United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
RUSSELL B. WEEKES Petitioner,
BRETT JASON HAZLETT, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO
J. SHELBY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case comes before the court on Petitioner Russell B.
Weekes' Motion to Withdraw the bankruptcy reference from
Bankruptcy Case No. 16-30360. For the reasons that follow, the
Motion is DENIED.
Brett Jason Hazlett was represented by Russell B. Weekes of
Capstone Law in the bankruptcy proceeding underlying this
case. After Hazlett's case was fully administered, both
Hazlett and the U.S. Trustee filed Motions for Sanctions.
Hazlett filed a Motion for Sanctions on November 8, 2017,
which Weekes objected on November 27, 2017. The U.S. Trustee
filed a Motion for the Cancellation of Attorney Fee
Agreements and Sanctions on March 9, 2018,  and Weekes
objected on March 26, 2018.
April 5, 2018, Capstone Law filed a Motion to
Intervene. That same day, Weekes and Capstone Law
filed a joint Motion to Withdraw,  asking this court to
withdraw the bankruptcy reference and decide the pending
Motions for Sanctions against them.
28 U.S.C. § 157(d), withdrawal of a bankruptcy reference
may be permissive or mandatory. In either case, the motion to
withdraw the reference must be timely made. The timeliness
requirements are laid out in DUCivR 83-7.4(c). In adversary
proceedings, a party seeking to withdraw the reference
“must file a Withdrawal Motion within twenty-one (21)
days after entering an appearance in the adversary
proceeding.” But in contested matters, if a party
seeking withdrawal did not initiate the contested matter, it
“must file a Withdrawal Motion simultaneously with the
filing of its initial response to the motion or application
initiating the contested matter.”
and the U.S. Trustee argue that Weekes and Capstone Law's
Motion should be denied because it is untimely. The court
agrees with respect to Weekes and denies Weekes's Motion
motion for sanctions in a bankruptcy case is a contested
matter-it is a motion within the larger bankruptcy case, not
a separately filed complaint related to it. This conclusion
is consistent with the rulings of several bankruptcy courts
that have treated motions for sanctions against a
debtor's counsel and other similar motions as contested
matters. Additionally, the Federal Rules of
Bankruptcy Procedure specify that unlike adversary
proceedings, which are initiated by filing a complaint,
contested matters are initiated by motion, just as Hazlett
and the U.S. Trustee did here.
the court applies the standard for timeliness for contested
matters to this Motion. Weekes filed his initial response to
Hazlett's Motion for Sanctions over four months prior to
the filing of the Motion to Withdraw. Respecting
the U.S. Trustee's Motion for the Cancellation of
Attorney Fee Agreements and Sanctions,  eight days
elapsed between the filing of Weekes's
Objection and the Motion to Withdraw. As such, the
Motion to Withdraw was untimely with respect to both
Hazlett's and the U.S. Trustee's Motions. Therefore,
Weekes's Motion to Withdraw is denied.
Motion to Withdraw is DENIED. The Clerk of Court is ordered
to close the case. SO ...