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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA


TAMPA DIVISION

MARK A. ADAMS,

Appellant,

v. CASE NO: 8:08-cv-1570-T-26

CORPORATE SPORTS MARKETING


GROUP, et al.,

Appellees.
/

ORDER

This cause comes before the Court on Appellant Mark Adams’ (“Adams”) appeal

of a Default Final Judgment (Dkt. 1-2) entered against him as the debtor in a bankruptcy

adversary proceeding by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of

Florida (“the bankruptcy court”) in Case No. 8:06-ap-185-PMG. (Dkt. 1-2.) Adams also

appeals an Order entered in the main Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, Case No. 8:05-bk-

29501-PMG, revoking his discharge based on the Default Final Judgment. (Dkt. 9-22.)

The Appellee Creditors (collectively “Appellees”) are Corporate Sports Marketing Group,

Inc. (“CSM”), Dwayne Martins (“Martins”), Christopher C. King (“King”), Martin

Richardson (“Richardson”), the law firm of Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & Wein, P.A.

(“BRDW”), and Timothy W. Weber (“Weber”). Adams filed an initial brief (Dkt. 18)

and Appellees filed an answer brief (Dkt. 23). Adams failed to file a timely reply brief
after being granted three extensions of time to do so. (Dkts. 26, 28, 30.) Nonetheless,

this appeal can be resolved without need for a reply brief from Adams. The full record

and supplemental record of the bankruptcy court proceedings have also been filed with

the Court. (Dkts. 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 21, 22.) The Court has jurisdiction to hear this appeal of

the final orders of the bankruptcy court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1).

Having carefully considered all of the submissions, the Court finds that the

judgment and order of the bankruptcy court are due to be affirmed. The answer brief of

Appellees is thorough, well-reasoned, and amply supported by the record and, thus,

portions thereof will be adopted and incorporated herein.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Adams filed a voluntary Chapter 7 petition in the bankruptcy court on October 14,

2005. A notice of commencement was sent to creditors scheduling a Section 341 hearing

for December 13, 2005, and setting the deadline for objections to discharge and

dischargeability for February 6, 2006. (Dkt. 9-8.) Adams did not timely file his

schedules or statement of financial affairs and did not pay the applicable filing fee, which

resulted in a notice of deficiency being issued by the bankruptcy court. (Dkt. 21-1.) In

response, Adams moved to extend the time to accomplish these acts, which the

bankruptcy court granted without a hearing. (Dkts. 21-2, 21-3, 21-4.) Adams’ Section

341 Meeting of Creditors was continued by the trustee to January 17, 2006. (Dkt. 2-2, at

2.) Counsel for Appellees attended the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors on December

13, 2005, and February 6, 2006. (Dkt. 9-9.) On the latter date, the trustee requested that

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Adams produce additional documents concerning his assets, including documents

concerning pre-petition transfers of assets by Adams and involving his wife and

professional association. (Dkt. 9-9 at 2-3.)

On February 2, 2006, Appellees made an appearance and filed their Motion to

Extend Time to Object to Discharge or Dischargeability, seeking a 60-day extension in

light of the delayed filing of the schedules and statement of financial affairs, the

continuation of the Section 341 meeting, the request for additional documentation from

Adams, and the inability of Appellees to fully formulate a complete objection within the

time provided. (Dkt. 9-9.)1 On February 6, 2006, Appellees also timely filed an

1
At this point, it should be noted that the history of Appellees’ dispute with
Adams is quite lengthy and is characterized by seven years of court proceedings, resulting
in sanctions judgments against Adams, criminal contempt proceedings against Adams for
refusing to cooperate with discovery in aid of execution to collect those sanctions
judgments, Adams’ permanent disbarment from the practice of law by The Florida
Supreme Court, Adams’ bankruptcy, and ultimately, the revocation of Adams’ discharge
by the bankruptcy court. (See generally, Dkt. 11-13.) As found by The Florida Bar
referee presiding over Adams’ disbarment, “[t]he unrebutted evidence proves beyond any
reasonable doubt that the Respondent [Adams] engaged in deliberate conduct resulting in
financial damages of over $150,000 to Attorney Timothy Weber and his law firm as well
as additional financial damages to Mr. Weber’s former clients in the underlying
litigation.” (See Dkt. 11-13 at 21; see also id. at 24 (finding that“the misconduct has
caused significant financial and emotional damage to other members of The Florida Bar
and the Respondent’s clients and adversaries.”).
This conduct included, among other things, knowing violation of court orders
and rules to gain an improper benefit or cause serious interference with a legal
proceeding; engaging in protracted intentional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,
deceit or misrepresentation to opposing counsel and the court, including intentionally
making numerous false statements of fact to the court with the intent to deceive the
court; knowingly violating court orders; knowingly communicating with represented
persons; knowingly asserting frivolous arguments; and purposefully obstructing
access to evidence. (See generally, Dkt. 11-13.) In addition, counsel for Appellees, and

