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In re Belew

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

November 21, 2019

In re: Johnny M. Belew, also known as John Belew, formerly doing business as Belew and Bell, Attorneys at Law Debtor
v.
Bianca Rucker Trustee-Appellee Johnny M. Belew Debtor-Appellant The Citizen's Bank Interested Party-Appellee

          Submitted: October 30, 2019

          Appeal from United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Fayetteville

          Before SALADINO, Chief Judge, NAIL and DOW, Bankruptcy Judges.

          NAIL, BANKRUPTCY JUDGE

         Johnny M. Belew ("Debtor") appeals the May 31, 2019 order of the bankruptcy court[1] granting Trustee Bianca Rucker's ("Trustee") motion to approve her proposed sale of certain assets to The Citizen's Bank ("Bank"). For the reasons discussed below, we dismiss this appeal.

         BACKGROUND

         Debtor filed a petition for relief under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. Trustee assumed her duties shortly thereafter.[2]

         In the course of carrying out her duties, Trustee received an offer from Bank to purchase

all of the bankruptcy estate's causes of action (except for the objection to exemption that is currently on appeal[3]), and any and all residual assets of the estate for a lump sum payment of eleven thousand dollars ($11, 000.00), with an option to purchase the value of any disallowed exemption to the extent the ruling under appeal is reversed and [Debtor's] exemption on appeal and/or remand is disallowed, for an additional $1, 000.00 from . . . Bank, without further notice.

         The only other offer Trustee received for these assets was from Debtor, who offered to purchase them for $10, 000.00. Believing Bank's offer to be in the best interests of the bankruptcy estate, Trustee filed a motion seeking the bankruptcy court's approval of this sale.[4]

         Debtor objected to Trustee's motion. Following an evidentiary hearing, the bankruptcy court enter its order approving Trustee's proposed sale.

         Debtor timely appealed. However, Debtor did not ask the bankruptcy court to stay either its order approving Trustee's proposed sale or the sale itself, and Trustee and Bank completed the sale.

         In their opening brief, Trustee and Bank raised the issue of whether their completion of the sale rendered this appeal moot. Our review of the record revealed an additional issue, i.e., whether Debtor has standing to appeal. We ...


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