The Sixth Circuit addressed on Monday a circuit split concerning appellate jurisdiction over bankruptcy court orders rejecting planned confirmation in In re William Lindsey. In an opinion by Judge Sutton, the Sixth Circuit joined four other circuits which had concluded that a decision rejecting a confirmation plan does not constitute a final appealable order under Section 158(d)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code. The Court noted that an unpublished decision in the Circuit had reached that same conclusion, but that three other circuits had gone the other way. The circuits staking out a contrary approach had relied to a certain extent on the need for a “flexible” approach to finality in the bankruptcy setting, but that could not persuade the Sixth Circuit. As the Court explained, many matters remain to be done in the bankruptcy court upon rejection of planned confirmation. Therefore, one cannot call such an order final because further findings may issue from the bankruptcy court that would inform appellate review.
Appellate jurisdiction in bankruptcy cases is often different from traditional appellate jurisdiction, and the nuances and the rules can certainly create confusion concerning appealability. This case illustrates the point, as neither side sought to contest the Court’s jurisdiction, but the Court raised the issue nonetheless. The Court’s decision in this case should provide a useful roadmap to any parties seeking to evaluate the question of finality in the bankruptcy context.