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Objection to Discharge and Dischargeability. (Dkt. 21-9.) The bankruptcy court noted

technical deficiencies with the objection and granted an extension up to February 27,

2006 to cure them. (Dkt. 21-10.) Meanwhile, on February 17, 2006, the court, without a

hearing, granted Appellees’ Motion to Extend the Time to Object to Discharge and

Dischargeability, extending the period to April 7, 2006. (Dkt. 9-10.) In reliance on the

bankruptcy court’s order, Appellees withdrew “without prejudice” their previously filed

objection. (Dkt. 21-11.)

On April 7, 2006, Appellees timely filed the adversary proceeding against Adams,

his wife Lisa, and the Law Offices of Mark A. Adams, P.A., objecting to Adams’

discharge (Count I), objecting to the discharge of the sanctions judgments against Adams

and in favor of CSM, King, and Martins (Count II); objecting to the dischargeability of

fraudulent transfer claims against Adams (Count III); objecting to the dischargeability of

malicious prosecution, abuse of process, defamation, and additional sanctions claims

against Adams possessed by Appellees (Count IV); and seeking to set aside fraudulent

transfers of assets to Lisa Adams and Law Office of Mark A. Adams, P.A. (Count V).

(Dkt. 22-1.) Appellees relied upon 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(2), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) to

oppose Adams’ discharge, as well as 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) to oppose the dischargeability

of the Debtor’s obligations to Appellees. (Dkt. 22-1)

his law firm, have been the target of frivolous lawsuits, criminal complaints, bar
grievances, and a massive amount of false and defamatory statements spread on the
internet by the Debtor. (Dkt. 22-1.)

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Appellees alleged, inter alia, that CSM, King, and Martins obtained state court

judgments against Adams and his former professional association, Mark A. Adams, P.A.,

that ordered each to provide discovery in aid of execution. (Dkt. 22-2 at 3.) Appellees

asserted that Adams and his professional association refused to comply with these court

orders during the two years immediately preceding the filing of Adams’s bankruptcy

petition on October 14, 2005. (Dkt. 22-2 at 3.) During this time, Adams allegedly

dissolved Mark A. Adams, P.A., and transferred substantially all of its assets to himself

and his wife as tenants by the entireties and then subsequently transferred those assets to

Law Office of Mark A. Adams, P.A.. (Dkt. 22-2 at 3.) Appellees also asserted that this

transfer placed all assets of Mark A. Adams, P.A., out of the reach of CSM, King and

Martins, the holders of perfected judgment liens, and rendered Adams’s stock in Mark A.

Adams, P.A., worthless. (Dkt. 22-2 at 3.)

Appellees further alleged that the state court judgments were based on the

Adams’ willful and malicious actions towards CSM, King and Martins. (Dkt. 22-1

at 4.) Moreover, Appellees urged that in retaliation for obtaining those judgments,

Adams willfully and maliciously filed a frivolous lawsuit against CSM and King and then

subsequently amended to add Weber, BRDW, and Richardson. (Dkt. 22-1 at 4.) This

lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice and Adams appealed. (Dkt. 22-1 at 4.) Appellees

alleged a pattern of abusive misconduct perpetrated by Adams, including conduct

involving fraud, as well as Adams’s announced intention in disciplinary proceedings to

continue that pattern of conduct directed towards Appellees. (Dkt. 22-1 at 4.) Appellees

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additionally alleged that Adams willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly defamed them by

posting false internet articles accusing Appellees of bribing judges and committing other

unlawful or unethical actions. (Dkt. 22-1 at 4. ) Appellees maintained that Adams made

false and malicious complaints of illegal and unethical conduct about Weber and BRDW

to the FBI, FDLE, The Florida Bar, and others for the purpose of vexing and harassing

Weber and BRDW. (Dkt. 22-1 at 6.) These statements also allegedly accuse CSM, King,

Martins, and Richardson of participating in the corruption and illegal activity. (Dkt. 22-1

at 6.)

