(U.S. Sup. Ct. May 4, 2015)
The Supreme Court holds that an order denying confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan is not a final order that the debtor can immediately appeal. The debtor submitted a Chapter 13 plan that split the mortgage holder’s claim into a secured claim and an unsecured claim. The debtor proposed to pay only a small portion of the unsecured claim and to pay the secured claim in full but long after the plan period. The bankruptcy court declined confirmation, and the debtor appealed to the BAP for the First Circuit. The BAP first ruled that it was not a final order but then nevertheless reviewed the interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1). The BAP affirmed. The debtor then sought review in the Court of Appeals, which recognized there was a split among the circuits on the issue of whether an order denying confirmation was a final appealable order. It ultimately sided with the majority. The court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because it was not a final order from the bankruptcy court and the BAP had not certified the appeal. The debtor then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court holds that an order denying confirmation is not a final order subject to appeal, as there is no conclusion to a “proceeding” at that point. The debtor can submit a revised plan and the status quo remains the same in the interim. On the other hand a dismissal following denial of confirmation or confirmation itself does alter the status quo and thus concludes the “proceeding.” Opinion below.
Author: Matt Lindblom