Sunday, December 29, 2019

Supreme Court Set to Hear Passive Stay Violation Case

Seeking to resolve a 5-3 split among the Courts of Appeals, the Supreme Court will consider whether a creditor which passively retains property of the estate violates the automatic stay.  Case No. 19-357, City of Chicago v. Fulton. The Second, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits have ruled that retaining possession or control of property of the debtor violates the stay. The Third, Tenth and D.C. Circuits have held that passive retention of property is not an "act" to exercise control over property of the estate.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Fifth Circuit Renders Important Subject Matter Jurisdiction Opinion Concerning Restraint of Inter-Galactic Trade

Just in time for the holidays, the Fifth Circuit has released THE MOST BIZARRE OPINION OF THE YEAR. A lawyer claiming to be a Deity and a Monarch brought suit against the United States and the State of Louisiana on behalf of the Atakapa Indian de Creole Nation. The District Court sensibly dismissed the suit based on sovereign immunity. However, the Fifth Circuit chose to affirm the decision on the ground that the suit was so completely frivolous that the federal courts lacked jurisdiction to even entertain it. Atakapa Indian de Creole Nation, No. 19-30032 (5th Cir. 12/10/19), which can be found here.

According to the Court:
This action was originally brought as a habeas corpus proceeding by Edward Moses, Jr., a lawyer who calls himself the trustee of the “Atakapa Indian de Creole Nation.” This group is not a federally recognized Indian tribe, and its precise nature is unclear. See Indian Entities Recognized by and Eligible To Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs, 84 Fed. Reg. 1200 (Feb. 1, 2019). The initial complaint alleged the Atakapa “are being held as wards of the State through the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs” and “in pupilage under the United States,” and sought formal recognition as “indigenous to Louisiana.” The claims were based on a gumbo of federal and state laws, including eighteenth-century federal treaties with France and Spain, as well as sources such as the “Pactum De Singularis Caelum, [or] the Covenant of One Heaven.” The plaintiff subsequently filed something resembling an amended complaint, which sought to reclassify the action as a “libel suit” under maritime jurisdiction.