Appellees attempted personal service2 of the Complaint on Adams at his

home but, by all accounts, Adams actively evaded service of process. (Dkt. 10-4 at 2;

Dkts. 10-5 - 10-15.) Adams was ultimately served on August 18, 2006, at the courthouse.

(Dkt. 10-9.) In response, he filed a Debtor’s Motion to Dismiss Adversary Proceeding

asserting that service of process was untimely under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) and

Fed.R.Bank.P. 7004(e). (Dkt. 10-3.) Appellees filed their Motion to Substitute Party,

Issue Alias Summonses, and Extend Time Period for Service of Process in which

Appellees requested that the Court extend the time periods in Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) and

Fed.R.Bank.P. 7004(e) to August 18, 2006, and to deem Adams validly served as of that

date. (Dkt. 10-4.) In the motion, Appellees detailed Adams’ repeated efforts to evade

2
Appellees assert that personal service, rather than service by mail, was
attempted because Adams continuously claimed in court that he did not receive matters
by mail or received them in an untimely fashion. (Dkt. 11-1 at 23.)

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service of process, attaching numerous affidavits of process servers and other who

attempted to serve Adams. (Dkts. 10-7 - 10-15.) On December 5, 2006, the bankruptcy

court conducted a hearing on Adams’ Amended Motion to Dismiss Adversary

Proceeding3 and Appellees Motion to Substitute Party, Issue Alias Summonses, and

Extend Time Period for Service of Process. (Dkt. 11-1.)

Following the hearing, the bankruptcy court entered an Order extending the time

period for service of process and deeming Adams timely served; finding that Lisa Adams

was properly served; rejecting Adams’ claim that the court was required to conduct a

hearing on Appellees’ motion to extend the time under Rule 4004(b), Federal Rules of

Bankruptcy Procedure; and granting Appellees’ request to correct a misnomer in the

professional association and finding that it was validly served. (Dkt. 11-2.) The court

denied all of Adams’ motions to dismiss. (Dkt. 11-2 at 17.)

Pursuant to Rule 7012(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Adams

was required to file and serve an answer within ten days, but Adams filed a motion to

enlarge the time to answer, (Dkt. 11-25), and a motion for an extension of time to perfect

an interlocutory appeal from the bankruptcy court’s order. (Dkt. 22-2.) The court

granted Adams’ motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal or motion for leave to

appeal. (Dkt. 22-4.) On April 6, 2007, the court also granted Adams’ request for an

3
Adams amended his motion before the hearing in order to focus on the
bankruptcy court’s decision to extend the time for Appellees to object to
discharge and dischargeability, the 120 day requirement of Rule 4(m), and the
validity of service on Lisa Adams. (Dkt. 10-25.)

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enlargement of the time to answer for 20 additional days. (Dkt. 22-3.) Adams still failed

to plead within the time allowed by the Court. In addition, Adams never filed an appeal

from the March 19, 2007 Order.

Instead, on April 30, 2007, Adams filed a successive4 Motion to Dismiss for Lack

of Jurisdiction and a Renewed Motion to Quash Service of Process and to Dismiss

Adversary Proceeding. (Dkt. 11-6.) Adams track record makes clear that this filing was

made solely for the purpose of delaying the proceedings.5 On September 28, 2007, the

bankruptcy court entered another Order denying Adams’s objections to service of

process, specifically referencing its prior ruling on the same point. (Dkt. 11-9.)

