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Novon Int'l v. Novamont S.p.A. (In re Novon Int'l)

United States District Court for the Western District of New York

March 31, 2000, Decided ; March 31, 2000, Filed

DOCKET NO. 98-CV-0677E(F), 96-BK-15463B



Presently before this Court is an appeal from Chief Bankruptcy Court Judge Bucki's August 21, 1998 Order denying the Chapter 7 trustee's motion pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 365(a) to assume or proceed with the performance of a license agreement between the debtor/appellant Novon International, Inc. ("Novon") and appellee Environmental Packaging, L.P. ("EnPac"). Jurisdiction lies here pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158. For the reasons articulated below and pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 8013, the Order will be reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent herewith.

Preliminarily, the parties disagree as to the appropriate standard by which this Court should [*2]  review the Order. ] Generally, while a Bankruptcy Court's factual findings will not be set aside by a District Court unless they are clearly erroneous, its legal conclusions are reviewed de novo. See In re Arochem Corp., 176 F.3d 610, 620 (2d Cir. 1999). Appellee Novamont S.p.A. ("Novamont") argues that the more deferential abuse-of-discretion standard of review is appropriate where, as here, the District Court is reviewing the Bankruptcy Court's interpretation of its own prior Order approving the sale of certain of the bankruptcy estate's assets ("the Sale Order"). See Casse v. Key Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 198 F.3d 327, 333 (2d Cir. 1999); see also In re Tomlin, 105 F.3d 933, 941 (4th Cir. 1997). While it is not clear on the facts of this case -- distinguishable as they are from Casse and Tomlin -- that such deference is appropriate, resolution of the question is not critical inasmuch as this Court finds that, under any standard, the Bankruptcy Court's interpretation of the Sale Order is not supported by the record.

In a similar procedural vein, Novamont argues that this Court lacks jurisdiction over the instant appeal because Novon [*3]  failed to comply with Bankruptcy Rule 8001(a), which requires, inter alia, that a "notice of appeal shall contain the names of all parties to the judgment, order, or decree appealed from." Specifically, Novamont urges that the appeal be dismissed for Novon's failure to Lave named Dr. Ashraf Marwan therein. As will be explained more fully below, Marwan, a creditor of the debtor's estate, objected to the terms of the Sale Order on the theory that his interest was not sufficiently protected thereunder. He then filed a statement in support of the trustee's motion to assume the EnPac license agreement. This Court finds that it has jurisdiction over this appeal notwithstanding the appellant's failure to name Marwan because he was not a party to the judgment from which Novon appeals and, even had he been, this Court's jurisdiction would be curtailed only with respect to Marwan, not as to any of the parties Novon properly named. 1

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2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5169 *

In re NOVON INTERNATIONAL, INC., Debtor. NOVON INTERNATIONAL, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, -vs- NOVAMONT S.p.A. and ENVIRONMENTAL PACKAGING, L.P., Defendants-Appellees.


Disposition: Order reversed and remanded.


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Bankruptcy Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Clear Error Review, Civil Procedure, Appeals, De Novo Review, Procedural Matters, General Overview, De Novo Standard of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Bankruptcy Appeals Procedures, Bankruptcy, Case Administration, Notice, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Standards of Performance, Creditors & Debtors, Administrative Powers, Executory Contracts & Unexpired Leases, Powers to Assume & Reject, Rejections, Reorganizations, Debtors in Possession, Powers & Rights, Types of Contracts, Executory Contracts, Patent Law, Ownership, Conveyances, Licenses, Estate Property, Abandonment of Property, Trustee Action, Assignments, Pretrial Judgments, Default & Default Judgments, Default Judgments, Contracts Law, Breach, Material Breach, Nonperformance, Royalties, Remedies, Damages, Infringer's Profits, Contract Interpretation, Procedural Matters, Existing Defaults, Lease Agreements, Assignor & Licensee Estoppel