When a creditor receives notice of a bankruptcy filing, not only is it informed of the commencement of a bankruptcy case, but it also receives notice of a federal court injunction preventing it from pursuing its claim anywhere but in bankruptcy court. Violation of this injunction, knowingly, may result in a violation of the automatic stay, which may result in a creditor owing the debtor some sum of money instead of visa-versa.
If a creditor receives notice of a bankruptcy case’s commencement, it serves as proof that the creditor is on the debtor’s master mailing list, which is a collection of the addresses of creditors and other parties in interest that receive notice of certain, pertinent events in the bankruptcy case.
Since a late-filed proof of claim may be disallowed and unpaid in the bankruptcy case, a creditor that receives notice of a bankruptcy filing must immediately determine the deadline for filing a proof of claim.
It is also the responsibility of the creditor who believes it has a claim against a debtor to determine whether it is accurately listed on the debtor’s schedules. The Bankruptcy Code defines a claim as (1) a right to payment; (2) or a right to an equitable remedy for a failure of performance if the breach gives rise to a right to payment.
A debtor’s schedules are presumed to constitute evidence of the amount and validity of listed claims. Thus, in Chapter 11 cases, it is not necessary for a creditor to file a proof of claim if it agrees with the amount the debtor has listed on its schedules and the debtor has not listed the debt as disputed, contingent or unliquidated.
However, claims that are timely filed and comply with other requirements of the Federal Bankruptcy Rules are considered prima facie evidence of the amount claimed. If a scheduled creditor chooses to file a claim, a properly filed proof of claim supersedes any scheduling of that claim. Filing a claim pursuant to the advice of an attorney is always the wisest course of action.
A secured, unsecured, or equity secured creditor, with limited exceptions, must file a proof of claim to receive any payment from a Chapter 7, 12 or 13 bankruptcy estate. The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure require creditors to provide certain information related to mortgages and secured claims when filing a proof of claim in Chapter 7, 11, 12 or 13 bankruptcy cases.
If the deadline for filing a proof of claim has expired, the debtor may file a claim on behalf of the creditor. If not, the creditor may only have a claim allowed after the bar date if it can prove excusable neglect.
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