Affording Adams every benefit possible, he was still required to answer within 10 days of

the September 28, 2007 Order. See Fed.R.Bank.P. 7012(a). Adams nevertheless failed to

plead within the time permitted by the Rules. Instead, he filed another motion to extend

the time to file a notice of appeal or motion for leave to appeal the Order denying his

motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 22-5.) Appellees opposed Adams’ motion to extend the time to

4
Adams moved to dismiss on the same grounds rejected by the March 19,
2007 Order, in an effort to generate a second opportunity to appeal the denial of the
motion to dismiss that Adams failed to timely appeal previously, despite being afforded
extra time by the bankruptcy court.
5
As with the deadlines for filing the initial brief and the reply brief in the instant
cast, Adams sought to extend the deadline for nearly every matter in the adversary
proceeding and the main bankruptcy case.

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file a notice of appeal or motion for leave to appeal. (Dkt. 22-6.) Appellees also moved

the bankruptcy court for a default for Adams’s willful failure to plead. (Dkt. 11-10.)

On January 17, 2008, after a hearing on the parties’ motions, the bankruptcy court

entered an Order granting Adams’ motion to extend the time to file a notice of appeal and

motion for leave to appeal. (Dkt. 22-7.) The court also granted in part and denied in part

Adams’s motion to enlarge the time to file a response to the Complaint. (Dkt. 22-7.) In

so doing, the court sternly advised that “Adams must file a written Answer to the

Plaintiffs’ Complaint within 20 days from the date of this Order.” (Dkt. 22-7.) The court

denied Appellees’ motion to default Adams “without prejudice to the Plaintiffs’ right to

renew the Motion in the event that the Debtor fails to file an Answer to the Complaint

within 20 days from the date of this Order.” (Id.)

Once again, Adams did not timely file a notice of appeal or motion for leave to

appeal the September 28, 2007 Order denying his second, successive motion to dismiss.

He also did not timely file an answer as directed by the court. Rather, Adams filed a

number of documents on behalf of Lisa Adams and Law Office of Mark A. Adams, P.A.,

and yet another “Motion to Enlarge Time to File Motion for Leave to Appeal or File

Notice of Appeal of Order on Debtor’s Motion to Enlarge Time to File Motion for Leave

to Appeal or File Notice of Appeal and Debtor’s Motion to Enlarge Time to File

Response to the Complaint.” (Dkts. 8-10.)

Appellees renewed their motion for default based on Adams’s failure to plead,

pointing out that Adams had at least four opportunities to file and serve an answer and

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deliberately chose not to do so. The bankruptcy court scheduled a hearing on the renewed

motion for default. (Dkt. 22-14.) As of the date of the hearing, Adams still had not

served an answer to the Complaint. Consequently, the bankruptcy court entered its Order

Granting Motion for Default Judgment. (Dkt. 1-4.) Thereafter, the clerk of the

bankruptcy court entered a default against Adams, (Dkt. 1-3), and the court entered its

Default Final Judgment. (Dkt. 1-2.) The court subsequently entered an Order in the main

bankruptcy case revoking Adams’s discharge and finding that Adams’ obligations to

Appellees were non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. (Dkt. 9-21.) Adams filed a single

Notice of Appeal from both orders in the adversary proceeding. (Dkt. 1-1.)

DISCUSSION

Ground I

In Ground I of the instant appeal, Adams raises the following issue:

WHETHER THE BANKRUPTCY COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION


IN GRANTING A MOTION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO OBJECT O
DISCHARGE OR DISCHARGEABILITY UNDER FED.R.BANK.P.
4004(B) WITHOUT A HEARING WHERE THE DEBTOR DID NOT
TIMELY OBJECT TO THE MOTION, NEVER REQUESTED A
HEARING ON THE MOTION, AND FAILED TO TIMELY SEEK
RECONSIDERATION BEFORE APPELLEES RELIED UPON THE
EXTENSION.

