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In re Newton

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 16, 2019

In Re ANDREA NEWTON, Debtor.
v.
Clinton Palmer, Defendant. Newton et al., Plaintiff,

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Kevin McNulty, United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on the applications of pro se Debtor-Appellants Andrea Newton and her husband, Mark Newton, for an order allowing the appellants to prosecute this appeal without submitting critical items from the record below-chiefly, the transcripts of the bankruptcy court proceedings and rulings. (DE 38).[1] The Newtons seek to appeal from three orders: (1) a September 19, 2017 Order that incorporated a settlement between Appellants and their landlord, Clinton Palmer; (2) an October 6, 2017 Order that granted relief from the automatic stay in bankruptcy to Palmer so that he could proceed with eviction proceedings against Appellants based on their failure to comply with the September 19, 2017 Order; and (3) a November 7, 2017 Order denying Mr. Newton's application to intervene in Ms. Newton's bankruptcy proceeding.

         Both the September 19, 2017 Settlement Order and the November 7, 2017 Order denying intervention were entered "for the reasons set forth on the record." This Court has provided the Newtons with numerous opportunities to perfect their appeal and to submit the transcripts of the oral decisions at issue in this appeal. The Newtons' continued disregard of this Court's orders violates the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy and impedes this Court's review.

         I provide a brief summary of the Newtons' repeated non-compliance:

■ November-December 2017: the Newtons file their notices of appeal.
■ April 4, 2018: I enter an order to show cause why the appeals should not be dismissed based on the Newtons' failure to file the record in compliance with Fed. R. Bankr. R. 8003 and 8009. (DE 8). The appellants do not respond adequately, but cite medical problems. (DE 9).
■ April 26, 2018: I dismiss the appeals without prejudice to reinstatement if the record is properly filed within 30 days. (DE 10).
■ On May 25, 2018, the Newtons write to the Court claiming that they were not "served" with the April 26, 2018 order and did not learn about it until May 3, or possibly May 25, 2018, and should be given more time to comply. (DE 11).
■ On May 29, 2018, I enter an order granting a further extension until June 19, 2018. (DE 12).
■ July 22, 2018: A purported designation of the record on appeal is filed. (DE 13). It does not include the transcripts of September 19, 2017 or November 7, 2017 transcript.
■ July 20, 2018: The Newtons write to the Court, claiming to have overlooked various court-imposed obligations and orders, citing medical problems and religious observances, and requesting reinstatement of their appeals. (DE 14).
■ March 5, 2019: Despite deficiencies, the Court reinstates the Newtons' appeals. A briefing schedule is entered requiring the Newtons to file their merits briefing by April 4, 2019. (DE 21).
■ March 8, 2019: In state-court eviction proceedings, the Newtons represent to the State judge that that my order of March 5, 2019 impliedly stayed the eviction because it was entered after they had moved for reinstatement of their appeal "and other relief." The Superior Court adjourns the proceedings, seeking clarification as to whether a stay had been granted. (DE 26 ¶¶ 26, 27).
■ March 19, 2019: I enter an opinion and order stating in no uncertain terms that no stay was in place and denying a pending motion for a stay.[2] (DE 28, 29). I particularly admonish the Newtons that, when this Court eventually considers the merits of their appeal, I will consider whether they have filed (1) the transcript of the settlement that was put on the record (hearing August 30, 2017, order issued Sept. 19, 2017); and (2) the transcript for the November 7, 2017 hearing denying Mr. Newton's application to intervene in Ms. Newton's bankruptcy proceeding. (DE ...

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