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In re Yoder Co. - 758 F.2d 1114 (6th Cir. 1985)

Rule:

A presumption is rebutted upon the introduction of evidence which would support a finding of the nonexistence of the presumed fact. Testimony of non-receipt, standing alone, would be sufficient to support a finding of non-receipt; such testimony is therefore sufficient to rebut the presumption of receipt.

Facts:

In this Chapter 11 proceeding the Bankruptcy Court, 29 Bankr. Rep. 299, affirmed by the District Court, held that Mark S. Bratton's products liability claim for the loss of four fingers was barred for failure to timely file a proof of claim. Bratton contended that his claim should not be barred because he did not receive notice of the latest date for filing proofs of claim.

Issue:

Did the district court err in its consideration of evidence regarding Bratton's receipt of notice and the presumptions it applied?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court held that the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in holding that Bratton did not file late proof of claim because of excusable neglect, based on a clearly erroneous finding that Bratton's attorney received the notice. A presumption had no probative effect once rebutted, and the court erred in considering a presumption as evidence of receipt. Had it properly considered all the evidence, the court would have found Bratton had not received notice, and nonreceipt was sufficient grounds for a finding of excusable neglect.

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