Despite allowing a default to be entered against him, Adams argues in Ground I

that the bankruptcy court erred in granting Appellees’ motion to extend the time to object

to his discharge and to object to the dischargeability of the his obligations to the

Appellees. Adams argues that it was a denial of due process for the court to grant the

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motion without a hearing and without taking evidence. He first argues that Rule 4004(b)

of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure required the bankruptcy court to conduct a

hearing on Appellees’ motion, relying on the phrase “after hearing on notice” contained

in the rule.6 However, the phrase “after notice and a hearing” or any similar phrase7 is

defined by the Bankruptcy Code as follows:

In this title

(1) “after notice and a hearing” or a similar phrase –

(A) means after such notice as is appropriate in the particular


circumstances, and such opportunity for a hearing as is
appropriate in the particular circumstances; but

(B) authorizes an act without an actual hearing if such notice


is given properly and if –

(I) such a hearing is not requested timely by a


party in interest; or

(ii) there is insufficient time for a hearing to be


commenced before such act must be done, and
the court authorizes such act.

11 U.S.C. § 102(1). The 1978 Revision Notes explain that “a hearing will not be

necessary in every instance. If there is no objection to the proposed action, the

action may go ahead without court action.”

6
It is undisputed that Adams received notice of Appellees’ motion.
7
Rule 4004(b)’s provision “after hearing on notice” has been construed to be a
phrase similar to “after notice and a hearing,” thus, making Section 102 applicable to its
procedures. See In re Amezaga, 192 B.R. 37, 40 (Bankr. D. P.R. 1996.)

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The 1978 Revision Notes also indicate that the phrase “such opportunity for a

hearing as is appropriate in the particular circumstances” is designed to permit the court

to dispense with a hearing. See In re: Grunau, 376 B.R. 322, 330 (M.D. Fla. 2007)

(recognizing that Section 102 allows the Bankruptcy Court to act without a hearing if one

is not requested by a party in interest or there is not enough time to conduct the hearing).

In determining what is appropriate from a procedural standpoint, the bankruptcy court is

clearly vested with broad discretion. See id. (reviewing decision of whether to conduct a

hearing for abuse of discretion); see also Colonial Daytona Ltd. Partnership v. American

Sav. of Florida, 152 B.R. 996, 998 (M.D. Fla. 1993) (holding that discretionary rulings of

the bankruptcy court are reviewed for abuse of discretion). Thus, Adams must show that

the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in failing to conduct a hearing before granting

Appellees an extension of time. Adams cannot meet his burden inasmuch as he: (1)

failed to object after receiving notice of the request; (2)failed to request a hearing on the

motion; and (3) failed to timely seek a rehearing or reconsideration of the order granting

the extension. The record before this Court shows that Adams made no objection to the

motion for extension of time before it was granted. The motion was filed and served on

Adams on February 2, 2006. The bankruptcy court delayed until February 17, 2006

before entering an order granting the requested extension. Adams made no effort to

request a hearing on the motion during this time. It is abundantly clear that Adams had

notice of the motion and an opportunity to be heard, which is all that was required by

Rule 4004(b).

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Then, once the bankruptcy court entered an Order granting the extension to

Appellees, Adams failed to file anything stating that he objected to the motion or took

issue with the granting of it without a hearing until months later when Adams raised the

issue in the adversary proceeding. The court could have afforded Adams a hearing or

reconsidered the motion after considering any objection by Adams on the merits. See In

re: Wade, 948 F.2d 1122, 1125 (9th Cir. 1991) (finding initial failure to grant a hearing

harmless due to consideration of a motion for reconsideration). In short, it was plainly

within the Court’s discretion to grant the motion without a hearing where Adams did not

object or request a hearing and did not timely complain of the absence of a hearing.

Although Adams repeatedly asserts his procedural challenges, he makes little

effort, if any, to address the merits of the motion for extension.8 The motion for extension

was based upon the fact that Adams’ Section 341 hearing was continued to allow the

trustee and Appellees time to investigate fraudulent transfers made by Adams and his

former professional association immediately prior to the filing of bankruptcy. The trustee

continued the initial Section 341 meeting of creditors to allow additional questioning of

Adams concerning these transfers and, at the continued Section 341 hearing, the trustee

asked Adams to produce documents concerning these fraudulent transfers because they

were not available to Appellees at the time objections to discharge and dischargeability

8
It should be noted that Adams has never attempted to show that the facts alleged
in the motion for extension were untrue, even after filing multiple motions in the
bankruptcy court concerning the Order extending the deadline.

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were due. Adams never disputed these facts in the bankruptcy court and does not do so

here.

