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George S. Louie v. Volvo-California Swedish et al

November 15, 2011

GEORGE S. LOUIE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
VOLVO-CALIFORNIA SWEDISH ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



ORDER GRANTING TRUSTEE'S MOTION TO REFER THIS CASE TO THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT, EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

This matter comes before the Court as a Motion to Refer this Case to the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California (Doc. #44) presented by Alan S. Fukushima ("the Trustee" or "Mr. Fukushima"), Chapter 7 Trustee in the bankruptcy case In re Louie, United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 11-25036-C-7. Defendants Volvo-California Swedish ("Defendants") oppose the motion (Doc. #46).*fn1

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 20, 2010, Plaintiff George S. Louie ("The Debtor" 3 or "Mr. Louie") filed the instant case. He alleges that Defendants 4 failed to accommodate his disability in violation of the Americans 5 with Disabilities Act ("ADA") of 1990, California Civil Code 6 Sections 54 and 54.1, and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act. 7

On February 28, 2011, Mr. Louie was placed into involuntary 8 bankruptcy pursuant to Title 11 U.S.C. § 303: In re George S. 9 Louie, United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 11-25036-C-7 (the "Involuntary Bankruptcy Case"). On March 30, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court entered an order for relief. Mr. Fukushima was appointed as Chapter 7 Trustee.

On April 1, 2011, Mr. Louie filed a voluntary bankruptcy case: In re George Sing Louie, United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 2011-28344 (the "Voluntary Bankruptcy Case").

On May 31, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court consolidated the Involuntary Bankruptcy Case and the Voluntary Bankruptcy Case as Case No. 11-250360C-7 (the "Bankruptcy Case") and appointed Mr. Fukushima as the Chapter 7 Trustee of the consolidated cases.

Through the Trustee's investigation, he discovered that the Debtor has more than 80 cases pending in various California state courts and federal district courts. Most or all of the cases allege that defendants failed to accommodate Mr. Louie's disability in violation of the ADA. On September 22, 2011, upon application by the Trustee, this Court issued a related case order (Doc. #47) relating eleven other ADA cases pending before the district court, all before this Court. The Trustee now moves to refer this case to the Bankruptcy Court (Doc. #44). Defendants Volvo-California 2 Swedish, et al. oppose the motion (Doc. #46). 3 4

II. OPINION

A. Legal Standard 6

1. Referral to Bankruptcy Court

28 U.S.C. § 1334(b) provides that federal courts shall have 8 "original but not exclusive jurisdiction of all civil proceedings 9 arising under title 11, or arising in or related to a case under title 11." In Celotex Corp. v. Edwards, 514 U.S. 300 (1995), the Supreme Court described the scope of "related to" jurisdiction under Section 1334(b):

Proceedings "related to" the bankruptcy include (1) causes of action owned by the debtor which become property of the estate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 541, and (2) suits between third parties which have an effect on the bankruptcy estate.

Celotex Corp., 514 U.S. at 308 n. 5.

Where the cause of action is not property of the estate in bankruptcy, courts in the Ninth Circuit utilize the Pacor test. The Pacor test considers "whether the outcome of that [civil] proceeding could conceivably have any effect on the estate being administered in bankruptcy." Pacor, Inc. v. Higgins, 743 F.2d 984, 994 (1984). Additionally, the Ninth Circuit suggests district courts consider "the efficient use of judicial resources, delay and costs to the parties, uniformity of bankruptcy administration, the prevention of forum shopping, and other related factors" when deciding whether to refer cases to the Bankruptcy ...


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