United States District Court, District of Columbia
IN RE KIMBERLY BUDD, DEBTOR.
KIMBERLY BUDD, Appellee. AIHUA PALMOUR, Appellant,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
G. SULLIVAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
November 2016, Appellant Aihua Palmour initiated an adversary
proceeding against Debtor-Appellee Kimberly Budd in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia
(“Bankruptcy Court”). After a trial, the
Bankruptcy Court dismissed Ms. Palmour's complaint.
Months later, the Bankruptcy Court also denied Ms.
Palmour's motion for reconsideration. On February 5,
2018, Ms. Palmour, proceeding pro se, appealed the
Bankruptcy Court's dismissal to this Court. Pending
before the Court is Ms. Budd's motion to dismiss Ms.
Palmour's appeal. After considering the motion, the
response and reply thereto, the record, and the applicable
law, the Court hereby GRANTS the motion to
2012, Ms. Palmour sued Ms. Budd in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia for breach of contract arising out of a
purportedly fraudulent real estate transaction. A.R., ECF No.
2-1 at 79-80. In May 2013, Superior Court Judge Michael
Rankin entered a $63, 788 judgment against Ms. Budd.
Id. at 78. Before Ms. Palmour could collect, Ms.
Budd filed for bankruptcy and listed Ms. Palmour's
judgment as a dischargeable, consumer debt. See In re
Budd, Bankruptcy No. 16-429-SMT. In response, Ms.
Palmour initiated an adversary proceeding in Bankruptcy Court
on November 25, 2016. See Palmour v. Budd, Adversary
Proceeding No. 16-10039-SMT. In her complaint, Ms. Palmour
argued that her $63, 788 judgment against Ms. Budd was not
discharged by Ms. Budd's bankruptcy because Ms. Budd had
willfully and maliciously injured her property via a
fraudulent real estate investment scheme. See A.R.,
ECF No. 2-1 at 1-5 (citing 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2), (6)).
trial, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed Ms. Palmour's
complaint on August 3, 2017. See Id. at 203. On
August 16, 2017, Ms. Palmour filed a motion for
reconsideration, then proceeding pro se. See
Id. at 207-15. On December 29, 2017, the Bankruptcy
Court denied Ms. Palmour's motion for reconsideration,
id. at 239-64, but its order was not entered on the
docket until January 3, 2018, see Docket No. 25,
Adversary Proceeding No. 16-10039. On February 2, 2018, Ms.
Palmour filed a notice of appeal. See ECF No. 1;
A.R., ECF No. 2-1 at 265-66; Docket No. 27, Adversary
response, Ms. Budd filed a motion to dismiss Ms.
Palmour's appeal. See Appellee's Mot., ECF
No. 4. The motion is now ripe for review.
Budd argues that the appeal must be dismissed because Ms.
Palmour failed to file a notice of appeal within fourteen
days of the Bankruptcy Court's order denying her motion
for reconsideration, as required by Federal Rule of
Bankruptcy Procedure 8002. See Appellee's Mot.,
ECF No. 4. Accordingly, Ms. Budd argues that this Court lacks
jurisdiction over Ms. Palmour's appeal because failure to
file a notice of appeal within the fourteen days is a
“jurisdictional barrier.” Id. at 4. In
her response, Ms. Palmour argues that she never received
notice of the Bankruptcy Court's order denying her motion
for reconsideration. See Appellant's Opp'n,
ECF No. 5. She contends that she filed a notice of appeal
only two days after she called the clerk's office and
learned that the Bankruptcy Court had denied her motion.
See Id. at 1. Because her failure to timely appeal
“was due to the court's error, ” she argues
that this Court should consider her appeal. Id.
U.S.C. § 158(a) confers jurisdiction on federal district
courts to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and
decrees “entered in cases and proceedings referred to
the bankruptcy judges.” Section 158(c)(2) provides that
appeals “shall be taken . . . in the time provided by
Rule 8002 of the Bankruptcy Rules.” Federal Rule of
Bankruptcy Procedure 8002(a) mandates that “a notice of
appeal must be filed with the bankruptcy clerk within 14 days
after the entry of the judgment, order, or decree being
appealed.” Appellants may toll the Rule 8002 appeal
deadline by filing one of four motions within fourteen days
after the judgment is entered: (1) a motion to amend pursuant
to Bankruptcy Rule 7052; (2) a motion to alter or amend the
judgment under Bankruptcy Rule 9023; (3) a motion for a new
trial under Bankruptcy Rule 9023; or, as applicable here, (4)
a motion for relief under Bankruptcy Rule 9024-that is,
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Fed.R.Bankr.P.
