United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
IN RE DEBRA DOUGLAS HARDIN, Debtor.
PATRICK S. LAYNG, UNITED STATES TRUSTEE, Appellee. KENNETH THOMPSON, Appellant,
Appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, Chapter 7, Case. No. 16-23443
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. ASPEN, District Court Judge
before us is the motion of Appellee Patrick S. Layng, United
States Trustee for Region 11 (“Trustee”), to
dismiss Appellant Kenneth Thompson's pro se bankruptcy
appeal. (Dkt. No. 5.) Also pending is Thompson's motion
for enlargement of time to file a notice of appeal instanter.
(Dkt. No. 8.) The Trustee argues that Thompson's appeal
should be dismissed and his motion should be denied because
his notice of appeal was untimely filed under 28 U.S.C.
§ 158(c)(2), and we lack jurisdiction to grant Thompson
the relief he seeks. For the following reasons, we grant the
Trustee's motion, deny Thompson's motion, and dismiss
21, 2016, Debra Douglas Hardin filed a voluntary petition for
relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. (See
Bankr. Case No. 16-23443 (Bankr. Dkt. No. 1).) Her petition
disclosed the assistance of a non-attorney petition preparer,
Kenneth Thompson. (Bankr. Dkt. Nos. 1, 7-8.) The Trustee
later filed a motion alleging Thompson violated 11 U.S.C.
§ 110, which provides penalties for persons who
negligently or fraudulently prepare bankruptcy petitions.
(Bankr. Dkt. No. 34.) Following an evidentiary hearing on
January 17, 2017, the Bankruptcy Court granted the
Trustee's motion in part. (Bankr. Dkt. No. 45.) The Court
found Thompson violated 11 U.S.C. §§ 110(e)(2) and
(h)(3), and entered an order requiring Thompson to refund
$600 to Hardin pursuant to § 110(i)(b)(2).
(Id.) Thompson was ordered to pay Hardin on or
before February 17, 2017 and to provide proof to the Court of
payment at a status hearing to be held on March 1, 2017.
February 15, 2017, Thompson filed a notice of appeal of the
Bankruptcy Court's January 17, 2017 order imposing
penalties. (Bankr. Dkt. No. 47.) The Trustee moved to dismiss
the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, arguing Thompson's
notice was untimely filed under 28 U.S.C. § 158(c)(2).
(Dkt. No. 5.) In response to the Trustee's motion,
Thompson sought leave to enlarge the time to file his notice
of appeal pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure
9006(b), and argued the Trustee's motion to dismiss
should be denied. (Dkt. No. 8.) The Trustee contends we lack
jurisdiction under § 158(c)(2) and Rules 8002(a),
8002(d)(1), and 9006(b)(3) to grant Thompson relief.
to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a), district courts have jurisdiction
to hear appeals from final judgments, orders, and decrees of
a bankruptcy court. In re Sobczak-Slomczewski, 826
F.3d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 2016). Bankruptcy appeals are
“taken in the same manner as appeals in civil
proceedings generally are taken to the courts of appeals from
the district courts and in the time provided by Rule 8002 of
the Bankruptcy rules.” 28 U.S.C. § 158(c)(2). With
certain exceptions not relevant here, Federal Rule of
Bankruptcy Procedure 8002(a)(1) provides that a notice of
appeal must be filed within 14 days of the date of entry of
the judgment or order being appealed. “[T]he 14-day
time limit to file notice of appeal of the bankruptcy
court's judgment or order is jurisdictional.”
In re Sobczak-Slomczewski, 826 F.3d at 432.
appeals the Bankruptcy Court's January 17, 2017 order
imposing penalties. Thompson's notice of appeal was filed
on February 15, 2017, well past the 14-day deadline imposed
by Rule 8002(a)(1). The bankruptcy court “may extend
the time to file a notice of appeal upon a party's motion
that is filed: “(A) within the time prescribed by this
rule; or (B) within 21 days after that time, if the party
shows excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Bankr.P. 8002(d)(1).
However, Thompson also failed to timely seek leave from the
bankruptcy court under Rule 8002(d)(1) to extend the time to
appeal. There are no equitable exceptions to a jurisdictional
requirement. In re Sobczak-Slomczewski, 826 F.3d at
432 (citing Bowles v. Russell, 551 U.S. 205, 208-13,
127 S.Ct. 2360, 2363-65 (2007)). Likewise, we “lack an
‘equitable' power to contradict the bankruptcy
statutes and rules.” Netzer v. Office of Lawyer
Regulation, __ F.3d __, 2017 WL 961740, at *2 (7th Cir.
Mar. 13, 2017) (citing Law v. Siegel, __ U.S. __,
134 S.Ct. 1188 (2014); In re Kmart Corp., 359 F.3d
866, 871 (7th Cir. 2004)). Because Thompson failed to timely
file a notice appeal or seek additional time from the
bankruptcy court, we are without jurisdiction to hear his
appeal or his request for an extension of time. Id.
nevertheless argues that Rule 9006(b) saves his appeal. Rule
9006(b)(1) provides for an enlargement of time under certain
circumstances “except as provided in paragraphs (2) and
(3) of this subdivision.” In turn, Rule 9006(b)(3)
states that a court may enlarge the time for taking action
under certain enumerated rules, including Rule 8002,
“only to the extent and under the conditions stated in
those rules.” Fed.R.Bankr.P. 9006(b)(3). Therefore, we
have no authority under Rule 9006(b) to grant an extension of
time to file a notice of appeal that is otherwise untimely
under Rule 8002. Thompson's appeal is untimely under Rule
8002, and Rule 9006(b) therefore cannot serve as a vehicle to
foregoing reasons, we lack jurisdiction to hear
Thompson's bankruptcy appeal. Accordingly, the
Trustee's motion to dismiss is granted, with prejudice.
(Dkt. No. 5.) Thompson's motion for ...