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Civil Resource Manual

191. Termination Of Bankruptcy Jurisdiction

  1. Generally
  2. Post-confirmation jurisdiction
  3. Effect of Appeal On Court's Jurisdiction

1. Generally.

Bankruptcy jurisdiction normally ends once the estate is settled and property transferred. Free-Tan Corp. v. 49-50 Assocs. (In re Liberty Music and Video, Inc.), 50 B.R. 379 (S.D.N.Y. 1985). Dismissal of a bankruptcy case normally results in dismissal of related adversary proceedings, but court has discretion to retain jurisdiction. Porges v. Gruntal & Co. (In re Porges), 44 F.3d 159, 162-63 (2d Cir. 1995) (although the "general rule favors dismissal" of adversary proceedings when the underlying bankruptcy case is terminated, this is not "automatic"); Fid. & Dep. Co. of Md. v. Morris (In re Morris), 950 F.2d 1531, 1534 (11th Cir. 1992) (same); In re Davison, 186 B.R. 741, 742-43 (Bankr. N.D. Fla. 1995) ("actions that depend upon the existence of the bankruptcy" -- here an action to recover preferential transfers -- must be dismissed when the bankruptcy case is dismissed); Roddam v. Metro Loans, Inc. (In re Roddam), 193 B.R. 971 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 1996) (ordinarily, dismissal of bankruptcy case will result in dismissal of all pending adversary proceedings but considerations of judicial economy, convenience and fairness may permit proceeding to continue); In re Hanks, 182 B.R. 930 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1995) (court lacks jurisdiction to enforce settlement which required dismissal of case; after dismissal, enforcement of the settlement was a contract claim to be disposed of under applicable state law).

2. Post-confirmation jurisdiction.

After confirming a plan, bankruptcy courts should exercise jurisdiction only over controversies involving interpretation and enforcement of the plan. Compare Lacy v. FDIC (In re Lacy), 183 B.R. 890, 894 (Bankr. D. Colo. 1995) (court has no post-confirmation jurisdiction over property already returned to the debtor), H & L Developers, Inc. v. ARVIDA/JMB Partners (In re H & L Dev., Inc.), 178 B.R. 71, 75-76 (Bankr. E.D. Pa. 1994) ("once a plan has been confirmed, the court's jurisdiction begins to weaken;" complaint which raises non-bankruptcy causes of action and does not seek to "interpret, implement or enforce" the plan must be dismissed), Omega Corp. v. IRS (In re Omega Corp.), 173 B.R. 830 (Bankr. D. Conn. 1994) (court retains jurisdiction post- confirmation only over "matters involving the execution, implementation, or interpretation of the plan's provisions, and to disputes requiring the application of bankruptcy law"), and A.R.E. Mfg. Co. v. United States (In re A.R.E. Mfg. Co.), 138 B.R. 996 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1992) ("Bankruptcy courts should exercise postconfirmation jurisdiction only for compelling reasons.") with Bernstein v. Donaldson (In re Insulfoams, Inc.), 184 B.R. 694 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 1995), aff'd, 104 F.3d 547 (3d Cir. 1997), and MAI Sys. Corp. v. C.U. Techs., Inc. (In re MAI Sys. Corp.), 178 B.R. 50, 52 (Bankr. D. Del. 1995) (both holding that court's post- confirmation jurisdiction is as broad as it is pre-confirmation; it extends to "any proceeding that conceivably could affect the debtor's ability to consummate the confirmed plan"). Bankruptcy jurisdiction is conferred by statute and cannot be conferred by a plan. New Horizon of NY LLC v. Jacobs, 231 F.3d 143 (4th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 121 S. Ct. 2192 (2001). Compare Holly's, Inc. v. City of Kenwood (In re Holly's, Inc.), 172 B.R. 545, 554-557 (Bankr. W.D. Mich. 1994) (jurisdiction unchanged by confirmation but reservation of jurisdiction in plan meaningless), aff'd, 178 B.R. 711 (W.D. Mich. 1995) with Kalamazoo Realty Venture L.P. v. Blockbuster Entm't Corp., 249 B.R. 879 (N.D. Ill. 2000) (reservation of jurisdiction in plan did not give bankruptcy court more than "related to" jurisdiction and did not prevent concurrent jurisdiction of a district court), Dutch Masters Meats, Inc. v. IRS (In re Dutch Masters Meats, Inc.), 182 B.R. 405, 408 (Bankr. M.D. Pa. 1995) (bankruptcy jurisdiction generally ceases upon confirmation, but plan may reserve jurisdiction over certain matters), and Scotland Guard Servs. v. Autoridad de Energia Electrica (In re Scotland Guard Servs.), 179 B.R. 764, 768-69 (Bankr. D.P.R. 1993) (post-confirmation is "limited" and "[w]hether or not the court retains jurisdiction, and to what extent, depends upon the provisions of the confirmation order;" however, court notes that it cannot obtain jurisdiction "by inserting a provision in the plan"). See Boco Enters., Inc. v. Saastopankkien Keskus-Osake- Pankki (In re Boco Enters., Inc.), 204 B.R. 407 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 1997) (judicial economy, convenience to parties, fairness, and comity guide courts in determining whether to exercise jurisdiction of "related to" proceeding after case dismissed); accord Doddy v. Oxy USA, Inc., 101 F.3d 448 (5th Cir. 1996); see also Chapman v. Currie Motors, Inc., 65 F.3d 78 (7th Cir. 1995).

