 8018 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, ” and directing Appellant to file a brief “or risk dismissal of the action for failure to prosecute.” (Order dated Aug. 7, 2017.) The Court issued a second warning on October 10, 2017. (Order dated Oct. 10, 2017.) Appellant has not complied with either order.

         II. Discussion

         a. Standard of review

         District courts have appellate jurisdiction over “final judgments, orders, and decrees” entered in bankruptcy court. 28 U.S.C. § 158(a). On appeal, a district court reviews the legal conclusions of a bankruptcy court de novo, and its factual findings for clear error. Wenegieme v. Macco, No. 17-CV-1218, 2018 WL 334032, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 9, 2018) (citing In re Bayshore Wire Prods. Corp., 209 F.3d 100, 103 (2d Cir. 2000)). “A finding is ‘clearly erroneous' when, on consideration of the record as a whole, the reviewing court ‘is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been ...


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