United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on appeal from the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (the
"Bankruptcy Court"). Gilvia Vonzella Wilson
challenges the Bankruptcy Court's decision to grant her
creditor relief from the automatic stay imposed in her
bankruptcy case. The Bankruptcy Court has since dismissed
Wilson's case, which terminated the automatic stay.
Accordingly, the Court will dismiss this appeal as moot.
filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 on December 19, 2017.
Wilson's Chapter 13 petition triggered an automatic stay
of any collection efforts against property in Wilson's
bankruptcy estate. See 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). In
certain circumstances, a creditor may move for relief from an
automatic stay to continue its collection efforts. See
Id. § 362(d). On December 9, 2018, one of
Wilson's creditors, the Trustees Under Stan S. Cutler
Revocable Trust Agreement (the "Trustees"), moved
for relief from the automatic stay as to two parcels of
property in Wilson's bankruptcy estate.
Bankruptcy Court granted the Trustees' motion. Wilson
appealed that decision to this Court. Since Wilson filed this
appeal, the Bankruptcy Court has dismissed her Chapter 13
argues that the Bankruptcy Court erroneously granted the
Trustees relief from the automatic stay in her Chapter 13
case. A bankruptcy court may grant a creditor relief from an
automatic stay "for cause, including lack of adequate
protection." 11 U.S.C. § 362(d); see also In re
McCullough, 495 B.R. 692, 695 (W.D. N.C. 2013).
Creditors who receive relief from an automatic stay may begin
or resume debt collection efforts. See In re James River
Assocs., 148 B.R. 790, 793 (E.D. Va. 1992;.
case, the Bankruptcy Court granted the Trustees relief from
the automatic stay as to two parcels of property in
Wilson's bankruptcy estate. Since Wilson filed this
appeal, however, the Bankruptcy Court has dismissed her
Chapter 13 case. That dismissal terminated the automatic stay
as to the two parcels of property. See 11 U.S.C.
§§ 362(c)(1), 349(b)(3). Accordingly, the issue
presented in this appeal-whether the Bankruptcy Court
properly granted the Trustees relief from the automatic
stay-no longer gives rise to a live dispute.
case is moot when the issues presented are no longer
'live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable
interest in the outcome." Townes v. Jarvis, 577
F.3d 543, 546 (4th Cir. 2009). A district court must dismiss
a bankruptcy appeal as moot "if an event occurs while a
case is pending on appeal that makes it impossible for the
court to grant any effectual relief whatever to a prevailing
party." Prologo v. Flagstar Bank FSB, 471 B.R.
115, 123 (D. Md. 2012) (quoting Church of Scientology of
Cal. v. United Stales, 506 U.S. 9, 12 (1992)).
the Bankruptcy Court dismissed Wilson's Chapter 13 case
on July 22, 2019. A dismissal order in a Chapter 13 case
dissolves the automatic stay. See 11 U.S.C. §§
362(c), 349(b)(3). Thus, when the Bankruptcy Court dismissed
Wilson's Chapter 13 case, Wilson '"lost the
protections of the automatic stay' regardless of whether
the stay was properly lifted by the Bankruptcy Court."
Glover v. Golden Trestle, LLC, No. 6:19-cv-940, 2019
WL 5269081, at *5 (D.S.C. Sept. 18, 2019), report and
recommendation adopted, 2019 WL 5264615 (D.S.C. Oct. 17,
2019) (quoting Constructivist Found, Inc. v. Bonner, ISA
B.R. 863, 865 (D. Md. 2000)). Accordingly, "whether
the stay was properly lifted is moot because, even if the
stay should not have been lifted, it terminated when the
bankruptcy proceeding was dismissed." In re
Stith, 139 F.3d 892 (4th Cir. 1998) (table decision).
The Court, therefore, must dismiss this appeal as moot.
this appeal no longer involves a live dispute, the Court will
dismiss this appeal as moot.
Clerk send a copy of this Order to ...