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In re Semel

decided: April 21, 1970.

IN THE MATTER OF LAURENCE SEMEL. LAURENCE SEMEL, APPELLANT


Kalodner, Staley and Freedman, Circuit Judges.

Author: Kalodner

Opinion OF THE COURT

KALODNER, Circuit Judge.

The appellant Semel challenges the authority of a referee in bankruptcy to enter an order extending the time for filing objections to the discharge of a bankrupt without notice to the bankrupt.

The background facts are as follows:

Semel, an attorney, filed a voluntary petition in bankruptcy on April 11, 1968. An Order was entered fixing May 1, 1968, as the date for the first meeting of creditors, and September 1, 1968 as the last day for the filing of objections to the discharge of the bankrupt.

At a Section 21-A*fn1 hearing on May 28, 1968, Semel stated that he was owed "more than a quarter million dollars." On May 29, 1968, an Order was entered by the Referee directing Semel to furnish, within 30 days, a list of the persons who allegedly owed him the quarter million dollars. Semel never complied with this order.

On August 20, 1968, the Referee, on an ex parte application by the trustee in bankruptcy, entered a written Order extending the time for filing objections to Semel's discharge in bankruptcy from September 1, 1968 to September 27, 1968. The Referee's Order stated in part: "it appearing further that future examinations of the bankrupt concerning his acts and conduct with reference to the property of the within estate are necessary, and good and sufficient cause appearing for the making of the within order."

No notice was given to Semel of the entry of the August 20th Order and he first learned of its existence on or about September 10, 1968, when he received a copy of specifications of objections to his discharge filed at that time.

On September 26, 1968, Semel filed "Notice of Motion" stating that he would apply on October 8, 1968 for an Order vacating and setting aside the August 20th Order extending time for filing of objections, on the ground that the latter Order "did not comply with General Order No. 23." Following hearing on Semel's application on October 8, 1968, the Referee entered an Order that day denying it. On October 14, 1968 Semel filed a Petition for Review of the Referee's October 8th Order.

On November 22, 1968 the Referee denied the Petition for Review on the ground that "Section 14b of the Bankruptcy Act does not require notice of such applications to extend time [for filing of objections to discharge]."

The District Court affirmed the Referee's disposition on March 13, 1969 and this appeal followed.

Semel's challenge to the validity of the Referee's Order extending the time for filing objections to his discharge is premised on his contention that General Order in Bankruptcy 23,*fn2 requires that notice must be given of any order issued by a referee, and that General Order No. ...


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