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Ensign v. U.S. Bank National Association

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 23, 2017

LAURA A. ENSIGN and STEPHEN T. ENSIGN, Appellants,
v.
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, as Trustee, Appellee.

          Laura A. Ensign Stephen T. Ensign Pro Se Appellants

          Jesse A.P. Baker ALDRIDGE PITE, LLP Attorney for Appellee

          OPINION & ORDER

          MARCO A. HERNÁNDEZ United States District Judge.

         Appellants Laura Ensign and Stephen Ensign appeal the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon's decision to strike Appellants' amended complaint and close the case. See Notice of Appeal 4 (“Bankr. Ct. Order”), ECF 1. Appellants elected to have the appeal reviewed by this Court instead of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. This Court has jurisdiction over the appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1). Because the Bankruptcy Court's dismissal of Appellants' case was supported by the facts in the record and was not clearly erroneous, this Court affirms the decision of the Bankruptcy Court.

         BACKGROUND

         On February 24, 2016, the Circuit Court of Oregon for Yamhill County granted summary judgment to U.S. Bank in its case brought against Appellants for judgment and foreclosure on their property. Appellants' Request Judicial Notice Ex. A at 11, ECF 11-1. Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday signed a “General Judgment Determining Amount Owed and Foreclosure, ” declaring $626, 679.17 as the total amount of Appellants' debt to U.S. Bank. Id. at 14.

         On April 12, 2016, Appellants initiated a complaint against U.S. Bank in Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon. Bankr. Ct. Order. The Bankruptcy Court held a hearing on July 5, 2016, in which it granted U.S. Bank's motion to dismiss the complaint and provided Appellants an opportunity to amend their complaint. Id. Appellants filed an amended complaint. Id. However, the Bankruptcy Court determined that the amended complaint was “functionally indistinguishable” from the original complaint, which the court had already determined failed to state a claim. Id. at 6. Therefore, the Bankruptcy Court sua sponte struck the amended complaint and directed the Clerk of the Court to close the proceeding. Id.

         On August 8, 2016, Appellants filed a Notice of Appeal with the Bankruptcy Court, electing to have their appeal heard in this District. Id. at 1. The entirety of the Notice of Appeal is: “We appeal this court's ‘ORDER STRIKING AMENDED COMPLAINT' and closing this case (docket #33).” Id.

         STANDARD

         A district court acts as an appellate court when it reviews a judgment of the bankruptcy court. In re Marquam Inv. Corp., 188 B.R. 434, 437 (D. Or. 1995). The bankruptcy court's conclusions of law and interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code are reviewed de novo and its factual findings are reviewed for clear error. In re Greene, 583 F.3d 614, 618 (9th Cir. 2009). The court “must accept the bankruptcy court's findings of fact unless, upon review, the court is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed by the bankruptcy judge.” Id.

         DISCUSSION

         The Bankruptcy Court's Order is supported by the facts in the record and is not clearly erroneous. Thus, this Court affirms the Bankruptcy Court's Order.

         I. Judicial Notice

         Appellants ask the Court to take judicial notice of a “Notice of Sheriff's Sale” that was allegedly posted on Appellants' gate on November 17, 2016. Request for Judicial Notice Ex. 1, ...


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