By: Scott B. Riddle, Esq.

Williford v. Funderburke, et al, No. 06-15119, 2007 App. LEXIS 5803 (11th Cir. March 13, 2007).  The Bankruptcy Court entered a final order on summary judgment, in favor of the defendants, in an adversary proceeding, but it was undisputed that the proceding was a non-core proceeding, and the parties had not consented to the district court referring the case to the Bankruptcy Court for final determination.  The Order was appealed, and the District Court affirmed.

The Eleventh Circuit held that the Bankruptcy Court erred in entering a final order in a non-core proceeding. However, since the District Court reviewed the order de novo pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §157(c)(1) the Bankruptcy Court’s memorandum would be treated as a report and recommendation and the District Court’s order would be treated as a final order adopting the report and recommendation. 

The Court also held that the plaintiff had not stated a claim for the reasons stated in the Bankruptcy Court’s memorandum (treated as a report and recommendation), and affirmed.