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Kontrick v. Ryan

Supreme Court of the United States

November 3, 2003, Argued ; January 14, 2004, Decided

No. 02-819

Opinion

 [*446]  [**910]   Justice Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the Court.

LEdHN[1A][] [1A] This case concerns the duration of a right to object to a pleading on the ground that it was filed out of time. HN1[] Under the Bankruptcy Rules governing Chapter 7 liquidation proceedings, a creditor has "60 days after the first [****9]  date set for the meeting of creditors" to file a complaint objecting to the debtor's discharge. Fed. Rule Bkrtcy. Proc. 4004(a). That period may be extended "for cause" on motion "filed before the time has expired." Fed. Rule Bkrtcy. Proc. 4004(b). In the matter before us a creditor, in an untimely pleading, objected to the debtor's discharge. The debtor, however, did not promptly move to dismiss the creditor's plea as impermissibly late. Only after the Bankruptcy Court decided, on the merits, that the discharge should be refused did the debtor, in a motion for reconsideration, urge the untimeliness of the creditor's plea.

 [*447]  Bankruptcy Rule 4004's time prescription, the debtor maintains, is "jurisdictional," i.e., dispositive whenever raised in the proceedings. Rejecting the debtor's "jurisdictional" characterization, the courts below held that Rule 4004's time prescription could not be invoked to upset an adjudication on the merits. We agree that Rule 4004 is not "jurisdictional." Affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, we hold that HN2[] a debtor forfeits the right to rely on Rule 4004 if the debtor does not raise the Rule's time limitation before the [****10]  bankruptcy court reaches the merits of the creditor's objection to discharge.

HN3[] A debtor in a Chapter 7 liquidation case qualifies for an order discharging his debts if he satisfies the conditions stated in § 727(a) of the Bankruptcy Code. 11 U.S.C. § 727(a) [11 USCS § 727(a)]. 1 [****11]  HN4[] A discharge granted under [**911]  § 727(a) frees the debtor from all debts existing at the commencement of the bankruptcy proceeding other than obligations § 523 of the Code excepts from discharge. § 727(b). 2

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540 U.S. 443 *; 124 S. Ct. 906 **; 157 L. Ed. 2d 867 ***; 2004 U.S. LEXIS 663 ****; 72 U.S.L.W. 4126; 50 Collier Bankr. Cas. 2d (MB) 969; 42 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 100; Bankr. L. Rep. (CCH) P80,031; 17 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 100

ANDREW J. KONTRICK, Petitioner v. ROBERT A. RYAN

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT.

In re Kontrick, 295 F.3d 724, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 13596 (7th Cir. Ill., 2002)

Disposition: Affirmed.

bankruptcy court, amended complaint, family-account, proceedings, subject-matter, prescriptions, objecting, courts, summary judgment, time limit, allegations, equitable, untimely, merits, original complaint, court of appeals, untimeliness, district court, claim-processing, enlargement, adjudicate, provisions, deadline, deposits

Bankruptcy Law, Discharge & Dischargeability, Liquidations, General Overview, Case Administration, Meetings, Eligible Debts, Denial of Discharge, Concealment & Fraudulent Transfers, False Accounts & Oaths, Asset Loss & Insolvency, Failure to Preserve Records, Exceptions to Discharge, Alimony, Child Support & Maintenance, Bankruptcy, Debtor Benefits & Duties, Eligibility, Embezzlement & False Representations, Government Penalties & Taxes, Examiners, Officers & Trustees, United States Trustee, Procedural Matters, Jurisdiction, Core Proceedings, Civil Procedure, Pleadings, Time Limitations, Extension of Time, Automatic Discharge & Determinations, Debtor Duties, Summary Judgment, Supporting Materials, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Jurisdictional Sources, Constitutional Sources, Constitutional Law, The Judiciary, Congressional Duties & Powers, Lower Federal Courts, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Standard of Review, Appeals, De Novo Review, Federal District Courts, Noncore Proceedings, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Governments, Courts, Rule Application & Interpretation, Pleading & Practice, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Waiver & Preservation of Defenses, Adversary Proceedings, Commencement of Adversary Proceedings, Affirmative Defenses, Amendment of Pleadings, Leave of Court, Defenses & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim