Stanton, In re, No. 84-6135

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore SCHROEDER, FLETCHER, and FARRIS
Citation766 F.2d 1283
PartiesBankr. L. Rep. P 70,650 In re Karen Virginia STANTON, Debtor. T.O. KING, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Karen Virginia STANTON, Defendant-Appellee.
Decision Date26 July 1985
Docket NumberNo. 84-6135

Page 1283

766 F.2d 1283
Bankr. L. Rep. P 70,650
In re Karen Virginia STANTON, Debtor.
T.O. KING, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Karen Virginia STANTON, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 84-6135.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued Feb. 7, 1985.
Submitted March 12, 1985.
Decided July 18, 1985.
As Amended July 26, 1985.

Page 1284

Hugh J. Haferkamp, Santa Barbara, Cal., for plaintiff-appellant.

John S. Poucher, Hollister & Brace, Santa Barbara, Cal., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit.

Before SCHROEDER, FLETCHER, and FARRIS, Circuit Judges.

ORDER

King appeals from a decision of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, affirming in part and reversing and remanding in part a decision of the bankruptcy court. We dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

In April 1977, Karen Stanton and T.O. King formed a partnership to purchase and resell a mansion in Montecito, California, called "Tara" (after the mansion in "Gone With the Wind"). Under the partnership agreement, King and Stanton each had equal ownership in the property. Stanton received rent-free occupancy of Tara, and was obligated to make the debt, tax, and insurance payments on it. The agreement further provided that if Stanton failed to make these payments, King had the option of making them himself, with his percentage ownership increased by 1.4% for every $1,000 he paid out.

In July 1977, King advanced Stanton $3,000, the parties agreeing that partnership interests would be adjusted accordingly. In August, Stanton notified King that she would not be able to make her payments for the month, so King made them. During this time, Stanton told King that she felt the time and money she was putting into improving the property were worth more than payment of the debt, tax, and insurance obligations. Stanton contends, and the bankruptcy court found, that the parties orally agreed that she would make the improvements required and that King would pay the obligations without any further reduction in Stanton's partnership interest.

After August, King made all the payments on the property, without notifying Stanton that he was doing so. Finally, in May 1978, King announced to Stanton that, because of the payments he had been making, he had acquired 100% ownership of the Tara property. Stanton denied this.

In March 1978, Stanton offered to buy out King's interest in the partnership, but King did not respond. After May, King refused several offers from third parties to buy Tara, although he did agree to accept one offer for $576,000, if Stanton would agree that she was entitled to only $31,470

Page 1285

of the proceeds. Stanton refused these terms, and the property remained unsold.

King filed suit in state court, seeking dissolution of the partnership and an accounting. Stanton filed a counterclaim, contending that King's refusal to accept the buy-out offer she made and his rejection of the other offers to purchase the property constituted fraud and breach of the partnership agreement. Later, Stanton filed for bankruptcy, and the case was removed from state court to the bankruptcy court.

The bankruptcy court found that the parties had orally modified the partnership agreement. The court dissolved the partnership, declaring that King had a 57.72% interest and Stanton had a 42.28% interest. The court also denied Stanton's counterclaim, but it did so without any findings or discussion. 1

Both parties appealed to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel ("BAP"). The BAP affirmed the trial court's judgment concerning the partnership interests, but reversed and remanded the dismissal of Stanton's counterclaim. In re Stanton, 38 B.R. 746 (Bankr. 9th Cir.1984). The BAP concluded that Stanton's counterclaim had support in the record. Id. at 753-54. It remanded for further consideration by the bankruptcy court. 2 Id. at 754.

King then timely appealed to this court.

II. DISCUSSION

Under section 158(d) of Title 28, we have jurisdiction to hear appeals "from all final decisions, judgments, orders, and decrees" entered by a district court or a bankruptcy appellate panel on appeal from a bankruptcy court. 3 The issue before us in this case is whether the decision of the BAP was final.

Our cases addressing appellate jurisdiction in the bankruptcy context suggest that the finality issue must be examined at two levels. We look, first, to see whether the order of the bankruptcy court was final, see, e.g., In re King City Transit Mix, Inc., 738 F.2d 1065, 1066-67 (9th Cir.1984) (per curiam); In re Mason, 709 F.2d 1313, 1315-16 (9th Cir.1983); In re Rubin, 693 F.2d 73, 76 (9th Cir.1982), and second, to whether the decision of the BAP 4 is final, see, e.g., In re Teleport Oil Co., 759 F.2d 1376, 1377-78 (9th Cir.1985); In re Sambo's Restaurants, Inc., 754 F.2d 811, 813-15 (9th Cir.1985); In re Martinez, 721 F.2d 262, 264-65 (9th Cir.1983). Both decisions must be final. 5

We apply a "pragmatic approach" to decide whether the bankruptcy court's order is final. In re Mason, 709 F.2d at 1318. Recognizing "the unique nature of bankruptcy procedure," id. at 1316, we

Page 1286

have concluded that "certain proceedings in a bankruptcy case are so distinctive and conclusive either to the rights of the individuals or the ultimate outcome of the case that final decisions as to them should be appealable as of right," id. at 1317.

