In re: IMMC CORPORATION, f/k/a Immunicon Corporation, et al., Debtors
EDWARD L. ERICKSON; BYRON HEWETT; LEON TERSTAPPEN; JAMES L. WILCOX; ELIZABETH E. TALLETT; J. WILLIAM FREYTAG; ZOLA P. HOROVITZ; JAMES G. MURPHY; BRIAN GEIGER; JONATHAN COOL; ALLEN J. LAUER ROBERT F. TROISIO, as Liquidating Trustee of IMMC Corporation, f/k/a Immunicon Corporation, Appellant
July 12, 2018
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District
of Delaware (District Court No.: 1-15-cv-01043) District
Judge: Honorable Gregory M. Sleet
Beth Sommers Bales, Sommers & Klein, P.A. Counsel for
Appellant Robert F. Troisio
Michael Eidel Clair E. Wischusen [ARGUED] Fox Rothschild LLP
Counsel for Appellees
Before: SHWARTZ, ROTH, and RENDELL, Circuit Judges
RENDELL, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
appeal requires us to decide whether the Bankruptcy Court for
the District of Delaware had the authority to transfer an
adversary proceeding to the District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania under 28 U.S.C. § 1631. While
the issue as presented would have us determine whether the
Bankruptcy Court is a "court" under 28 U.S.C.
§ 610, we adopt a different rationale in upholding the
orders of the Bankruptcy Court and the District Court.
Because the Bankruptcy Court lacked power to adjudicate the
adversary proceeding brought by the trustee, its transfer of
the adversary proceeding would have been ultra
vires. Thus, the Bankruptcy Court correctly denied the
motion to transfer the adversary proceeding.
2008, IMMC Corporation filed a petition for relief under
Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for
the District of Delaware. Appellant was appointed as the
liquidating trustee under the plan of liquidation approved by
the Court. In 2010, the trustee filed an adversary proceeding
in the Bankruptcy Court, alleging that Appellees, IMMC's
former officers and directors, had breached their fiduciary
duties by pursuing a risky and costly litigation strategy in
an unrelated suit against a competitor, overcompensating
themselves in the process.
December 2011, the Bankruptcy Court held that it lacked
jurisdiction to hear the claims asserted in the adversary
proceeding. See Troisio v. Erickson (In re IMMC
Corp.), Ch. 11 Case No. 08-11178 (KJC), Adv. No.
10-53063-KJC, 2011 WL 6832900 (Bankr. D. Del. Dec. 29, 2011).
The Court rejected the notion that the adversary proceeding
was a "core" proceeding. Id. at *2-4. It
also rejected the trustee's argument that the adversary
proceeding was a non-core proceeding "related to" a
Chapter 11 case because the claims in the adversary
proceeding lacked a "close nexus" to the Chapter 11
plan. Id. at *2, *4; see Resorts Int'l, Inc.
Litig. Tr. v. Price Waterhouse (In re Resorts Int'l,
Inc.), 372 F.3d 154, 168-69 (3d Cir. 2004) (after plan
confirmation, a bankruptcy court's "related to"
jurisdiction is limited to matters in which "there is a
close nexus to the bankruptcy plan or a proceeding, as when a
matter affects the interpretation, implementation,
consummation, execution, or administration of a confirmed
plan or incorporated litigation trust agreement"). The
trustee did not appeal that ruling.
briefing and a separate hearing, the Bankruptcy Court
considered the trustee's request that the Bankruptcy
Court transfer the adversary proceeding to the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under
28 U.S.C. § 1631, which provides:
Whenever a civil action is filed in a court as defined in
section 610 of this title or an appeal, including a petition
for review of administrative action, is noticed for or filed
with such a court and that court finds that there is a want
of jurisdiction, the court shall, if it is in the interest of
justice, transfer such action or appeal to any other such
court in which the action or appeal could have been brought
at the time it was filed or noticed, and the action or appeal
shall proceed as if it had been filed in or noticed for the
court to which it is transferred on the date upon which it
was actually filed in or noticed for the court from which it
According to 28 U.S.C. § 610:
As used in this chapter the word "courts" includes
the courts of appeals and district courts of the United
States, the United States District Court for the District of
the Canal Zone, the District Court of Guam, the District
Court of the Virgin Islands, the United States Court ...