Anwar v. Johnson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Bankruptcy Law
  • Date Filed: 07-02-2013
  • Case #: 11-16612
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Thomas for the Court; Circuit Judges Farris and Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 4007(c), the bankruptcy court does not have the equitable power necessary to retroactively grant a party relief from deadlines, and a party may obtain an extension only if the party files a motion for extension prior to the deadline.

Amina Anwar and David McClanahan (collectively, “Anwar”) were employees of Xperex. When Xperex's Chief Financial Officer, D. Lee Johnson, and Chief Executive Officer, David Vergeyle, filed for bankruptcy, Anwar filed creditor's claims in the bankruptcy proceedings. Anwar filed a timely notice to extend the filing deadline to challenge the dischargeability of the debts owed to her under Section 523(a) of the bankruptcy code. Anwar filed a request for an extension, and the deadline was extended to midnight on April 13, 2010. However, Anwar's attorney had computer trouble, and her challenge was filed less than one hour after midnight. On May 18, 2010, Johnson and Vergeyle moved to dismiss Anwar's untimely challenge. The bankruptcy court granted the motion, and Anwar appealed to the district court, which affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision. Anwar appealed to the Ninth Circuit. The panel affirmed both lower courts' decisions, finding that the deadline set forth in Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 4007(c) was strict and could not be extended unless an extension was requested before the deadline. It did not matter that Anwar missed the deadline by only 38 minutes. Further, the panel held that the bankruptcy court lacked the equitable power necessary to relieve Anwar from her attorney's untimely filings. AFFIRMED.

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