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In re Morgan

*fn*: December 10, 1981.

IN THE MATTER OF: JEROME MORGAN, BANKRUPT-APPELLANT


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 76 B 3003 -- Hubert L. Will, Judge.

Before Sprecher, Bauer and Wood, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

This appeal raises the question of whether the bankruptcy court has the jurisdiction to grant a revocation of discharge in bankruptcy at the request of the bankrupt. The bankruptcy judge and the district court both ruled that the bankruptcy court lacked the authority to order the relief sought. We agree.

In 1976 appellant filed a petition for voluntary bankruptcy. In his petition appellant listed secured debts of $23,000.00 and unsecured debts of $3,064.29. The bankruptcy court entered an order of discharge in June 1976. In May 1978 appellant filed a petition requesting the bankruptcy court to vacate the discharge. In that petition, appellant alleged that he had repaid "almost all of the creditors listed in his Petition (for voluntary bankruptcy) and notified the remainder of his creditors of his willingness to pay off his debt to them." Appellant added that he had originally filed for bankruptcy because he was involved in divorce proceedings and allegedly had been counseled that such action was the only remedy to his financial problems.

The bankruptcy court in a minute order denied the motion to vacate the petition because it had neither inherent nor statutory authority to vacate its earlier discharge. On appeal to the district court the appellant raised two issues: (1) that the authority granted to the bankruptcy court under 11 U.S.C. ยง 11(a)(12) to "discharge or refuse to discharge bankrupts, (and) set aside discharges ..." was broad enough to encompass the relief requested; and (2) that a bankruptcy judge has inherent equitable authority to revoke his discharge.

The trial court rejected both arguments in ruling that the bankruptcy judge lacked jurisdiction to grant the requested relief. Appellant raises these same two issues on appeal from the district court order.

After full examination of the appellant's brief and the record on appeal alone, under the authority of Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 34 and Circuit Rule 14(f), we hereby affirm the district court order appealed from and adopt the opinion of the district court entered on March 19, 1980.

APPENDIX

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Jerome Morgan, the bankrupt, appeals from an order of the bankruptcy court denying his petition to vacate a discharge in bankruptcy. The sole issue in this appeal is whether the bankruptcy court has jurisdiction to vacate a discharge in bankruptcy upon the petition of the bankrupt. For the reasons set forth below, we conclude that a bankruptcy court does not have jurisdiction to vacate an earlier discharge under the circumstances presented in this case. We therefore deny this appeal.

I.

On April 9, 1976, Jerome Morgan filed a petition for voluntary bankruptcy. Shortly thereafter, on June 3, 1976, the bankruptcy court issued an order discharging him.

Since his discharge, Mr. Morgan has allegedly attempted to reaffirm and pay the debts that were discharged. According to Mr. Morgan, he has already paid most of his creditors and has notified the remaining ones of his willingness to pay his debts to them.

In May 1978, Mr. Morgan petitioned the bankruptcy court to vacate the earlier discharge. This petition was denied on February 21, 1979. In denying the petition, the bankruptcy court stated that it did not have jurisdiction, under the circumstances in this case, to vacate its earlier discharge, adding that "the ...


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