The continuance of the meeting of creditors and Adams’s failure to produce

documentation of the pre-petition fraudulent transfers was sufficient cause to extend the

deadline. See In re: Datson, 197 B.R. 1 (D. Me. 1996) (recognizing that an extension of

time under Rule 4004(b) is the proper remedy where the meeting of creditors has been

rescheduled or delayed); In re: Amezega, 192 B.R. at 41 (holding that requests for

extension under Rule 4004(b) should be granted liberally, particularly where the need for

discovery is the basis of the request). Such extensions of time are necessary to prevent ad

debtor from “playing fast and loose with their assets or with the reality of their affairs.”

In re: Amezega, 192 B.R. at 41 (quoting In re: Tully, 818 F.2d 106, 110 (1st Cir. 1987)).

Ground II

Ground II of Adams’ appeal asserts the following issue:

WHETHER THE BANKRUPTCY COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION


IN EXTENDING, BY 13 DAYS, THE TIME FOR SERVICE OF
PROCESS UNDER FED.R.CIV.P. 4(M), MADE APPLICABLE TO
BANKRUPTCY ADVERSARY PROCEEDINGS, WHERE THE
DEBTOR EVADED SERVICE OF PROCESS AND WHERE A
REFUSAL TO GRANT THE BRIEF EXTENSION WOULD HAVE
RESULTED IN APPELLEES’ CLAIMS BEING TIME-BARRED.

The crux of Adams’ argument is that Appellees failed to obtain service of

process within the 120-day time limit and that the bankruptcy court was, therefore,

required to dismiss the complaint absent a showing of good cause. Pursuant to Federal

Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), if a defendant is not served within 120 days, the court may

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extend the time for an appropriate period upon a showing of good cause. However, the

bankruptcy court is vested with wide discretion to consider other factors that would

warrant an extension of the time for service, even when a showing of good cause is not

made. See Hornekamp v. Van Winkle and Co., Inc., 402 F.3d 1129, 1132 (11th Cir.

2005). For instance, a trial court may look to whether time limitations would bar the

action from being re-filed, whether the defendant is evading attempted service, or whether

the defendant is concealing defects in service. Id. (citing to Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m) Advisory

Committee Note, 1993 Amendments). Here, the bankruptcy court properly exercised its

discretion in granting Appellees an extension of time for service of process on Adams.

The court noted that Appellees had made a number of attempts at personal service and

presented evidence that Adams was evading service of process. The court faulted

Appellees for failing to serve Adams by U.S. Mail. Appellees explained to the court that

they did not utilize service by U.S. Mail because Adams chronically complained about

receipt of documents in the mail, but the court determined that Appellees did not show

good cause for their failure to effect service on debtor within 120 days. (Adversary

Proceeding, Dkt. 23 at 8.) However, relying on Hornekamp, the court noted that

Appellees would be time-barred from re-filing should the action be dismissed, and that

they encountered “unusual difficulties” in their efforts to effect personal service on the

Debtor. (Id. at 10–11.) The court determined that the Adams acknowledged that he had

been personally served on August 18, 2006, and that a short extension of 13 days would

promote the Court’s policy of resolving matters on the merits. (Id.)

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While Adams focuses on the absence of good cause, he fails to address the issue of

whether the bankruptcy court abused its discretion in granting a 13-day extension under

these circumstances. The court was required to consider factors other than good cause.

Where a trial court finds that a plaintiff failed to show good cause for failing to serve

process within the 120-day period, the court still must consider whether any other

circumstances warrant an extension. See Lepone-Dempsy v. Carroll County Comm’n,

476 F. 3d 1277, 1282 (11th Cir. 2007). The Lepone-Dempsy court held that the district

court abused its discretion for not at least considering whether the plaintiff’s claim would

be time-barred absent a permissive extension. Id. As the bankruptcy court noted in its

Order, Appellees may have been time-barred from re-filing Counts I through IV of the

Complaint if it were to dismiss the complaint, personal service on Adams was difficult,

and the 13-day extension that was required was minimal. (Adversary Proceeding, Dkt. 23

at 10–11.) The court, after considering good cause, weighed these other factors as

required and determined that a brief extension was appropriate. (Id. at 12.) Adams has

not shown an abuse of discretion in the bankruptcy court’s extension of time and

recognition of valid service of process.

