United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
ARTURO P. BATAC, Appellant,
JOHN BOYAJIAN, Appellee Trustee
Arturo P. Batac, Appellant, Pro se, Cranston, RI USA.
For John Boyajian, Trustee: Gary Donahue, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of U.S. Trustee, Boston, MA USA; John P. Boyajian, LEAD ATTORNEY, Boyajian, Harrington & Richardson, Providence, RI USA.
John J. McConnell, Jr., United States District Judge.
The matter before the Court concerns an appeal by Arturo P. Batac from several orders issued by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island (the Bankruptcy Court, or the court), including its ultimate dismissal of Mr. Batac's Chapter 13 bankruptcy claim. This Court examined the Bankruptcy Court's record in full for any indication of clear error in findings of fact or abuse of discretion in matters of law. Finding none, this Court upholds the Bankruptcy Court's orders and dismissal of Mr. Batac's claim in full.
On January 6, 2014, the Debtor, Arturo Batac, filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy with the Bankruptcy Court. (BK ECF No. 1). Debtors who file Chapter 13 bankruptcy are often " individuals with regular income" who will pay their debt, in full or in part, in installments over time. ( Id. at 32-33). In his petition, Mr. Batac indicated that he is currently unemployed. ( Id. at 18, 23). However, he claimed a total monthly income of $2,507, comprised of a $1,701.20 monthly Social Security payment and an $805.80 monthly contribution from his son. ( Id. at 19). Mr. Batac further stated in his petition that his total monthly expenses were $2,407, leaving a monthly net income of $100. ( Id. at 21). On January 6, 2014, Mr. Batac requested to participate in Joss mitigation with Wells Fargo (the Creditor), seeking a loan modification with respect to his mortgage on a single-family property located in Cranston, RI. (BK
ECF No. 6). Appellee John Boyajian (the Trustee) was appointed. (BK ECF No. 7). On January 21, 2014, Mr. Batac filed his Chapter 13 Plan. (BK ECF No. 14).
This appeal is taken from the Bankruptcy Court's rejection of Mr. Batac's Chapter 13 bankruptcy claim in toto, and its approval of his counsel's motion to withdraw, which left him to proceed pro se. The issues Mr. Batac raised in his Notice of Appeal and Statement of Election involve the Bankruptcy Court's Orders Denying Confirmation of Debtor's Chapter 13 Plan and Granting the Trustee's Motion to Dismiss. (DC ECF No. 1; BK ECF No. 121). However, in a separate statement of issues filed with the Bankruptcy Court on January 9, 2015, and again in his brief of March 19, 2015, Mr. Batac also indicated his intent to appeal the court's Orders Vacating Loss Mitigation and Granting Debtor's counsel's Motion to Withdraw. (BK ECF No. 125; DC ECF No. 3). Appellant Trustee believes that only the first two issues should be considered on appeal. (DC ECF No. 4). However, because Mr. Batac is a pro se appellant, the Court will discuss each of the four issues raised: (1) the Order Vacating Loss Mitigation; (2) the Order Granting Debtor's counsel's Motion to Withdraw; (3) the Order Denying Confirmation of Debtor's Chapter 13 Plan; and (4) the Order Granting Trustee's Motion to Dismiss.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158, this Court has jurisdiction over appeals from final judgments of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Rhode Island. A judgment is final if it " ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment." In re Diruzzo, 527 B.R. 800, 803 (B.A.P. 1st Cir. 2015) (quoting Fleet Data Processing Corp. v. Branch (In re Bank of New Eng. Corp.), 218 B.R. 643, 646 (B.A.P. 1st Cir. 1998)). On matters of law, the Court must review the Bankruptcy Court's decision de novo, setting aside applications of law ...