3. Effect of Appeal On Court's Jurisdiction.

"The filing of a notice of appeal is an event of jurisdictional significance -- it confers jurisdiction on the [appellate court] and divests the [trial court] of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal." Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982) (per curiam). Appeal from an order does not deprive bankruptcy court of jurisdiction over all aspects of the case. In re Strawberry Square Assocs., 152 B.R. 699 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 1993). The court retains jurisdiction when (1) the matter is not related to the issues involved in the appeal; (2) the order appealed is not appealable or is clearly frivolous; and (3) the court's action would aid in the appeal. Bryant v. Smith (In re Bryant), 175 B.R. 9, 11-12 (W.D. Va. 1994). Although the filing of an appeal divests the lower court of its control over matters on appeal, the court retains jurisdiction to implement or enforce the order or judgment but not to expand upon or alter it. DiCola v. Am. S.S. Owners Mut. Prot. & Indem. Ass'n (In re Prudential Lines, Inc.), 170 B.R. 222, 243-44 (S.D.N.Y. 1994), appeal dismissed, 59 F.3d 327 (2d Cir. 1995); accord NLRB v. Cincinnati Bronze, Inc., 829 F.2d 585 (6th Cir. 1987) (bankruptcy court may enforce or implement (as opposed to alter) a judgment despite filing of appeal); NBD Bank v. Fletcher (In re Fletcher), 176 B.R. 445, 446 n.1 (Bankr. W.D. Mich. 1995) (rendering a written opinion after a party filed a notice of appeal is permissible as an aid to the appellate court's review). Filing of a notice of appeal deprives the bankruptcy court of jurisdiction to enter orders that would affect or modify any issue or matter on appeal. Bialac v. Harsh Inv. Co. (In re Bialac), 694 F.2d 625 (9th Cir. 1982); Hyman v. Iowa State Bank (In re Health Care Prods.), 169 B.R. 753, 755 (M.D. Fla. 1994) (filing notice of appeal from appealable order divests lower court of jurisdiction over issues related to the appeal; bankruptcy court lacked jurisdiction to strike affidavit following grant of summary judgment on turnover complaint and opponent's filing of notice of appeal); In re Neuman, 67 B.R. 99 (S.D.N.Y. 1986) (no jurisdiction to modify appealed order); In re Maurice, 179 B.R. 881 (Bankr. N.D. Ill.) (bankruptcy court lacks authority to provide guidance or modify order pending appeal), aff'd 69 F.3d 830 (7th Cir. 1995); In re Commodore Corp., 87 B.R. 62 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. 1987) (no jurisdiction to "do anything that impacts on any issues or matters on appeal"). But see In re Allen-Main Assocs. L.P., 243 B.R. 606, 609 (D. Conn. 1998) (appeal of dismissal order did not deprive lower court of jurisdiction over alleged debtor's claim for attorney fees).