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Taal v. St. Mary's Bank

United States District Court, First Circuit

August 8, 2013

Baboucar B. Taal
v.
St. Mary's Bank, Discover Bank, and Niederman, Stanzel & Lindsey Opinion No. 2013 DNH 105

Baboucar B. Taal, pro se

Gregory T. Uliasz, Esq. Adam Zlotnick, Esq.

Jay M. Niederman, Esq.

Lawrence P. Sumski, Esq.

Geraldine L. Karonis, Esq.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Paul Barbadoro United States District Judge

Baboucar Taal appeals from a Bankruptcy Court ruling dismissing his Chapter 13 petition. Taal filed his brief more than a month late. The brief is largely unintelligible and fails to comply with Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 8010(a)(1). Appellee St. Mary’s Bank (“SMB”) has moved to strike Taal’s brief and dismiss his appeal. I determine that: (1) Taal’s untimely filing was the result of excusable neglect; (2) his brief must nevertheless be stricken because it is unintelligible and fails to comply with Bankruptcy Court Rules; and (3) Taal will be given 14 days to file a brief that clearly sets forth his appellate arguments and complies with Rule 8010(a)(1). Accordingly, I grant in part and deny in part SMB’s motion to strike and dismiss. (Doc. No. 21.)[1]

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Taal filed a notice of appeal from a bankruptcy court decision on April 23, 2013. Doc. No. 1. On May 2, 2013, he filed a “Motion to Amend / Alter ‘Motion to Stay Pending Appeal’ Order, ” Doc. No. 9, which I denied on May 21, 2013. See Endorsed Order dated May 21, 2013. On May 20, 2013, Taal filed a Motion to Compel Production of Discovery. Doc. No. 12. I denied that motion on June 24, 2013. See Endorsed Order dated June 24, 2013. Taal finally submitted his appeals brief, Doc. No. 18, on June 28.

On July 3, SMB filed a motion to strike Taal’s brief and dismiss the case for failure to comply with the briefing schedule in Rule 8009 or the briefing requirements set out in Rule 8010. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8009, 8010; Doc. No. 21. NSL and Discover Bank joined SMB’s motion to strike and dismiss. Doc. Nos. 23, 30. Taal neither filed a response, nor offered any explanation for his failure to timely file a brief.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

This court has jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and decrees issued in bankruptcy court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1). Generally, when reviewing a decision by a bankruptcy court, the district court upholds findings of fact unless they are clearly erroneous, and reviews legal conclusions de novo. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8013; Palmacci v. Umpierrez, 121 F.3d 781, 785 (1st Cir. 1997); Askenaizer v. Moate, 406 B.R. 444, 447 (D.N.H. 2009). In this case, however, the appellees responded to Taal’s appeal by raising the threshold argument that the appeal should be dismissed for failure to comply with the briefing schedule and briefing requirements in the Bankruptcy Rules. Because I strike Taal’s brief for failure to comply with Rule 8010(a), I do not address the merits of his appeal. See Hermosilla v. Hermosilla, 447 B.R. 661, 664 (D. Mass. 2011).

III. ANALYSIS

The briefing schedule for a bankruptcy appeal to a federal district court is established by law. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8009. According to Rule 8009, an appellant has fourteen days after filing a notice of appeal within which to file a supporting brief. Id. at 8009(a)(1). Taal’s appeal was entered on the docket on April 24, 2013. See Doc. No. 1. Thus, his brief should have been filed by May 8, 2013. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. ...


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