Though voter apathy seems to be at an all-time high, elections do matter – especially in bankruptcy cases. When appealing a bankruptcy decision, deciding between the bankruptcy appellate panel (BAP) and the district court can determine the winners and the losers of the appeal. In the Law360 article “The Pivotal Election of a Bankruptcy Appeal,” Member David Goodrich examines several differences between the BAP and the district court.
In the article, Mr. Goodrich notes that one of the most significant differences between the Ninth Circuit BAP and a Ninth Circuit district court is the power to fashion mandamus relief. The Ninth Circuit has recently held that the Ninth Circuit BAP, which is not an Article III court, does not have jurisdiction to consider a petition for writ of mandamus.
Additionally, some appeals are better tailored for a bankruptcy judge, while others may be better suited for a district court judge. For example, examining the text of complex provisions of the Bankruptcy Code is within the BAP’s wheelhouse. However, obscure issues arising under non-bankruptcy law or procedure are more likely to fall within a district court judge’s expertise.
Mr. Goodrich concludes the article by noting that it is vital for appellants to carefully weigh the differences between the two courts. Choosing the appellate court best suited to decide an appeal may increase the chances that an appeal will be properly decided, so there’s no room for apathy.