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[DO NOT PUBLISH]

IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS



FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
________________________

No. 13-15422
Non-Argument Calendar
________________________

D.C. Docket Nos. 5:13-cv-00191-ACC; 6:12-bkc-01140-KSJ

In Re: J OSEPH P. BROWN, J R.,
TERRI LYNN BROWN,

Debtors.
________________________________________________________

J OSEPH P. BROWN, J R.,
TERRI LYNN BROWN,

Plaintiffs - Appellants,

versus

J PMORGAN CHASE BANK, NA,

Defendant - Appellee.
________________________

Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Middle District of Florida
________________________
(J uly 22, 2014)
Case: 13-15422 Date Filed: 07/22/2014 Page: 1 of 7
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Before PRYOR, MARTIN and COX, Circuit J udges.

PER CURIAM:
In this bankruptcy appeal, J oseph Brown, J r. and Terri Lynn Brown (the
Browns) appeal the district courts affirmance of the bankruptcy courts orders
abstaining from hearing their adversary proceeding and voluntarily dismissing their
bankruptcy case. The Browns contend that the bankruptcy court erred in
abstaining because the motion to abstain was filed past the deadline provided in the
bankruptcy courts local rules. The Browns also contend that the bankruptcy court
coerced them into dismissing their bankruptcy case. Because we find no merit in
either contention, we affirm.
I. Facts and Procedural History
A. Bankruptcy Court Proceedings
The Browns filed a pro se Chapter 13 petition for bankruptcy. J PMorgan
Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase) subsequently filed a proof of claim alleging
ownership of a note and mortgage on the Brownss property. The Browns objected
to Chases proof of claim and asserted that Chase lacked standing to enforce the
note and mortgage. The bankruptcy court directed the parties to mediate their
dispute, but mediation ended in an impasse.
Subsequently, the Browns initiated a separate adversary proceeding against
Chase contending that Chase lacked authority to enforce the note and mortgage.
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The bankruptcy court consolidated the Chapter 13 proceeding and the adversary
proceeding. Chase moved to dismiss the adversary complaint or, alternatively, for
voluntary abstention pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1334. Chase argued abstention was
appropriate because the issue of whether Chase had standing to foreclose was
primarily a matter of state law and Chase was already litigating this issue against
the Browns in a pending foreclosure action in state court.
The bankruptcy court denied Chases motion to dismiss but granted the
motion to abstain (the abstention order). The bankruptcy court concluded that
abstention was appropriate because: (1) the Brownss claims were matters of state
law; (2) the claims were the subject of a foreclosure action that had been pending
in state court when the bankruptcy case was filed; and (3) allowing the state court
to resolve the mortgage issues would not adversely affect the Brownss efforts in
their Chapter 13 case. The Browns moved for reconsideration of the abstention
order, contending that Chase had not filed its motion for abstention within the time
permitted by Local Rule 5011.
During a hearing, the bankruptcy court denied the motion for
reconsideration. The court acknowledged that Chases motion for abstention was
untimely under Local Rule 5011, but concluded that it nevertheless had the power
to abstain under its sua sponte authority and federal law. The court then expressed
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concern with requiring the Browns to continue making payments each month to the
mortgage holder under the Chapter 13 Plan when the foreclosure issues were
returning to state court. The court specifically asked the Browns:
Is there any reason why you care to stay in the Chapter 13 case?
Thats really my question to you. If Im not going to let you resolve
the dispute here, which Im not with all due deference and out of
respect, Im not do you even want to keep this case alive? I mean, I
can get you all that money back and you can Im not going to
impose an injunction against re-filing if you need to come back.

(R. at 285.) Mr. Brown responded, Yes, your honor. That would be totally fair.
Id. Accordingly, the bankruptcy court denied the motion for reconsideration in the
adversary proceeding, dismissed the Chapter 13 proceeding, and directed the
trustee to return all monies already paid by the Browns toward the mortgage debt.
The Browns appealed to the district court the denial of their motion for
reconsideration of the abstention order and the dismissal of the Chapter 13
proceeding.
B. District Court Proceedings
On appeal to the district court, the Browns argued pro se that the bankruptcy
court should not have abstained from their adversary proceeding, because they had
a right to have their claims resolved in bankruptcy. They argued the dismissal of
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their Chapter 13 proceeding was improper, because the bankruptcy court had
coerced them into accepting the dismissal.
The district court affirmed, finding the bankruptcy court did not abuse its
discretion in deciding to abstain from hearing the Brownss adversary proceeding.
The district court found that the bankruptcy court did not apply the wrong legal
standard or use improper procedures. In addition, none of the bankruptcy courts
factual findings in support of the decision to abstain were found to be clearly
erroneous.
Regarding the dismissal of the Chapter 13 case, the district court found the
record did not support the Brownss contention that the bankruptcy court had
coerced them to accept the dismissal. Rather, the transcript from the hearing on
the motion for reconsideration demonstrated that the Browns had agreed that a
dismissal of the Chapter 13 case, without an injunction, would be fair. The
Browns contend they had been intimidated during the hearing: because they had to
wait for an hour and a half; because there was a star next to their name on the
docket sheet; because the other debtors and attorneys left the courtroom; and
because a federal marshal came in the room and sat near the door. The district
court concluded that, taken together, those facts merely suggested the bankruptcy
court was in session that day.
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The Browns now appeal the district courts final judgment affirming the
bankruptcy courts abstention orders and dismissal order.
1

