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Halloum v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 7, 2019

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Appellees.


          Glori M. Navarro, Chief Judge.

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Transfer Venue, (ECF No. 7), and related filings, (ECF Nos. 8, 12), [1] filed by Appellant Yousif H. Halloum (“Appellant”). Appellee Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 14), to which Appellant did not file a reply. Also pending before the Court is Appellant's unopposed Motion for Leave to Allow Pro Se Filing, (ECF No. 6).[2]

         For the reasons addressed below, Appellant's Motion to Transfer is DENIED and the Motion for Leave to Allow Pro Se Filing is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This appeal arises from the bankruptcy court's denial of Appellant's motion to permit his tardy filing of a disclosure statement, plan of reorganization, and appraisal. (See Notice of Appeal at 3, ECF No. 1). Appellant filed his voluntary Chapter 11 petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada (the “bankruptcy court”) seeking relief with respect to two pieces of real property, one in Nevada, and the other in California. (See Ch. 11 Pet., In re Yousif Halloum, No. 16-16815-BTB (Bankr. D. Nev. Dec. 29, 2016)).

         Wells Fargo moved the bankruptcy court for relief from imposition of the automatic stay, which Appellant did not oppose. (See Order, ECF No. 57, In re Yousif Halloum). After a hearing on the issue, the bankruptcy court ordered termination of the automatic stay. (Id.). Appellant subsequently filed a motion requesting permission to file a tardy disclosure statement, plan of organization, and appraisal. (See Motion, ECF No. 77, In re Yousif Halloum). The bankruptcy court denied Appellant's Motion, and this appeal followed. (See Order, ECF No. 108, In re Yousif Halloum).

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(c)(1), Appellant elected to have this Court, rather than the bankruptcy appellate panel, consider his appeal. (See Notice of Appeal at 2). Following this Court's order setting forth a briefing schedule, (ECF No. 5), Appellant filed the instant Motion to Transfer Venue, (ECF No. 7). Appellant correspondingly moved the bankruptcy court to transfer venue, which the court denied following a hearing. (See ECF Nos. 132, 142, In re Yousif Halloum). Appellant appealed that ruling, which is currently pending before Judge Gordon in No. 2:19-cv-00037-APG.


         A. Motion to Transfer Venue

         Appellant requests that the Court transfer this action to the District Court for the Northern District of California under 28 U.S.C. 1404(a). (Mot. to Transfer 7:7-9:4, ECF No. 7). Wells Fargo responds that Appellant's Motion is procedurally improper and is premised upon an inapplicable legal standard. (Resp. 2:1-3:13, ECF No. 14). The Court agrees with Wells Fargo.

         Appellant has not identified authority permitting this Court to transfer the action to another district court. The statute upon which Appellant relies, 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), allows transfer only to “any other district or division where [the action] might have been brought.” Having elected to have this Court hear his appeal rather than the bankruptcy appellate panel, this Court is without authority to transfer the matter. See 28 U.S.C. § 158(a) (“An appeal under this subsection shall be taken only to the district court for the judicial district in which the bankruptcy judge is serving.”). The Court, therefore, denies Appellant's Motion.[3]

         B. Motion for Leave to Permit Pro Se Filings

         Appellant also moves the Court for leave to permit his filing of pro se briefs, (ECF No. 6). Although pro se parties are generally held to less stringent standards, “pro se litigants in the ordinary civil case should not be treated more favorably than parties with attorneys of record.” Jacobsen v. Filler, 790 F.2d 1362, 1364 (9th Cir. 1986). A pro se litigant must follow the same rules of procedure that govern other litigants. King v. Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1986); Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54 (9th Cir. 1995) (noting that “pro se litigants are bound by the rules of procedure”). The court appreciates that it can be difficult for pro se parties to litigate their claims. Pro se parties are advised to familiarize themselves with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Local Rules of Practice, and relevant case law as much as possible.[4]The Local Rules of Practice require attorneys “to file all documents electronically.” LR IC 2-1(a). However, “[a] pro se litigant may request the court's authorization to register as a filer in a specific case.” LR IC 2-1(b).

         Here, Appellant asks the Court to allow him to use the District's CM/ECF system in order to file, access, and electronically serve documents in this case. For good cause appearing, Appellant's ...

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