December 7, 2021, opinions

Designated for publication

  • Dean v. Seidel, 21-10468, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • Wiener, J. (Wiener, Graves, Ho), bankruptcy
    • Dismissing for lack of bankruptcy standing a debtor’s objection to a litigation funding arrangement entered into by a trustee and a creditor.
    • The trustee of the debtor’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy estate did not have sufficient unencumbered funds to retain counsel to pursue claims for the estate and potentially recovery money for creditors. The trustee then entered into a litigation funding agreement whereby one of the creditors, Reticulum Management, LLC, agreed to provide that funding in exchange for a portion of any recovered proceeds. The bankruptcy court approved the agreement, and the district court found no clear error in that approval. The debtor appealed.
    • The Court held that standing to appeal a bankruptcy court order is necessarily “quite limited,” subject to the “person aggrieved test,” whereby the particular bankruptcy court order must be shown to “directly and adversely affect the appellant pecuniarily.” (Internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “Appellants cannot demonstrate bankruptcy standing when the court order to which they are objecting does not directly affect their wallets.”
    • The Court held that “the order on appeal–approval of a litigation funding agreement–does not affect whether [the debtor’s] debts will be discharged. Neither does it affect Reticulum’s related pending case in which it objected to Dean’s bankruptcy discharge of [Reticulum’s] claims against Dean.”

Unpublished

  • U.S. v. Penny, 20-10759, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (King, Costa, Willett), criminal, search and seizure, sentencing
    • Affirming conviction of possession of a firearm by a felon, and upholding district court’s refusal to hold a hearing on defendant’s suppression motion; also affirming sentence.
  • Damond v. Gautreaux, 21-30025, appeal from M.D. La.
    • per curiam (Jones, Duncan, Engelhardt), prisoner suit
    • Dismissing as frivolous appeal from dismissal of prisoner’s § 1983 suit that district court found was duplicative of earlier dismissed § 1983 suit.
  • U.S. v. Vargas, 21-40233, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (King, Costa, Ho), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Tejada-Aria, 21-40429, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Higginson, Duncan), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • Knox v. City of Gautier, 21-60259, appeal from S.D. Miss.
    • per curiam (King, Costa, Willett), excessive force
    • Affirming dismissal of plaintiff’s excessive force claims as barred by Heck.