Bastanipour v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 20-1373 (7th Cir. 2020)

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Justia Opinion Summary

After filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, Bastani asked the judge to stay a pending state court foreclosure procedure. Bastani’s previous bankruptcy petition had been dismissed less than a year earlier, creating a presumption that the new filing was not in good faith, 11 U.S.C. 362(c)(3)(C)(i), and meaning that the automatic stay would end 30 days after the new proceeding began. The bankruptcy and district courts denied Bastani’s motion.

The Seventh Circuit denied relief and also denied Bastani’s motion for leave to file in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. 1915. Chapter 13 is designed for people who can pay most of their debts; someone eligible for Chapter 13 relief cannot establish that she cannot pay judicial fees in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The court further concluded that Bastani’s second bankruptcy petition was filed in actual bad faith; Bastani appeared to be trying to achieve a Chapter 13 benefit (keeping her home) without the detriment of having to pay her debts.

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Primary Holding
A debtor eligible for Chapter 13 relief cannot establish that she cannot pay judicial fees in the absence of extraordinary circumstances; the debtor's claim that she lacked income and assets indicated that her Chapter 13 filing was in bad fairth.

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