Appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court
for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville.
Nos. 16-01661, 16-01662, Keith M. Lundin, Judge.
Argued: November 9, 2016
Decided and Filed: January 17, 2017
Before: HUMPHREY, OPPERMAN, and PRESTON, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Judges.
GUY R. HUMPHREY, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Judge. Creditor Ivan Qi (“Qi”) filed
involuntary petitions against husband and wife, Vincent and Robin Zenga (the “Zengas”).The
Zengas filed a motion to dismiss the involuntary petition in each of their respective cases,
arguing that 11 U.S.C. § 303(b)(1) required a minimum of three petitioning creditors to institute
an involuntary bankruptcy against them because they each had 12 or more creditors. At the
hearing on the motions, Qi argued that the Zengas were estopped from asserting that they had
more than 11 creditors because in response to a post-judgment interrogatory asking them to
identify their other creditors, they listed ten creditors. The bankruptcy court agreed with Qi,
denied the Zengas’ motions to dismiss the petitions, and entered orders for relief against them.
The Zengas obtained stays of the orders for relief pending disposition of these appeals. For the
reasons that follow, the Panel REVERSES the bankruptcy court’s decision and vacates the orders
for relief and REMANDS the cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion