United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MEMORANDUM RULING AND JUDGMENT
MICHAEL J. JUNEAU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before the Court is a “Motion to Withdraw
Reference, ” Rec. Doc. , filed by Wessel GmbH
Fördertechnik und Pelletieranlagen
(“Wessel”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(d),
Fed. R. Bank. P. 5011, and Local Rule 83.4.3., to withdraw
the reference to the bankruptcy court of all claims asserted
by Craig Jalbert, the Chapter 11 Liquidating Trustee of
Louisiana Pellets, Inc. and German Pellets Louisiana, LLC
(collectively “Plaintiffs”) against Wessel,
an Opposition filed by the Plaintiffs, Rec. Doc. . For the
following reasons, the motion is DENIED.
February 16, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a complaint for recovery of
alleged fraudulent transfers alleging that Wessel received
numerous avoidable transfers. Wessel answered the Complaint
on June 13, 2018 and filed an amended answer on June 18,
2018. In both answers Wessel stated, “JURY
TRIAL IS DEMANDED AS TO ALL ALLEGATIONS, AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES
AND COUNTERCLAIMS IF ANY” and objected to the entry of
final orders by the bankruptcy court.
August 23, 2018, the bankruptcy court entered a Scheduling
Order and set a bench trial date for February 21,
2019. At the request of the parties, on December
19, 2018 the deadlines were extended, and the hearing on
pretrial motions and the trial were reset for April 12,
2019. The parties then engaged in discovery
until March 22, 2019, when Wessel filed a Motion to Continue
Trial Setting requesting that the bankruptcy court delay
the April 12, 2019 trial date until after the resolution of
the Motion for Summary Judgment he intended to file.
accordance with the Scheduling Order, on March 25, 2019,
Wessel filed a Motion for Summary Judgment,  which was set for
hearing on April 12, 2019 - the day of the trial. Wessel
filed the instant Motion to Withdraw the Reference, Rec. Doc.
, on April 3, 2019, a mere nine (9) days before the trial
was scheduled to begin. He then on April 10, 2019 filed an
Amended Pretrial Stipulation acknowledging “that this
is a bench trial, but without conceding any of the arguments
made in the recent motion to withdraw the reference pending
before the district court.” On April 12, 2019, the
bankruptcy court denied Wessel's Motion for Summary
Judgment, held the bench trial and took the merits of the
matter under advisement. On June 21, 2019, the bankruptcy
court entered judgment in favor of Wessel, and against
Jalbert,  and on July 3, 2019, Jalbert filed an
appeal in this Court.
requests this Court to withdraw the adversary proceeding from
the bankruptcy court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(d),
Fed. R. Bank. P. 5011, and Local Rule 83.4.3 and to allow the
matter to proceed before this Court, Rec. Doc. , claiming
cause exists for the withdrawal of this matter because: (1)
Wessel has asserted the right to a jury trial under the
Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution and does
not consent to the bankruptcy court conducting a jury trial
and (2) Plaintiff's fraudulent conveyance claims may not
be tried by the bankruptcy court pursuant to Stern v.
Marshall, 131 S.Ct. 2594, (2011) reh'g denied, 132
S.Ct. 56, (U.S. 2011). Plaintiffs oppose the Motion, Rec.
Wessel initially requested a jury in its answers,
Wessel's subsequent conduct shows its consent to proceed
before the bankruptcy judge in a bench trial. Wessel's
(1) participation in a pre-trial scheduling conference which
set a bench trial in the bankruptcy court, 
(2) filing two joint motions to set new bench trial dates in
the bankruptcy court, 
(3) filing a Motion to Continue the Trial Setting in the
bankruptcy court, 
(4) filing a Motion for Summary Judgment to have the
Trustee's suit resolved by the bankruptcy ...