In this case, we have no difficulty concluding that the order of the bankruptcy court was final. The court decided King's claims for dissolution of the partnership and settled the accounting between the partners. The court also dismissed Stanton's counterclaim. The bankruptcy court's order left nothing to be resolved between the partners; it ended the adversary proceeding, and was therefore a final order. See In re Four Seas Center, Ltd., 754 F.2d 1416, 1418 (9th Cir.1985); In re Ellsworth, 722 F.2d 1448, 1450 (9th Cir.1984).

The more difficult issue is whether the decision of the BAP was final. The problem is whether the BAP's partial reversal and remand destroys the finality of the bankruptcy court's order. Two recent Ninth Circuit cases, In re Sambo's Restaurants, Inc., 754 F.2d at 811, and In re Martinez, 721 F.2d at 262, inform our decision.

In Sambo's, 754 F.2d at 811, Sambo's filed a Chapter 11 petition, and while the automatic stay was in effect, a wrongful death action was filed against Sambo's in another court. The wrongful death action was dismissed, and the plaintiff failed to file a formal proof of claim against Sambo's in the bankruptcy proceeding before the bar date. She argued, however, that her wrongful death action served as an informal proof of claim. The bankruptcy court rejected this argument, but the district court reversed. On appeal, we concluded that:

Although [a] case-by-case approach may make sense when the original appeal from the bankruptcy court is interlocutory, here we have a final bankruptcy court order which resulted in a non-final district court order on review. Under these circumstances, we embrace the views of the Third and Eighth Circuits which hold that "when the bankruptcy court issues what is indisputably a final order, and the district court issues an order affirming or reversing, the district court's order is also a final order for purposes of section 1293(b)." In re...

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64 practice notes
  • Gugliuzza v. Fed. Trade Comm'n (In re Gugliuzza), No. 15-55510
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 24 Marzo 2017
    ...because ... it also remanded for discovery to allow factual determinations [on a central issue]."); King v. Stanton (In re Stanton) , 766 F.2d 1283, 1287 (9th Cir. 1985) (noting that "when the BAP remands for further factual findings related to a central issue raised on appeal, that order i......
  • In re Saxman, No. 01-35620.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 14 Abril 2003
    ...court remanded for a "factual determination of whether damages and attorneys' fees should be awarded"); King v. Stanton (In re Stanton), 766 F.2d 1283, 1287 (9th Cir.1985) (declining jurisdiction because the BAP remanded for factual development of issues involved in a counterclaim that was ......
  • Bonner Mall Partnership, In re, No. 92-36754
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 4 Agosto 1993
    ...law, if the district court affirms or reverses a final bankruptcy court order, its order is final. King v. Stanton (In re Stanton), 766 F.2d 1283, 1287 (9th Cir.1985). However, difficult questions regarding finality sometimes arise when a district court reverses a final order of a bankruptc......
  • Sequoia Auto Brokers Ltd., Inc., In re, No. 85-2352
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 14 Septiembre 1987
    ...754 F.2d 811, 814 (9th Cir.1985), unless the intermediate court remands for factual development, see King v. Stanton (In re Stanton), 766 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (9th Cir.1985); see also Crevier v. Welfare & Pension Fund (In re Crevier), 820 F.2d 1553, 1555 (9th Cir.1987). Since no factual issue......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
64 cases
  • Gugliuzza v. Fed. Trade Comm'n (In re Gugliuzza), No. 15-55510
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 24 Marzo 2017
    ...because ... it also remanded for discovery to allow factual determinations [on a central issue]."); King v. Stanton (In re Stanton) , 766 F.2d 1283, 1287 (9th Cir. 1985) (noting that "when the BAP remands for further factual findings related to a central issue raised on appeal, that order i......
  • In re Saxman, No. 01-35620.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 14 Abril 2003
    ...court remanded for a "factual determination of whether damages and attorneys' fees should be awarded"); King v. Stanton (In re Stanton), 766 F.2d 1283, 1287 (9th Cir.1985) (declining jurisdiction because the BAP remanded for factual development of issues involved in a counterclaim that was ......
  • Bonner Mall Partnership, In re, No. 92-36754
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 4 Agosto 1993
    ...law, if the district court affirms or reverses a final bankruptcy court order, its order is final. King v. Stanton (In re Stanton), 766 F.2d 1283, 1287 (9th Cir.1985). However, difficult questions regarding finality sometimes arise when a district court reverses a final order of a bankruptc......
  • Sequoia Auto Brokers Ltd., Inc., In re, No. 85-2352
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 14 Septiembre 1987
    ...754 F.2d 811, 814 (9th Cir.1985), unless the intermediate court remands for factual development, see King v. Stanton (In re Stanton), 766 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (9th Cir.1985); see also Crevier v. Welfare & Pension Fund (In re Crevier), 820 F.2d 1553, 1555 (9th Cir.1987). Since no factual issue......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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