United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
In re ROBERT J. SPENLINHAUER, individually and as trustee and beneficiary of RJS REALTY TRUST, C.C. CANAL REALTY TRUST, and CLASSIC AUTO REALTY TRUST, Chapter 11, Debtor.
THE COOPERATIVE BANK OF CAPECOD, Appellee. ROBERT J. SPENLINHAUER, Appellant, Bankruptcy Appeal No. 15-14124-FDS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON APPELLEE'S MOTION TO DISMISS BANKRUPTCY APPEAL
F. DENNIS SAYLOR, IV, District Judge.
This is an appeal from an order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. In 2006, debtor-appellant Robert Spenlinhauer entered into a $1.2 million revolving credit agreement with appellee the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. The loan was secured by a mortgage on Spenlinhauer's property in Osterville, Massachusetts. In December 2013, Spenlinhauer filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. At that point, he owed the bank nearly $1.2 million. In February 2014, the bank moved for relief from the automatic stay in order to foreclose on the property. The bankruptcy court granted that relief, and the bank scheduled a foreclosure sale.
In October 2015, before the foreclosure sale, the bankruptcy court granted Spenlinhauer's motion to reinstate the stay for 90 days, over the bank's objection. On November 6, 2015, the bankruptcy court issued an order directing the debtor to file an amended plan that would, among other things detailed below, provide for a sale of the Osterville property within 120 days after the plan's effective date.
Spenlinhauer has appealed that order. Specifically, Spenlinhauer is appealing only the part of the November 6 order that directs him to present a plan providing for a sale of the Osterville property. In his appeal, Spenlinhauer asks this Court to vacate "the order of the bankruptcy court ordering the sale of the [Osterville property] within 120 days of confirmation of a plan."
Before the Court is the bank's motion to dismiss Spenlinhauer's bankruptcy appeal as moot, or in the alternative, for an extension of time to respond to his appeal brief.
For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted.
I. Jurisdiction and Standard of Review
This Court has jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and decrees of the bankruptcy court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1). In reviewing the bankruptcy court's decision, this Court functions as an appellate court and is authorized to "affirm, modify, or reverse a bankruptcy judge's [order] or remand with instructions for further proceedings." In re Bernard L. Madoff Inv. Sec., LLC, 2016 WL 183492, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 14, 2016). The bankruptcy court's conclusions of law are reviewed de novo; its findings of fact are reviewed for clear error. See Stornawaye Fin. Corp. v. Hill (In re Hill), 562 F.3d 29, 32 (1st Cir. 2009) (citing In re Healthco Int'l, Inc., 132 F.3d 104, 107 (1st Cir. 1997)). Mixed questions of law and fact are also reviewed for clear error, "unless the bankruptcy court's analysis was based on a mistaken view of the legal principles involved." In re Carp, 340 F.3d 15, 22 (1st Cir. 2003).
The following facts are drawn from the bankruptcy court filings and the designated record on appeal.
In April 2006, Robert Spenlinhauer, individually and in his capacities as trustee and beneficiary of several trusts, executed a $1.2 million revolving credit agreement and note with the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. The note was secured by a mortgage on a property in Osterville, Massachusetts, owned by Spenlinhauer.
In August 2013, Spenlinhauer stopped making payments on the loan. The bank sent Spenlinhauer a notice of default, informing him of its intention to begin foreclosure proceedings on the Osterville property. On December 16, 2013, Spenlinhauer filed a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition. As of the bankruptcy filing date, the outstanding principal amount due on the loan was $1, 199, 978.
On February 28, 2014, the bank moved in the bankruptcy court for relief from the automatic stay in order to foreclose on the Osterville property. Spenlinhauer initially opposed that motion, but later withdrew his opposition. On July 23, 2014, the bankruptcy court granted the bank relief from the automatic stay in order for it to begin foreclosure proceedings.
After delays due, in part, to disputes between the bank and other creditors over the priority of liens on the Osterville property, the bank scheduled ...