There are times when people in Las Vegas bankruptcy are dissatisfied with a bankruptcy court’s ruling on a matter in their cases. There are other times when one of the creditors feels similarly. The question is, can a party appeal a decision by a bankruptcy court, and if so, how and when? Here are four points that answer these questions.
- Bankruptcy appeals are allowed, and the law on this can be found in 28 U.S.C. § 158 [http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/28/158], but not every matter can be appealed by a party in bankruptcy. Only “final judgments, orders, and decrees” are subject to appeal. The most common final judgments are rulings on adversary proceedings, such as the dischargeability of a debt (frequently the case with student loan cases that appear in the news), whether a motion for relief from the automatic stay should be granted, and whether a debtor’s exemption is valid.
- Interlocutory orders relating to time limits for filing Chapter 13 repayment plans are also appealable, but all other interlocutory orders are only appealable if the bankruptcy court gives the party leave to do so. For everything else, the debtor can file written objections to non-final orders and appeal them later when they are finalized.
- Bankruptcy appeals typically go to the U.S. District Court for the district where the case is pending. Unlike many states, Nevada is a single U.S. District. However, since 1978 federal circuit courts have been allowed to create bankruptcy appellate panels of three bankruptcy judges from other districts within the same circuit. Nevada belongs in the Ninth Circuit, which allows bankruptcy appellate panels, so most appeals will go to a panel rather than district court. There are a handle of circumstances when a debtor can appeal directly to the circuit court. The law allows this only when the issue has not yet been decided or is “a matter of public importance.”
- Parties have only ten days from the date the order is entered into the record, including weekends and holidays, to file their appeals. This is less than usual what’s allowed for federal appeals.
It might be tempting to appeal every adverse order, but the decision is really strategic because appeals can be expensive and time consuming. It’s necessary to hire an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer to help gauge your appeal’s likelihood of success before embarking on it.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.