Kaler v. Slominski, No. 15-2334 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Kip Kaler, as trustee of the debtor's bankruptcy estate, brought suit against Louie Slominski to avoid a land lease that Slominski and the debtor had entered. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) held that the bankruptcy court incorrectly calculated the setoff but affirmed its judgment in all other respects. Despite Slominski's failure to raise his double-recovery argument before the bankruptcy court, the BAP considered it. The court, however, will independently review the bankruptcy court's decision and is not bound by the BAP's decision. The court has discretion to consider a new argument in exceptional circumstances but the court is not convinced to do so on this record. The court concluded that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to grant the trustee a new trial based on the newly discovered evidence where the newly discovered evidence - consisting primarily of unexecuted lease documents found on a computer not belonging to Slominski - did not undermine its conclusion that Slominski acted in good faith. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the BAP.