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This weeks case update:

Rickert v. Specialized Loan Servicing, Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel,  (Unpublished), (Brand, Gan, Faris), Dismissal, Law of the Case, Affirming Rickert v. Specialized Loan Servicing, 2020 Mont. B.R. 204 (June 2, 2020)

Case no. MT-20-1100-BGF

Rickert argues that the bankruptcy court denied her due process by dismissing her complaint without a hearing. This argument lacks merit. Rickert specifically requested that the court rule on the Motion to Dismiss "without a hearing" given the governor's current Stay-at-Home Directive and the lengthy drive from her home to the courthouse. Thus, we fail to see how Rickert was denied due process when she got exactly what she asked for.

In what also appears to be a due process argument, Rickert contends the bankruptcy court erred by considering the "extrinsic evidence" of the BAP's decision in the first appeal, which affirmed the bankruptcy court's rulings that SLS was the party entitled to enforce the note and could pursue its non-bankruptcy remedies under the deed of trust. The BAP's decision is not "extrinsic evidence" but rather is a matter of public record of which the bankruptcy court could take judicial notice. And the court's doing so did not convert the Motion to Dismiss to one for summary judgment requiring notice and an opportunity to respond.

Rickert next argues that the Motion to Dismiss suffered from various defects including improper service. The bankruptcy court did not address this argument. Rickert argues that the Notice and Motion to Dismiss were mailed to her on March 19, not March 18 as counsel for SLS had represented, and therefore the Motion to Dismiss should have been "dismissed" for not complying with Local Bankruptcy Rules 1017-1(c) and 9013-1(e), "Montana Code Annotated Rule 5," and Civil Rule 12(b)(4) and (5). Even if factually correct, the authority Rickert cites does not help her. Local Bankruptcy Rule 9013-1(e) provides generally that motions must state conspicuously that any opposition is to be filed within 14 days of the motion, which is what the Motion to Dismiss stated. Local Bankruptcy Rule 1017-1(c) applies to the dismissal or conversion of bankruptcy cases based on a debtor's default under a confirmed plan. It has nothing to do with the dismissal of an adversary proceeding. No Montana service rule would apply here, since the bankruptcy court is a federal court with its own rules of civil procedure. Rickert's reliance on Civil Rule 12(b)(4) and (5) to dismiss the Motion to Dismiss is also misplaced; one does not respond to a Civil Rule 12(b) motion with a Civil Rule 12(b) motion. Because Rickert's complaint was nothing more than an attempt to repeat the same allegations and arguments that were already decided against her, or to raise new claims she failed to raise before, the bankruptcy court did not err in dismissing it.

Rickert v. Specialized Loan Servicing, December 2, 2020

2020 Mont. B.R. 422 (December 2, 2020)




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