United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
In Re CHARLES EDWARD WOIDE; and SUSANNAH CLARE WOIDE, Debtors.
FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION, Appellee. CHARLES EDWARD WOIDE; and SUSANNAH CLARE WOIDE, Appellants, Bankr. No. 6:10-bk-22841-KSJ
DALTON JR. United States District Judge.
cause is before the Court on the following:
Appellant[s'] Brief (Doc. 21), filed November 3, 2016;
Brief of Appellee Federal National Mortgage Association
(Doc. 22), filed December 5, 2016; and
Reply Brief For Appellant[s] Charles Edward Woide and
Susannah Clare Woide (Doc. 23), filed December 19, 2016.
consideration, the Court finds that the bankruptcy
court's Order Granting Motion to Reopen the Bankruptcy
Case to Compel Surrender of Real Property (Doc. 5-2) is due
to be affirmed and that the appeal is due to be dismissed.
Charles Edward Woide and Susannah Clare Woide-proceeding
pro se-filed a voluntary petition
(“Petition”) under Chapter 13 of the U.S.
Bankruptcy Code (“Code”) late in 2010
(“Bankruptcy Action”). (See Doc. 6-1.)
Along with the Petition, Appellants disclosed their assets,
including a home they owned in Deland, Florida
(“Property”) on standardized forms known as
schedules (“Original Schedules”). (Id.
at 8-28.) Original Schedules A and D indicated that: (1)
Appellants would surrender the Property; and (2) the Property
was encumbered by a mortgage (“Mortgage”) in
favor of Lender Business Process Services
(“LBPS”) in the amount of $249, 383.12.
(Id. at 10, 16.) The record also reveals that LBPS
filed proof of a secured claim on the Property for $257,
978.99 (“Proof of Claim”) on behalf of Appellee
Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie
Mae”). (Doc. 22-1, p. 90.) Appellants did not
object to the Proof of Claim. (See Doc. 6-1, p. 16.)
than three months after filing the Petition, Appellants
requested that the Bankruptcy Action be converted to a
proceeding under Chapter 7 of the Code (Doc. 7-8; see
also Doc. 8-1.) Following conversion, Appellants filed
an amended set of schedules listing their assets
(“Amended Schedules”). (Doc. 8-5.) While
Appellants did not list their interest in the Property on
Amended Schedule A, their total assets-including the
Property-remained the same. (Id. at p. 3;
compare Doc. 6-1, p. 8, with Doc. 8-5, p.
1.) Ultimately, Appellants received a Chapter 7 discharge,
and the Bankruptcy Action was closed on July 12, 2011.
(See Doc. 8-7.) Five months later, Fannie Mae, as
mortgagee of the Property, commenced foreclosure
(“Foreclosure Action”), which Appellants opposed.
(Doc. 21, p. 5; see also Doc. 22, p. 3.)
the next three years, Appellants attempted to maintain
possession of the Property by filing lawsuits and asserting
claims to invalidate the Mortgage and the underlying note
(“Note”). (See Doc. 21, pp. 5-6; see
also Doc. 22, pp. 4-5.) Frustrated by Appellants'
actions, Fannie Mae moved to reopen the Bankruptcy Action to
compel surrender of the Property nearly five years after
Appellants were discharged from bankruptcy. (Doc. 9-9
(“Motion to Reopen”).) The bankruptcy court
granted the Motion to Reopen on June 22, 2016. (Doc. 5-2
instant proceeding, Appellants appeal the Surrender
Order. (See Doc. 1.) The Court has
jurisdiction to hear the appeal of the Surrender Order, as it
is a “final” order under 28 U.S.C. §
158(a)(1). See In re Bonner, 330 B.R. 880, 880
(B.A.P. 6th Cir. 2005) (concluding that an order to reopen a
bankruptcy case to administer an asset was a
bankruptcy court enters a final order, a party may appeal to
the district court under 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1). In
reviewing decisions of a bankruptcy court, a district court
functions as an appellate court. In re Colortex Indus.,
Inc., 19 F.3d 1371, 1374 (11th Cir. 1994). The Court
generally reviews a bankruptcy court's factual findings
for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. In re
Globe Mfg. Corp., 567 F.3d 1291, 1296 (11th Cir. 2009).
A bankruptcy court's decision whether to reopen a case is
reviewed for abuse of discretion. See HDR Architecture
P.C. v. Maguire Grp. Holdings, 523 B.R. 879, 886-87
(S.D. Fla. 2014) (collecting federal circuit court
decisions); see also, e.g., In re Double J
Operating Co., 37 F. App'x 91, 91 (5th Cir. 2002)
(“[T]he decision to reopen a bankruptcy case is
committed to the sound discretion of the bankruptcy judge and
will not be overturned ...