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Moushigian v. Marderosian

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

September 3, 2014

PAUL P. MOUSHIGIAN, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
JOHN R. MARDEROSIAN, and ELIZABETH A. MARDEROSIAN, Defendants, Appellees

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. F. Dennis Saylor IV, U.S. District Judge.

Bruce H. Matson, with whom Paul G. Boylan and LeClair Ryan, P.C., were on brief, for appellants.

Henry C. Ellis, for appellees.

Before Howard and Kayatta, Circuit Judges, McCafferty,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 124

McCAFFERTY, District Judge.

Appellant Paul Moushigian was a creditor of the Appellees, who were Chapter 7 debtors, until the bankruptcy court granted them a discharge. Moushigian now challenges two orders issued by the bankruptcy court after it granted the discharge. Our review is plenary, " without formal deference to the district court's intermediate affirmance." Redondo Constr. Corp. v. P.R. Highway & Transp. Auth. (In re Redondo Constr. Corp.), 678 F.3d 115, 120 (1st Cir. 2012). We approach the bankruptcy court's rulings of law de novo, see id., " but its factual findings are examined only for clear error," id. at 120-21. We affirm.

I. Background

Neither party disputes the recitation of the factual background in the district court's memorandum and order, Moushigian v. Marderosian, No. 13-10137-FDS, 2013 WL 5564189 (D. Mass. Oct. 7, 2013). Accordingly, we will base our description of the facts largely on that order.

Moushigian sued the Marderosians in state court in Massachusetts. He asserted claims for, among other things, embezzlement and fraud. Approximately seventeen months later, the Marderosians filed for bankruptcy. The state court stayed Moushigian's action.

In the bankruptcy court, on July 25, 2012, Moushigian filed a pleading titled: " Motion By Creditor for Relief from Stay and Related Relief" (" motion for relief from stay" ). In it, he sought three forms of relief: (1) a declaration from the bankruptcy court " that [his] continued prosecution of [his] claim in the Barnstable civil action [is] deemed sufficient to satisfy the deadline established herein for commencement of an adversary proceeding [pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)] for challenge to dischargeability of any debt so established" (for simplicity's sake, we will refer to this form of relief as " deeming relief" ); (2) relief from the automatic stay; and (3) a ten-day extension of the August 6, 2012, deadline for filing a § 523(a) complaint, in the event the bankruptcy court denied his request for relief from the stay. This motion was unopposed.

On August 2, 2012, Moushigian filed another pleading in the bankruptcy court titled " Request for Expedited Determination and Related Relief" (" motion to expedite" ). In it, he asked the bankruptcy court for an expedited ruling on his motion for relief from stay and also asked that the deadline for filing a § 523(a) complaint be set at ten days " from the grant or denial of this request."

The bankruptcy court denied the motion to expedite on the day it was filed, but added this to its order:

To the extent that Creditor Moushigian seeks an extension of the deadline in which to file a complaint objecting to the Debtor's discharge or the dischargeability of certain debts, it is extended to September 27, 2012. Any further request to extend that deadline shall be made ...

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