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In re Woide

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

February 6, 2017

In Re CHARLES EDWARD WOIDE; and SUSANNAH CLARE WOIDE, Debtors.
v.
FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION, Appellee. CHARLES EDWARD WOIDE; and SUSANNAH CLARE WOIDE, Appellants, Bankr. No. 6:10-bk-22841-KSJ

          ORDER

          ROY B. DALTON JR. United States District Judge

         This cause is before the Court on the following:

         1. Appellants' Notice of Appeal (Doc. 1), filed August 24, 2016;

         2. Brief for [Appellants'] Charles Edward Woide and Susannah Clare Woide (Doc. 19), filed November 14, 2016;

         3. Brief for Appellee[] Federal National Mortgage Association (Doc. 20), filed December 14, 2016; and

         4. Reply Brief for [Appellants'] Charles Edward Woide and Susannah Clare Woide (Doc. 24), filed January 3, 2017.

         Upon consideration, the Court finds that the bankruptcy court's orders are due to be affirmed and Appellants' Notice of Appeal is due to be dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         This is the second of two appeals taken by pro se Appellants arising from their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case (“Bankruptcy Action”), which was ultimately closed on July 7, 2011. (See Docs. 1, 9-6.) Frustrated by Appellants' attempts to thwart its efforts to foreclose a valid interest in Appellants' home in Deland, Florida (“Property”), Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) moved to reopen the Bankruptcy Action to compel surrender of the Property. (Doc. 9-18. (“Motion to Reopen”).) In opposition, Appellants filed a motion to deny as moot the Motion to Reopen. (Doc. 10-2 (“Motion to Deny”).) Without first ruling on the Motion to Deny, the bankruptcy court granted the Motion to Reopen. (Doc. 10-4 (“Surrender Order”).) Subsequently, Appellants moved for reconsideration of the Surrender Order. (Doc. 10-8 (“Motion to Reconsider Surrender”).)

         On June 30, 2016, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur B. Briskman set the Motion to Reconsider Surrender for hearing (“July 27 Hearing”). (See Doc. 10-10.) At the July 27 Hearing, Bankruptcy Judge Briskman denied the Motion to Deny and the Motion to Reconsider Surrender, which he then memorialized in written orders. (See Doc. 10-16 and Doc.10-17 collectively, “Denial Orders”.) Nearly a week later, Bankruptcy Judge Briskman vacated the Denial Orders “entered orally at the [July 27 Hearing]” and recused himself, reassigning the case to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Karen S. Jennemann. (Doc. 10-20 (“Order to Vacate”).) Appellants then moved for reconsideration of the Order to Vacate, requesting that the bankruptcy court vacate the written orders as opposed to the oral orders. (Doc. 11-5 (“Motion to Reconsider Vacatur”).)

         Following reassignment, Appellants filed their first notice of appeal (“First Notice”) on August 10, 2016, challenging the Surrender Order and the Denial Orders. (See 6:16-cv-1484-Orl-37 (“Woide I”) Doc. 1).[1] A week after the First Notice, Bankruptcy Judge Jennemann held a hearing to address several outstanding motions, including the Motion to Deny and the Motion to Reconsider Surrender, which remained pending after the Order to Vacate. (Doc. 15-1 (“August 17 Hearing”).) Appellants also presented argument regarding the Motion to Reconsider Vacatur and an emergency motion for stay pending appeal (Doc. 11-6 (“Stay Motion”)). (Id.)

         To permit Appellants to proceed with their then-pending Woide I appeal, Bankruptcy Judge Jennemann denied Appellants' original Motion to Deny (Doc. 11-17) and Motion to Reconsider Surrender (Doc. 11-18) at the August 17 Hearing.[2] (Doc. 15-1, pp. 15-16.) Finding no grounds to warrant a stay pending appeal, she also denied the Stay Motion (Doc. 11-20 (“Order Denying Stay”)) without prejudice.[3] (See Doc. 15-1, pp. 17-18.) The Order Denying Stay directs the Clerk to “transmit to the District Court the pending appeal of BOTH underlying orders, [the Denial Orders], for consideration on appeal.” (Doc. 11-20 (alteration in original).) Bankruptcy Judge Jennemann, likewise, denied the Motion to Reconsider Vacatur. (Doc. 11-19 (“Order Denying Reconsideration of Vacatur”), collectively with the Order Denying Stay (“Jennemann Orders”).)

         Appellants then filed their second notice of appeal (“Second Notice”) on August 24, 2016, challenging the Jennemann Orders. (See Doc. 1.) The Court has received the designated record in the Bankruptcy Action (see Docs. 7-13, 15) and the parties briefing (Docs. 19, 20, 24). The matter is now ripe for review.

         STANDARDS

         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). Bankruptcy court orders denying motions to reconsider and stays pending appeal are reviewed for abuse of discretion. See In re Int'l Yacht & Tennis, Inc., 922 F.2d 659, 662 (11th Cir. 1991); In re Phillps, 483 B.R. 254, 257 (M.D. Fla. 2012) (citing In ...


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