Ground III

Ground III of the appeal asserts the following issue:

WHETHER THE BANKRUPTCY COURT ERRED IN ENTERING A


JUDGMENT DENYING THE DEBTOR’S DISCHARGE AND THE
DISCHARGEABILITY OF THE SANCTIONS JUDGMENT IN FAVOR
OF APPELLEES AND AGAINST THE DEBTOR WITHOUT AN
AFFIDAVIT.

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Relying on Rule 7055-2, Local Rules for the Bankruptcy Court of the Middle

District of Florida, Adams argues that a default judgment was improper in the absence of

an affidavit in support of the allegations set forth in the complaint. However, Rule 7055-

2 must be read in conjunction with Rule 55, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which is

made applicable to adversary proceedings by Rule 7055, Federal Rules of Bankruptcy

Procedure. Rule 55 provides two situations where the entry of a default is appropriate.

Rule 55(b)(1) provides for entry of a default judgment by the clerk if the plaintiff’s claim

is for a sum certain, the plaintiff submits an affidavit showing the amount due, and the

defendant was defaulted for not appearing. Rule 55(b)(2), on the other hand, provides for

entry of a default judgment by the Court “in all other cases.” Under Rule 55(b)(20, there

is no requirement of an affidavit.

Rule 7055-2, by its very terms, applies to situations “[w]hen a party seeks a default

judgment as a result of a defendant’s failure to respond after being served with a

complaint, . . . .” This clearly modifies the situation described in Fed.R.Bank.P. 55(b)(1)

where the defendant is defaulted “for not appearing.” It is inapplicable where, as here,

Adams did respond after being served with a complaint, but is subject to being defaulted

for other reasons. The default judgment entered in the instant case was entered by the

court as a result of Adams’ willful refusal to plead after being ordered to do so twice.

Nothing in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 or Rule 7055-2 of the Local Rules for the

Bankruptcy Court of the Middle District of Florida required the bankruptcy court to do

anything more on the counts against Adams other than to revoke Adams’s discharge and

17
find that Adams’s obligations to Appellees were non-dischargeable. Adams chose not to

contest the allegations supporting these claims and there was no need to submit an

affidavit to establish the amount of any monetary claim.

Ground IV

Finally, in Ground IV of the appeal, Adams presents the following issue:

WHETHER THE DEBTOR MAY PROSECUTE AN UNTIMELY


APPEAL FROM ORDERS AND JUDGMENTS ENTERED AGAINST
LISA ADAMS AND LAW OFFICES OF MARK A. ADAMS, P.A.
WHERE THE DEBTOR, A DISBARRED ATTORNEY, WAS
PERMANENTLY ENJOINED FROM ENGAGING IN THE
UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW AND WAS WARNED NOT TO
REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF THESE PARTIES IN THE
BANKRUPTCY COURT.

After Adams attempted to make this argument in the bankruptcy court, Appellees

brought to the court’s attention that Adams lacked the authority to do so. At that time,

Adams claimed that he was not actually disbarred because the judgment of the Florida

Supreme Court was not personally signed by at least four judges of that court. However,

Adams acknowledged that he was not prepared to test that theory and would not be

asserting these parties’ rights anymore. Despite this acknowledgment, Adams now asks

this Court to reverse multiple orders involving these parties. None of these orders and

judgments at issue were ever appealed by Lisa Adams or Law Offices of Mark A. Adams,

P.A. and this Court lacks jurisdiction to review them.

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ACCORDINGLY, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED:

1. The Default Final Judgment (Dkt. 1-2) entered against Adams as the debtor in a

bankruptcy adversary proceeding in Case No. 8:06-ap-185-PMG (Dkt. 1-2) is affirmed.

2. The Order entered in the main Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, Case No. 8:05-bk-

29501-PMG (Dkt. 9-22), revoking Adams’ discharge based on the Default Final

Judgment, is also affirmed.

3. The Clerk is directed to close this case.

DONE AND ORDERED at Tampa, Florida, on January 28, 2009.

s/Richard A. Lazzara
RICHARD A. LAZZARA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
COPIES FURNISHED TO:
Pro se parties
Counsel of Record

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