Laurent v. Herkert, No. 05-17173, 2006 WL 2429960 (11th Cir. August 22, 2006)

District courts may grant leave to hear appeals of interlocutory orders entered by a bankruptcy judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 158(a). “Because [28 U.S.C. § 158(a) ] does not provide the district court any criteria for determining whether to exercise their discretionary authority to grant leave to appeal, the court[s] look[ ] to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) which governs discretionary interlocutory appeals from district courts to the court of appeals.” In re Charter Co., 778 F.2d 617, 620 n. 5 (11th Cir.1985). In order to obtain leave to proceed under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), a party must demonstrate that: (1) the order presents a controlling question of law; (2) over which there is a substantial ground for difference of opinion among courts; and (3) the immediate resolution of the issue would materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation. See 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).

Here, the bankruptcy court’s order granting the Trustee’s motion to redirect payment and ordering that any remaining funds, including those returned from Bank Atlantic, be refunded to Laurent, did not meet the criteria warranting leave to file an interlocutory appeal. The order did not present any issue of controlling law over which there is disagreement among courts, but rather, it resolved the practical issue concerning to whom the Trustee should pay the funds she still held. Moreover, the order does not materially advance the outcome of the litigation. At the time of the order, the bankruptcy court had closed the case and discharged the Trustee, and Bank Atlantic, for whom the contested funds had been ear-marked, had rejected the funds.

Additional facts found in a prior opinion, Laurent v. Herkert, No. 04-16182, 149 F.App’x. 933 (August 22, 2005).