Can I pursue a debtor for a payment if I didn't receive a discharge letter? 23 Answers as of July 19, 2011

I leant money to an old co-worker who said he would make me partner of a business he is starting. His idea was good and he was good at his old job so I trusted him. I hadn't heard from him and he hasn't return my calls for about 4 months now until I heard he changed his phone number and moved because of bankruptcy. I was able to find his new number, can I call him and file legal action against him if I never received a discharge letter?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Before pursuing this debt, you should investigate and see if your old co-worker filed bankruptcy and, if so, what is the status of his bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy gives rise to an automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. Section 362. You should be careful not to violate the automatic stay.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/19/2011
Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
No. You are aware of the bankruptcy, so your debt is discharged - unless there were assets distributed and you did not get notice in time to file a claim. Otherwise, you are out of luck.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/5/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
Possibly, you should consult with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC
Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC | John Scott Logan
There is case law in this Circuit indicating that a debt that was not listed on schedules is not discharged. He might be able to reopen his case to list you though.
Answer Applies to: Maine
Replied: 7/1/2011
Ursula G. Barrios Law
Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
If you are on notice of his filing, you cannot attempt to collect without BK court permission (based on an exception to BK discharge - commonly for fraud).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/30/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    You can try but be able to prove it never was sent to you. Not a likely win.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
    Once a Bankruptcy Petition is filed, the automatic stay prohibits any collection activity, including any act to collect a debt that arose prior to filing the Bankruptcy case. There are several exceptions to the automatic stay under 11 U.S.C. 362, which may or may not apply to you. Penalties for violating the automatic stay can be severe. Bankruptcy courts have the power to order a creditor who "wilfully" violates the stay to pay attorneys fees, costs, and punitive damages under 11 U.S.C. 362(h). If you object to discharge on the basis of fraud or other intentional tort, a separate legal proceeding must be timely initiated by you, the creditor. Typically, the grounds for objection include the following: a. Any purchases/debts/obligations incurred 90 days prior to filing the Petition these are presumptively fraudulent by statute; and b. Debts resulting from willful and malicious acts, embezzlement, or fraud.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    If it was a no-asset case, your debt would be discharged even if you didn't receive notice. You may not attempt to collect the debt in those circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    You would have to get a copy of his petition and see if he listed you as a creditor. If he did then the debt would be discharged and you would not be able to pursue it. If he did not, then otherwise. If he did list you and had your correct address, you should have received a notice of the bankruptcy and a claim form, which if it was a Chapter 7 probably would have told you not to bother filing a claim unless the trustee gave you notice to do so. If you received that form, then the debt was discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You better make sure he did not get discharge. If he got one, and you just didn't get a copy for some reason, you may not try to collect from him. You could be subjected to sanctions (a penalty) from the court if you try to collect on a discharged debt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    You need to review his bankruptcy filing before you pursue legal action. If he was granted a discharge in a no-asset Chapter 7 case, your debt may be discharged even if you did not receive notice. In other circumstances, your debt may be unaffected. If the debt is significant, you should talk with an attorney before you proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    Actual timely knowledge of the bankruptcy filing may bar such claim, even if there were valid grounds to contest discharge (which is not apparent from your fact pattern). See 11 USC 523(a)(3)(B) Also see In re Beezley, 994 F.2d 1433 (9th Cir. 1993) (on presumption of discharge).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Probably not. You need to find out more info. Such ch 7 or ch 13? If he received his discharge you are most likely out of luck. You would probably need to discuss this with a creditors attorney to see why you didn't receive notice of the bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    You need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer about going after him in the bankruptcy court. You can't just ignore the bankruptcy and go after him. You may be able to have the bankruptcy thrown out for lying to the court and then you can go after him. But you have to get right on it as soon as you know there was a bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    If you were not listed as a creditor and his case is over, you are likely subject to the discharge if there were no assets. If not, then he could reopen the case and list you as a creditor and have your debt included on that basis.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Southern California Law Advocates
    Southern California Law Advocates | Norma Duenas
    If the case was a no asset case and your debt was dischargeable, then you would be considered discharged also, regardless of whether he listed you in the bankruptcy and you received notice. Unless the debt is a debt that was subject to not been discharged because it fell in a category that is non-dischargeable then regardless of it being listed or not receiving a discharge letter, the debt would be treated as discharged. You need to find out more information about the persons bankruptcy to determine your rights. Was this a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with assets that were distributed to creditors as part of the bankruptcy? If the debt was discharged then you cannot file an action against him in state court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    If you weren't listed in a bankruptcy but were aware of it your debt is discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    If he received a discharge, then no you cannot. If he did not receive a discharge, then yes you can.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    In a no-asset case, which his, probably was (check), debts are discharged whether listed or not, as long as they existed at the time the Bankruptcy was filed. Translation, you're probably out of luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    It is possible to attempt to collect the debt, however, if the debtor had no unexempt assets, and is aware of his rights under bankruptcy law, then he may then notify you of his bankruptcy, and by doing so constructively discharge this debt. While it is important to notify all creditors of the 341 creditor meeting and the filing of the bankruptcy, if there are no assets that are not exempt, the debt is discharged according to current case law. In the converse, if for some reason this is not sufficient, a debtor or creditor could move to reopen the bankruptcy and schedule the debt, thereby insuring proper discharge.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    You cannot contact a debtor on a debt of the type you describe that was incurred prior to the bankruptcy filing. Your only remedy would be to find out through the bankruptcy court if it was an "asset case" and if so, you will need to have the debt declare non-dischargable before pursuing collection effort. If the case was declared to have "no assets," then that is it, you can never try to collect on the debt, irrespective of whether you received notice or not.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If you were listed in the case, and contact the debtor, you can expect to lose your suit, and pay a lot of money to the other side for violation of federal law. If you were not listed properly in the case (receiving the discharge mail is irrelevant), the answer is far more complex and you should meet with a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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