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Barnes v. Henry

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

December 23, 2019

CHAD BARRY BARNES, Appellant,
v.
KRISTIN KIMO HENRY, Appellee. CHAD BARRY BARNES, Appellant,
v.
KRISTIN KIMO HENRY, Appellee. CHAD BARRY BARNES, Appellant,
v.
SEA HAWAII RAFTING, LLC, Appellee.

          ORDER AFFIRMING BANKRUPTCY COURT

          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge

         In these consolidated appeals, Appellant Chad Barry Barnes appeals the orders of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Hawai‘i (1) denying Barnes' motion to stay discharge and lift protective order and (2) discharging Appellee Kristin Kimo Henry.[1] Although Barnes was directed to clearly identify the issues being appealed and provide legal support for the purported errors in the Bankruptcy Court's rulings, Barnes does neither. Nonetheless, having reviewed the arguments that Barnes does make, the Court finds no error in the Bankruptcy Court's rulings, and thus, AFFIRMS the same in full, as explained below.

         I. Procedural Background[2]

         On April 24, 2019, Barnes filed a notice of appeal, appealing an order of the Bankruptcy Court denying his motion to stay discharge and lift protective order in Henry's bankruptcy proceeding (“the First Henry Bankruptcy Appeal”). On the same day, Barnes filed a notice of appeal, appealing an order of the Bankruptcy Court denying the exact same motion filed in the bankruptcy proceeding of Sea Hawaii Rafting, LLC (SHR and, with Henry, “Appellees”) (“the SHR Bankruptcy Appeal”). Also on the same day, Barnes filed a notice of appeal, appealing the order of discharge entered in Henry's bankruptcy proceeding (“the Second Henry Bankruptcy Appeal” and, with the SHR and First Henry Bankruptcy Appeals, “the Bankruptcy Appeals”).

         Because the orders being appealed in the Bankruptcy Appeals involve common questions of law and fact, and because consolidation would produce savings in time and effort, while causing no inconvenience, delay, or expense, the Court consolidated the Bankruptcy Appeals. See Dkt. No. 5. In the Court's order of consolidation, Barnes was instructed to clearly identify the issue or issues being appealed, clearly explain how the Bankruptcy Court purportedly erred with respect to each issue, and provide legal support for the Bankruptcy Court's purported error.

         On August 16, 2019, Barnes filed his opening brief. Dkt. No. 10. Thereafter, Appellees each filed their respective response briefs. Dkt. Nos. 12-13. On November 5, 2019, Barnes filed an errata reply brief. Dkt. No. 15.[3]

         II. Legal Standard

         This Court reviews a bankruptcy court's factual findings for clear error and its conclusions of law and determinations on mixed questions of law and fact de novo. In re Salazar, 430 F.3d 992, 994 (9th Cir. 2005); In re Hamada, 291 F.3d 645, 649 (9th Cir. 2002).

         III. Discussion

         Boiled down, these Bankruptcy Appeals essentially concern the Bankruptcy Court's decisions to grant Henry a discharge, and to decline to lift a protective order in Henry's Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding. While it is evident that Barnes disagrees with these decisions, little reason and virtually no authority is provided explaining why the Bankruptcy Court erred. This, of course, frustrates the Court's task on appeal. Nonetheless, this Court has attempted to perform that task and, below, explains why none of the arguments Barnes makes are relevant and/or meritorious.

         In his opening brief, Barnes argues that the Bankruptcy Court erred in denying his motion to stay discharge because a provision of the Bankruptcy Code prohibits a discharge when a debtor fraudulently transfers property of the estate. Dkt. No. 10 at 4-9. The problem with this argument is that Barnes fails to acknowledge that the cited provision-Section 727(a)(2) of Title 11 of the U.S. Code-concerns discharges in Chapter 7 cases. Henry, however, received a Chapter 13 discharge, which is subject to an entirely different statutory provision. See 11 U.S.C. § 1328. Section 727(a)(2), in other words, is simply not helpful in advancing Barnes' position. If anything, Section 727(a)(2) is only harmful to Barnes' position, as it indicates Congress' intent to prohibit a Chapter 7 discharge when property of the estate is fraudulently transferred, but not to do so in a Chapter 13 proceeding.

         Barnes next argues that the Bankruptcy Court erred in “relying on the fact that Barnes did not appeal Kris Henry's confirmation order….” Dkt. No. 10 at 9. Inspection of the Bankruptcy Court's order, however, does not reflect that the Bankruptcy Court relied on the failure to appeal Henry's confirmation order. Instead, the order reflects that the Bankruptcy Court merely stated this event as part of the procedural background. See Dkt. No. 1-2 at 3. The failure to appeal Henry's confirmation order simply plays no further role in the Bankruptcy Court's decision to deny the motion Barnes filed.[4]

         Barnes also argues that the Bankruptcy Court erred in discharging Henry because Henry was required to personally guarantee an entity's obligations to SHR's bankruptcy trustee. Dkt. No. 10 at 10-11. As with many of Barnes' arguments, no further explanation for this stream of words is provided, nor is any effort made to explain why the foregoing results in any of the Bankruptcy Court's determinations, which are pertinent to these Bankruptcy Appeals, being erroneous. This Court, therefore, spends no further time attempting to decipher the purpose of this argument other than to note that it is rejected.

         Barnes argues that the Bankruptcy Court erred in discharging Henry because Henry owes a debt excepted from discharge under Section 1328(a)(4). Id. at 11-14.[5] More specifically, Barnes argues that Henry owes him maintenance and cure, which Barnes asserts Henry willfully and intentionally denied him. The Bankruptcy Court addressed Section 1328(a)(4), however, and found that it did not apply because Barnes had failed to file a complaint for a determination of the dischargeability of a debt under that provision. Dkt. No. 1-2 at 9-10. With respect to that finding, Barnes' only argument is that the Bankruptcy Court erred because he filed a copy of the complaint used in his admiralty proceeding. Dkt. No. 10 at 11-12. Barnes provides no support for the proposition, though, that simply notifying the Bankruptcy Court of his admiralty complaint ...


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