8002(b). If the appellant files one of these motions, as Ms.
Palmour did when she filed her motion for reconsideration,
“the time to file an appeal runs for all parties from
the entry of the order disposing of the . . . motion.”
Id. Thus, Ms. Palmour had fourteen days to appeal
the Bankruptcy Court's judgment once it denied her motion
“the Bankruptcy Court may extend the time to file a
notice of appeal upon a party's motion.”
Fed.R.Bankr.P. 8002(d)(1). The Bankruptcy Court may extend the
fourteen-day deadline if the appellant's motion is filed
“within the time prescribed by this rule; or within 21
days after that time, if the party shows excusable
undisputed that Ms. Palmour did not file her notice of appeal
within fourteen days of the Bankruptcy Court's January 3,
2018 order denying her motion for reconsideration, as
required by Bankruptcy Rule 8002(a). See
Appellant's Opp'n, ECF No. 5; see also
Docket, Adversary Proceeding No. 16-10039 (notice of appeal
filed on February 2, 2018). It is also undisputed that Ms.
Palmour did not file a motion for an extension of time within
fourteen days of the Bankruptcy Court's January 3, 2018
order, or within twenty-one days after that time, as required
by Bankruptcy Rule 8002(d). See Id. At issue, then,
is whether this Court may consider Ms. Palmour's appeal
notwithstanding her undisputed failure to adhere to Rule
Budd argues that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Ms.
Palmour's appeal because Rule 8002 is “mandatory
and jurisdictional” and thus, the Court may not
consider whether Ms. Palmour received notice of the
Bankruptcy Court's order denying her motion for
reconsideration. Appellee's Reply, ECF No. 6 at 2. Ms.
Palmour does not respond to this argument, beyond asserting
her lack of notice. See Appellant's Opp'n,
ECF No. 5.
to comply with a jurisdictional time prescription
“deprives a court of adjudicatory authority over the
case, necessitating dismissal.” Hamer v.
Neighborhood Hous. Servs. of Chicago, 138 S.Ct. 13, 17
(2017)(citations omitted). Because Congress alone “may
determine a lower federal court's subject-matter
jurisdiction, ” id., a “time
prescription governing the transfer of adjudicatory authority
from one Article III court to another” is
jurisdictional only if it “appears in a statute,
” id. at 20 (quotations and citations
omitted). On the other hand, a “time limit not
prescribed by Congress ranks as a mandatory claim-processing
rule.” Id. at 17. Of course, 28 U.S.C. §
158, which references Bankruptcy Rule 8002, does not govern
appeals from Article III courts. Instead, it governs the
transfer of adjudicatory authority from an Article I court
(the bankruptcy court) to either an Article III court (the
district court) or another Article I court (the bankruptcy
appellate panel). “In cases not involving the time
bound transfer of adjudicatory authority from one Article III
court to another, ” the Supreme Court has applied the
“clear-statement rule.” Hamer, 138 S.Ct.
at 20 n.9. The clear-statement rule provides that
“‘[a] rule is jurisdictional if the Legislature
clearly states that a threshold limitation on a statute's
scope shall count as jurisdictional.'” Id.
(quoting Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 141
wake of Hamer, several courts have concluded that
the time limitation in Bankruptcy Rule 8002 is jurisdictional
because the deadline is imposed by 28 U.S.C. §
158(c)(2), which contains a clear statement of congressional
intent. See, e.g., In re Jackson, 585 B.R.
410, 416-19 (B.A.P. 6th Cir. 2018) (“Every circuit
court that has considered this question has come to the
conclusion that the time limit for appeals from bankruptcy
court decisions is statutory.”). However, the Court
need not determine at this time whether the time limit in
Rule 8002 is jurisdictional. Assuming the appeal deadline is
not jurisdictional, it is instead a mandatory
claim-processing rule. See Hamer, 138 S.Ct. at
17-18. As such, the Court must still enforce the time limit,
as it was properly invoked. See Id. (“if
properly invoked, mandatory claim-processing rules must be
enforced”). Indeed, “claim-processing rules thus
assure relief to a party properly raising them, but do not
compel the same result if the party forfeits them.”
Eberhart v. UnitedStates,546 U.S. 12, 19
(2005) (per curiam). Therefore, because Ms. Budd
properly invoked Rule 8002, the Court must enforce it here.
See Miller v. District of Columbia, 891 F.Supp.2d 8,
11 n.4 (D.D.C. ...