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Carroll v. Abide

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

June 11, 2015

WILLIAM D. CARROLL, JR.; CAROLYN K. CARROLL; PAMELA CARROLL ALONSO, Plaintiffs--Appellants,
v.
SAMERA L. ABIDE; XYZ INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants--Appellees

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

WILLIAM D. CARROLL, JR., Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Prairieville, LA.

CAROLYN K. CARROLL, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Prairieville, LA.

PAMELA CARROLL ALONSO, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Gonzales, LA.

For SAMERA L. ABIDE, Defendant - Appellee: Steven Paul Lemoine, Esq., Law Offices of Robert H. Schmolke, Baton Rouge, LA.

Before REAVLEY, OWEN, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 503

PRISCILLA R. OWEN, Circuit Judge

William and Carolyn Carroll and their daughter Pamela Alonso seek damages against Samera Abide. They claim Abide violated their Fourth Amendment rights while serving as the bankruptcy trustee for the Carrolls' bankrupt estate and the bankrupt estate of their closely held corporation. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, concluding that the plaintiffs were required to request leave of the bankruptcy court to bring suit against the trustee. We vacate and remand to the district court.

I

This matter is related to two proceedings currently pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. The Carrolls filed for bankruptcy in May 2008 and subsequently filed for bankruptcy on behalf of their closely held corporation, RedPen Properties, LLC (RedPen), in July 2008. Abide was appointed to serve as the trustee for both the Carrolls' and RedPen's bankrupt estates.

The Carrolls' children requested a determination from the bankruptcy court that certain movable properties had been transferred to them through documents executed prior to the filing of the bankruptcy petitions. In response, Abide filed counterclaims on behalf of the estates seeking a determination of ownership of the movables. Abide argued that the transfer documents were void under Louisiana law. Because of uncertainty regarding the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Stern v. Marshall,[1] the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana withdrew the referral of this dispute to the bankruptcy court.

Subsequently, the district court entered an order requiring the Carrolls and their children to " produce to the trustee by 5:00 p.m. on March 8, 2012, all of the original documents, records, computer disks, financial, and legal folders of Redpen LLC from its inception until this date." The order also directed " that all computers and any disks of Redpen LLC be turned over to the trustee." On March 8, Abide came to the Carrolls' residence to collect the items listed in the district court's order. The Carrolls insisted that a particular ...


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