A party in a bankruptcy matter has the right to file an appeal if they believe the court’s order demonstrates an error in judgment. It is critical for a party seeking an appeal to comply with the proper procedure, though otherwise, their arguments may be disregarded regardless of whether they have merit. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a California court, in a matter in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the debtor’s bankruptcy case, in part, due to his failure to abide by the procedural rules. If you are interested in seeking debt relief via bankruptcy, it is smart to meet with a seasoned California bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your rights.
The History of the Case
It is reported that the debtor filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in January 2019. A Chapter 13 trustee was appointed in his case, and two financial institutions were named as creditors. Two years later, the trustee filed a motion to dismiss the debtor’s bankruptcy case. The creditors filed a joint reply, and the debtor filed a response in opposition to the motion. Prior to the hearing on the matter, the court issued a tentative ruling granting the motion and advising the parties that their appearances were required at the hearing. Allegedly, however, the debtor failed to appear. The court granted the motion, dismissing the debtor’s case. The debtor then appealed.
Consequences of Failing to Comply with the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
On appeal, the court affirmed the bankruptcy court ruling due to the debtor’s failure to provide an adequate record. The court explained that the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules) dictate the procedure parties must follow on appeal from an order, decree, or judgment of a bankruptcy court or in a United States district court.
The Bankruptcy Rules require, in part, that a party that files an appeal must serve and file excerpts of the record as an appendix along with its brief. The appendix must contain the notice of appeal, any relevant transcript, the relevant entries in the bankruptcy docket, the complaint, answer, and other similar filings, the order form which the appeal is taken, and any other relevant findings, orders, or pleadings.
An appellant bears the burden of proof on an appeal and is charged with the duty of filing an adequate record. As such, the failure to submit a sufficient record, in and of itself, may be grounds for the dismissal of the appeal. In the subject case, the debtor failed to file an appendix. Thus, he failed to provide an adequate record on appeal, and the court, therefore, affirmed the bankruptcy court’s ruling,
Speak to a Knowledgeable California Bankruptcy Attorney
In bankruptcy proceedings, as in most legal matters, it is vital for parties to follow the rules of procedure to avoid unintentionally waiving their rights. If you are overwhelmed by debts, you may be eligible to seek respite via bankruptcy, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Matthew D. Roy is a knowledgeable California bankruptcy lawyer who can assess your circumstances and advise you of your options for pursuing a discharge of your debts. You can reach Mr. Roy via the form online or by calling (916) 361-6028 to set up a conference.