Case Highlights Importance of a “Complete” List of All Creditors in Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The Bankruptcy Code requires that a Bankruptcy Petition, whether it be a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (or any other Chapter), include a complete list of all debts owed at the time of the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition.   In addition to the requirements of the Code, it is very important that a Petition contain a complete list to provide notice and best protect the Debtor from future collection efforts and to avoid future costs and time associated with addressing the claims of creditors who allege failure of service.

In Chapter 7 “no-asset” bankruptcy cases, the Third Circuit has held that where the Debtor inadvertently fails to list a debt owed to a creditor in the Chapter 7 case, the discharge issued to that debtor is effective against inadvertently unlisted creditors.   See Judd v. Wolfe, 78 F.3d 110 (3d Cir. 1996).

However, a recent Chapter 13 case in Indiana shows why the failure to list a creditor may affect a case.    In In re Monix, Case No. 04-66312 JPK (Bankr. N.D. Ind., Feb. 12, 2009), Bankruptcy Judge J. Philip Klingeberger denied a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Debtor’s request to re-open a case to add an additional unsecured pre-petition creditor(s) which Debtors somehow failed to list and schedule.   The Court held that as Code § 1328(a) provides for a discharge of only those debts provided for by a plan, it was axiomatic that a creditor that did not receive notice of a debtor’s Chapter 13 case was not provided for by the plan and therefore not discharged.

This case is but one of many examples of the importance of a Debtor fully reviewing their Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition before it is filed with the Court.


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