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In re Bennett

United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Eighth Circuit

November 13, 2013

In re Jackie L. BENNETT, also known as Jackie L. Haymon, also known as Jackie L. Barfield, Debtor.
v.
Jackie L. Bennett, Debtor-Appellee. Bong H. Chae, Creditor-Appellant

Submitted: Oct. 29, 2013.

Page 94

Bong H. Chae, Omaha, NE, pro se.

Timothy Joseph Riveria, Baltimore, MD, for appellee.

Before KRESSEL, SCHERMER and SHODEEN, Bankruptcy Judges.

SCHERMER, Bankruptcy Judge.

Bong H. Chae appeals fro the orders of the bankruptcy court [1] denying his requests for relief from the automatic stay and for abstention and remand. We have jurisdiction over this appeal from the final orders of the bankruptcy court. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 158(b). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

ISSUE

The main issue in this appeal is whether the bankruptcy court properly denied Mr. Chae's request for relief from the automatic stay. We also consider whether Mr. Chae was entitled to relief on his request for the bankruptcy court to abstain and remand. We hold that the bankruptcy court properly denied Mr. Chae's request for stay relief, and that there was no basis for an order of abstention and remand.

BACKGROUND

In February, 2013, debtor Jackie L. Bennett (the " Debtor" ), filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 7 of Title 11 of the United States Code (the " Bankruptcy Code" ). The record reflects that Mr. Chae was served with a copy of the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines (the " Notice" ) in the Debtor's bankruptcy case. The Notice clearly states that May 20, 2013 is the " Deadline to Objection to Debtor's Discharge or to Challenge Dischargeability of Certain Debts."

Pre-petition, Mr. Chae filed an action in state court against the Debtor, alleging malpractice, negligence and fraud. The state court action was pending on the petition date, and was therefore stayed by the Debtor's bankruptcy filing. Thereafter, Mr. Chae filed his motion for relief from the stay and for abstention and remand in the bankruptcy court.

The bankruptcy court held a hearing on May 24, 2013 and denied Mr. Chae request for stay relief. Because Mr. Chae was not able to participate in the May 24, 2013 hearing, the bankruptcy court granted Mr. Chae's motion to have the hearing rescheduled to a later date. The hearing was rescheduled for June 17, 2013. In the meantime, the Debtor obtained a Chapter 7 discharge on May 27, 2013.

After a June 17, 2013 hearing at which both parties appeared, the bankruptcy court made its findings of fact and conclusions of law on the record. The bankruptcy court stated that Mr. Chae's malpractice and negligence actions are dischargeable debts in the Debtor's Chapter ...


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