II. DISCUSSION
A. We lack jurisdiction to review the bankruptcy courts decision to abstain
under 28 U.S.C. 1334(c)(1).
28 U.S.C. 1334(d) provides that [a]ny decision to abstain or not to abstain
made under section (c) . . . is not reviewable by appeal or otherwise by the court of
appeals . . . Accordingly, we lack jurisdiction to consider this issue.
B. The bankruptcy court did not err by dismissing the Brownss case.
The Browns contend that the district court erred by voluntarily dismissing
their Chapter 13 case. According to the Browns, even though they agreed to
dismissal, the bankruptcy court coerced them into accepting the dismissal. We
review the bankruptcy court's order independently of the district court, reviewing
conclusions of law de novo and factual findings under a clearly erroneous
standard. In re Bilzerian, 153 F.3d 1278, 1281 (11th Cir. 1998).

1
In the Statement of the Issues portion of their initial brief, the Browns also argue that
the district judge should have recused herself from the proceedings based upon her investment
relationship with Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. and that the district court erred by denying their
motion to stay the bankruptcy courts orders. The Browns have failed to provide any supporting
argument or authority regarding these issues, and, thus, they have abandoned them. See Sapuppo
v. Allstate Floridian Ins. Co., 739 F.3d 678, 681 (11th Cir. 2014) (holding an appellant
abandons a claim when he either makes only passing references to it or raises it in a perfunctory
manner without supporting arguments and authority).

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As the district court noted, the facts set forth by the Browns to establish
coercionthe delay in entering the courtroom, the star next to their name, the
removal of other debtors and attorneys, and the presence of a federal marshal
indicate only that the bankruptcy court was in session that day. A review of the
transcript from the hearing demonstrates the bankruptcy court did not use
threatening or manipulative language or otherwise act in a coercive manner.
Rather, the bankruptcy court thoroughly explained its decision and gave the
Browns an opportunity to ask questions or make comments.
Accordingly, the bankruptcy court did not coerce the Browns and properly
dismissed the Chapter 13 proceeding.
AFFIRMED.


Case: 13-15422 Date Filed: 07/22/2014 Page: 7 of 7
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
ELBERT PARR TUTTLE COURT OF APPEALS BUILDING
56 ForsythStreet, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia30303
JohnLey
Clerk of Court


J uly 22, 2014
For rules and forms visit
www.ca11.uscourts.gov

MEMORANDUM TO COUNSEL OR PARTIES

Appeal Number: 13-15422-FF
Case Style: J oseph Brown, J r., et al v. J PMorgan Chase Bank, NA
District Court Docket No: 5:13-cv-00191-ACC
Secondary Case Number: 6:12-bkc-01140-KSJ

This Court requires all counsel to file documents electronically using the Electronic Case Files ("ECF")
system, unless exempted for good cause. Enclosed is a copy of the court's decision filed today in this appeal.
J udgment has this day been entered pursuant to FRAP 36. The court's mandate will issue at a later date in
accordance with FRAP 41(b).
The time for filing a petition for rehearing is governed by 11th Cir. R. 40-3, and the time for filing a petition for
rehearing en banc is governed by 11th Cir. R. 35-2. Except as otherwise provided by FRAP 25(a) for inmate filings,
a petition for rehearing or for rehearing en banc is timely only if received in the clerk's office within the time
specified in the rules. Costs are governed by FRAP 39 and 11th Cir.R. 39-1. The timing, format, and content of a
motion for attorney's fees and an objection thereto is governed by 11th Cir. R. 39-2 and 39-3.
Please note that a petition for rehearing en banc must include in the Certificate of Interested Persons a complete list
of all persons and entities listed on all certificates previously filed by any party in the appeal. See 11th Cir. R. 26.1-
1. In addition, a copy of the opinion sought to be reheard must be included in any petition for rehearing or petition
for rehearing en banc. See 11th Cir. R. 35-5(k) and 40-1 .
Counsel appointed under the CRIMINAL J USTICE ACT must file a CJ A voucher claiming compensation for time
spent on the appeal no later than 60 days after either issuance of mandate or filing with the U.S. Supreme Court of a
petition for a writ of certiorari (whichever is later).
Pursuant to Fed.R.App.P. 39, costs taxed against appellants.
The Bill of Costs form is available on the internet at www.ca11.uscourts.gov
For questions concerning the issuance of the decision of this court, please call the number referenced in the signature
block below. For all other questions, please call J anet K. Spradlin, FF at (404) 335-6178.

Sincerely,

J OHN LEY, Clerk of Court

Reply to: J eff R. Patch
Phone #: 404-335-6161

OPIN-1A Issuance of Opinion With Costs

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