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Brian C. Podwinski, Ch. 7, BK19-41937-TLS (Feb. 2, 2021)

On stipulated facts, the court denied the creditors’ motions to approve a purported settlement or extend the deadline to file an adversary proceeding. The parties had already obtained an extension of time in which to file an adversary complaint while they negotiated the non-dischargeability of and a payment plan for the debts owed to these creditors. However, that extended deadline expired while the parties were close to, but had not yet completed, a settlement. Upon realizing the deadline had passed, the creditors moved to approve the settlement or obtain another extension of time to file a complaint.

The court denied the motion to approve and enforce the settlement, finding that no enforceable agreement was in place when the extended deadline expired, as there had not been an acceptance of the terms or a meeting of the minds by the deadline. Even if the agreement were enforceable, the court would not approve it under Rule 9019.

While the equitable doctrines of waiver, estoppel, and equitable tolling can be invoked against a statute of limitations defense when a untimely request for enlargement of time is made under Rules 4004 or 4007, there is a high bar to their applicability and the movants did not reach it. Therefore, there was no basis upon which to grant the belated motion for extension of the complaint deadline.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Judge Thomas L. Saladino