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Halloum v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 5, 2019

YOUSIF H. HALLOUM, Appellant,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Appellees.

          Appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada Bk No. 16-16815-BTB

          ORDER

          Gloria M. Navarro, District Judge United States District Court

         Pending before the Court is the bankruptcy appeal of Yousif H. Halloum v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 2:18-cv-01555. Appellant Yousif H. Halloum (“Appellant”) filed an Opening Brief, (ECF No. 16), to which Appellee Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (“Wells Fargo”) filed an Answering Brief, (ECF No. 22).

         Also pending before the Court are the following fully briefed Motions: Appellant's Motion to Reconsider, (ECF No. 20), and Wells Fargo's Motion for Sanctions, (ECF No. 23).

         For the reasons discussed herein, the Court AFFIRMS the underlying bankruptcy court order, DENIES Appellant's Motion to Reconsider, [1] and GRANTS Wells Fargo's Motion for Sanctions.

         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 (the “Motion to Extend Time”). (See Notice of Appeal at 3, ECF No. 1). Appellant filed the underlying voluntary Chapter 11 petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada (the “bankruptcy court”) seeking relief with respect to real property in California. (In re Halloum, No. 16-16815-BTB (Bankr. D. Nev. Dec. 29, 2016) (Ch. 11 Pet., ECF No. 1)); (See Op. Br. at 1-2).

         Relevant to the instant appeal, the bankruptcy court granted Wells Fargo's motion for relief from the automatic stay, finding Appellant failed to oppose the motion and concluding Wells Fargo successfully demonstrated good cause for relief. (See Hr'g Tr. 4:16-5:8, In re Halloum, ECF No. 62). Appellant subsequently moved to substitute himself in place of his counsel, which the bankruptcy court granted. (See Order, In re Halloum, ECF No. 75).

         Appearing pro se, Appellant filed a motion with the bankruptcy court seeking reconsideration of the order lifting the stay, contending that his prior counsel's negligence was to blame for the adverse ruling. (See Mot. to Recons., In re Halloum, ECF No. 104). Appellant also filed his Motion to Extend Time, requesting permission to file a tardy disclosure statement, plan of organization, and appraisal. (See Mot., In re Halloum, ECF No. 77). Following a hearing, the bankruptcy court denied both motions.

         With respect to the motion to reconsider, the bankruptcy court noted that Appellant's motion focused solely on his prior counsel's lack of diligence. (See Hr'g Tr. 8:12-9:6, In re Halloum, ECF No. 97). Because the motion failed to articulate any error in the court's determination that Wells Fargo was entitled to relief on the merits, the Court found reconsideration unwarranted. (Id. 8:12-9:6). As to the Motion to Extend Time, the bankruptcy court stated that Appellant was under the misapprehension that he missed a deadline to file a disclosure statement, plan of reorganization, and appraisal. (Id. 7:12-8:5). Concluding that nothing precluded Appellant from meeting the yet-to-be-expired deadline, the bankruptcy court denied Appellant's Motion, issuing a written order on August 15, 2018. (Id. 8:6-11).

         The next day, Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal in which he elected to have this Court, rather than the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel hear his appeal. (See Notice of Appeal at 2, ECF No. 1). The Notice of Appeal identifies the bankruptcy court's order denying Appellant's Motion to Extend Time as the subject of this appeal. (Id.).

         Following this Court's order setting forth an appellate briefing schedule, (ECF No. 5), Appellant moved this Court to transfer venue, (ECF No. 7), which the Court denied upon finding it was procedurally improper and premised upon an inapplicable legal standard. (See Order 2:19-3:7, ECF No. 15). Prior to this Court's denial, Appellant correspondingly moved the bankruptcy court to transfer venue, which the court denied following a hearing. (See In re Halloum, ECF Nos. 132, 142). Appellant appealed that ruling, which is currently pending before Judge Gordon in No. 2:19-cv-00037.

         Wells Fargo, for its part, filed the instant Motion for Sanctions, asserting that the arguments Appellant puts forth are irrelevant and otherwise outside the scope of this appeal. (Mot. for Sanctions, ECF No. 23). Consequently, Wells Fargo requests an order deeming this appeal frivolous and sanctioning Appellant by awarding attorneys' fees to Wells Fargo. (Id.).

         II. STAND ...


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