In re Ditto (July 26, 2016)
Bankruptcy Rule 9006, 9023, FRCP 59, 9024, FRCP 60
In this case, the United States Trustee filed a motion to dismiss for abuse with language that gave the Debtors twenty-one days to respond to the motion and warned that failure to file a timely response might result in the Court granting the motion without further notice or hearing. No response was timely filed and the Court entered an order dismissing the case. After entry of the dismissal order, the Debtors filed an untimely response. Twenty-eight days later, and after the dismissal order was final, they filed a motion seeking reconsideration of the dismissal.
When parties are unable to meet the twenty-one day response deadline, they are generally able to seek an extension under Rule 9006(b), which grants courts authority to extend deadlines for cause. Once an order is entered, Rule 9023 (which makes Rule 59 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applicable in bankruptcy cases) allows a party to move for a new trial, or to amend the order, if they seek relief within 14 days after entry of the order. After the 14 days passes, the order becomes final and a party can only seek relief under Rule 9024, which makes Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applicable in bankruptcy cases. To obtain relief under Rule 60, the party must show one of the grounds for reconsideration specified by that rule and the motion must be made within a reasonable time. The Court denied the Debtors' motion for reconsideration because it was filed after the dismissal order was final and cited no authority or grounds for reconsideration. The Court also noted that the reconsideration motion was not filed within a reasonable time because over two months had passed since the automatic stay terminated and reinstating the stay might prejudice creditors.
In re Ditto, No. 15-11163, ECF 61 (July 26, 2016).