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Brandt v. Leasing One Corporation

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 6, 2014

William A. Brandt, Jr., solely in his capacity as Plan Administrator for Equipment Acquisition Resources, Inc.,
v.
Leasing One Corporation.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the parties' motions to withdraw the bankruptcy reference, motions for leave to file interlocutory appeals, requests for certification, and motions to vacate orders. For the reasons stated below, the motions to withdraw the bankruptcy reference, motions for leave to file interlocutory appeals, requests for certification, and the motions to vacate orders are denied without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

On October 23, 2009, debtor Equipment Acquisition Resources, Inc. (EAR) filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois Case 09-B-39937 (Bankruptcy Case). Plaintiff William A. Brandt, Jr., acting as EAR's Plan Administrator, subsequently filed adversary complaints against multiple Defendants in the Bankruptcy Case. Specifically, in 2011, Brandt filed adversary complaints against Defendants Charter Airlines, LLC (Charter) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2110, Rohr-Alpha, Inc. (Rohr) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2147, Katie Malone in adversary proceeding 11-A-2171, Dana Malone in adversary proceeding 11-A-2179, Richard Drucker in adversary proceeding 11-A-2181, Shirley Drucker in adversary proceeding 11-A-2182, Ameristar Casino East Chicago, LLC (Ameristar) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2185, Suntrust Leasing Corporation (Suntrust) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2201, Cory Doran (Doran) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2189, U.S. Bancorp, Inc. (U.S. Bancorp) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2196, American Bank FSB (American Bank) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2200, The CIT Group/Equipment Financing, Inc. (CIT Group) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2203, Robert Langford and RAL Associates in adversary proceeding 11-A-2209, KLC Financial, Inc. (KLC Financial) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2222, Leasing One Corporation (Leasing One) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2224, IBM Credit, LLC (IBM) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2227, Pentech Financial Services, Inc. (Pentech) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2231, People's Capital and Leasing, Corp. (People's Capital) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2233, Plainscapital Leasing, LLC (Plainscapital) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2236, ICON Ear, LLC and ICON Ear II, LLC (ICON) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2239, and TD Banknorth Leasing Corp (TD Banknorth) in adversary proceeding 11-A-2582.

In January of 2014, the Bankruptcy Case was reassigned to a new bankruptcy judge. Following such reassignment, Defendants Suntrust in case 14 C 744, IBM in case 14 C 871, Plainscapital in case 14 C 965, KLC Financial in case 14 C 1065, Pentech in case 14 C 1083, American Bank in case 14 C 1087, CIT Group in case 14 C 1091, People's Capital in case 14 C 1092, Leasing One in case 14 C 1093, and ICON in case 14 C 2192 filed motions to withdraw the bankruptcy reference of the adversary proceedings pending in the Bankruptcy Case. Plaintiff also filed motions to withdraw the bankruptcy reference of adversary proceedings pending in the Bankruptcy Case relating to Defendants Ameristar in case 14 C 2260, Dana Malone in case 14 C 2261, Robert Langford and RAL Associates in case 14 C 2263, Doran in case 14 C 2264, Charter in case 14 C 2265, Shirley Drucker in case 14 C 2266, Richard Drucker in case 14 C 2267, Katie Malone in case 14 C 2268, and Rohr in case 14 C 2353. Plainscapital in case 14 C 966, People's Capital in case 14 C 978, Leasing One in case 14 C 979, CIT Group in case 14 C 980, Pentech in case 14 C 988, TD Banknorth in case 14 C 989, KLC Financial in case 14 C 992, American Bank in case 14 C 993, IBM in case 14 C 994 and U.S. Bancorp in case 14 C 1025 all filed motions for leave to file interlocutory appeals. People's Capital in case 14 C 978, Pentech in case 14 C 988, and KLC Financial in case 14 C 992 have also filed requests for certification. Additionally, Suntrust in case 14 C 744 and IBM in case 14 C 871 have filed motions to vacate orders in the Bankruptcy Case. Those of the above referenced cases, which were not originally assigned to the undersigned judge, were reassigned to the undersigned judge because they involve related bankruptcy proceedings.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(1), "[b]ankruptcy judges may hear and determine all cases under title 11 and all core proceedings arising under title 11, or arising in a case under title 11, referred under subsection (a)..., and may enter appropriate orders and judgments, subject to review under" 28 U.S.C. § 158. 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(d) a "district court may withdraw, in whole or in part, any case or proceeding..., on its own motion or on timely motion of any party, for cause shown." Id. In addition, "[t]he district court shall, on timely motion of a party, so withdraw a proceeding if the court determines that resolution of the proceeding requires consideration of both title 11 and other laws of the United States regulating organizations or activities affecting interstate commerce." Id .; see also In re Coe-Truman Technologies, Inc., 214 B.R. 183, 185 (N.D. Ill. 1997)(stating that "withdrawal of the reference is mandatory only where resolution of the claims will require substantial and material interpretation of a non-title 11 statute, or which involve an analysis of significant open and unresolved issues regarding non-Title 11 law" and "withdrawal of the reference is not required where resolution of the proceeding involves the mere application of well-settled non-bankruptcy law to a new factual setting")(internal quotations omitted)(quoting In re Vicars Ins. Agency, Inc., 96 F.3d 959, 954 (7th Cir. 1996) and In re IQ Telecommunications Inc., 70 B.R. 742, 745 (N.D. Ill. 1987)). In deciding whether to grant a motion to withdraw reference, a district court should consider factors such as "whether the parties requested a jury trial; whether the proceeding is core or non-core; judicial economy and convenience; conservation of debtor and creditor resources; promoting the uniformity and efficiency of bankruptcy administration; and the reduction of forum shopping and confusion." In re Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2013 WL 660018, at *1 (E.D. Wis. 2013)(internal quotations omitted)(quoting In re Beale, 410 B.R. 613, 616 (N.D. Ill. 2009)). The determination of whether an adversary proceeding involves a core or non-core proceedings is the most important factor' in determining whether there is cause for withdrawal" mainly because "a bankruptcy judge cannot enter a final judgment in a non-core proceeding." In re Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2013 WL 660018 at *1 (quoting In re K & R Express Sys., Inc., 382 B.R. 443, 446 (N.D. Ill. 2007)). The burden rests upon "the movant to persuade the district court to withdraw the reference." In re New Energy Corp., 2013 WL 1192774, at *6 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. 2013).

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a), the district courts are provided with authority to hear bankruptcy appeals as follows:

(a) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals
(1) from final judgments, orders, and decrees;
(2) from interlocutory orders and decrees issued under section 1121(d) of title 11 increasing or reducing the time periods referred to in section 1121 of such title; and
(3) with leave of the court, from other interlocutory orders and decrees;
and, with leave of the court, from interlocutory orders and decrees, of bankruptcy judges entered in cases and proceedings referred to the bankruptcy judges under section 157 of this title. An appeal under this subsection shall be taken only to the district court for the judicial district in which the bankruptcy judge is serving.

Id. Courts generally look to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), which governs interlocutory appeals to the federal circuit courts for the standard that should be applied to a motion for leave to file an interlocutory appeal from bankruptcy proceedings. In re Eastern Livestock Co., LLC, 2013 WL 4479080, at *5 ...


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