United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
appellant James Thull appeals from a decision of the United
States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
granting relief from the automatic stay in his Chapter 13
bankruptcy proceeding. Appellant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.,
sought relief from the automatic stay to enforce its rights
under a promissory note and a mortgage to Thull's home.
The bankruptcy court held a series of three hearings on Wells
Fargo's motion to give Thull the opportunity to verify
Wells Fargo's payment records. Ultimately, the bankruptcy
court granted Wells Fargo's motion at the third hearing,
which Thull failed to attend.
appeal, Thull raises two arguments: (1) Wells Fargo lacked
standing to seek relief from the automatic stay because it
was not true holder of the promissory note; and (2) Thull was
deprived of the opportunity to present evidence in opposition
to Wells Fargo's motion because he had not received
adequate notice of the third hearing. For the reasons
explained below, neither argument provides a reason to
reverse the decision of the bankruptcy court.
the following facts from Wells Fargo's appendix to its
brief and the record from Thull's bankruptcy proceeding.
Dkt. 6; Dkt. 10-1; In re Thull, 13-15255 (Bankr.
W.D. Wis. filed Oct. 29, 2013).
2005, Thull obtained a note from Argent Mortgage Company,
LLC, for $104, 000 to purchase his home and signed a mortgage
designating his home as collateral for the note. In May 2012,
the mortgage was assigned to Wells Fargo. Dkt. 97-3. As for
the note, it was endorsed in blank, which would make the note
payable to the holder. See B. Dkt. 97-1, at 3. Wells
Fargo filed copies of the note and other loan documents
during Thull's bankruptcy proceeding. B. Dkt. Claims
Register, Claim 10-1 and B. Dkt. 97.
filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in October 2013. Thull
initially reported that Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., was
one of his creditors. B. Dkt. 9, at 8. Wells Fargo filed a
proof of claim indicating that Select Portfolio Servicing was
merely the servicer for Wells Fargo, the assignee of the note
and mortgage. Dkt. 6-2, at 50-83. Thull then filed a modified
Chapter 13 plan listing Wells Fargo as a creditor with a
secured claim for his home, B. Dkt. 54, at 1-2. After filing
that modified plan, Thull objected to Wells Fargo's claim
on several grounds, including that Wells Fargo had failed to
produce the original note for his verification and that the
assignment of the mortgage was fraudulent. B. Dkt. 62, at 2.
The bankruptcy court confirmed Thull's Chapter 13 plan,
B. Dkt. 66, and denied Thull's objection to Wells
Fargo's claim after a hearing at which Thull appeared pro
se, B. Dkt. 75. Thull filed a further modified plan, again
listing Wells Fargo as a secured creditor. B. Dkt. 87.
February 2017, Wells Fargo moved for relief from the
automatic stay, alleging that Thull had failed to make the
post-petition mortgage payments required under the plan from
June 2015 to January 2017. B. Dkt. 97. The bankruptcy court
held an initial telephonic hearings on Wells Fargo's
motion on March 7, 2017. The bankruptcy court adjourned the
hearing until April 4, 2017, so that Wells Fargo could
provide Thull with its payment ledger which would allow Thull
to verify whether the allegations of missed payments were
correct. Wells Fargo provided the payment ledger. B. Dkt.
103. The bankruptcy court adjourned the hearing yet again to
May 9, 2017, apparently in response to Thull's request
for more time so he could collect and file documents. B. Dkt.
105. Thull was again asserting that Wells Fargo was not the
true owner of the note and mortgage. B. Dkt. 104.
did not appear at the May 9, 2017 hearing, and the bankruptcy
court granted Wells Fargo's motion in all respects. B.
court has jurisdiction over appeals from “final
judgments, orders, and decrees” of a bankruptcy court.
28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1). The bankruptcy court's order
granting Wells Fargo's motion for relief from the
automatic stay constitutes a final judgment. See Colon v.
Option One Mortg. Corp., 319 F.3d 912, 916 n.1 (7th Cir.
asked this court for an accommodation earlier in the case to
present his arguments orally. Dkt. 7. He stated that he
suffered from a brain injury, which he could show by
presenting his medical records if requested by the court.
Id. Under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure
8019(b), an appellant is presumptively entitled to oral
argument. But a district court need not hold oral argument
when “the facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented in the briefs and record, and the decisional
process would not be significantly aided by oral
argument.” Fed.R.Bankr.P. 8019(b)(3). Thull has
finished briefing this case, and his briefs and submissions
filed with the bankruptcy court indicate that he can