FAQs

  • How do I obtain case information?

    You can call the automated Multi Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) at phone number 866-222-8029 to find out whether a party has filed bankruptcy. You may also check the records available in the Clerk's Office. The clerk does not charge a fee for either of these services. There is a $30.00 fee for the clerk to search the records including a search to determine if a party has filed bankruptcy. You can also access the PACER system which is discussed on the Case Info section of this web site.

  • How do I obtain a copy of my discharge?

    Call the Clerk's Office and a deputy clerk will instruct you on how to obtain copies of a discharge order. The instructions will vary depending on the location of the case file. The case file will either be at the Clerk's Office or the National Records Center.

  • How do I participate in a case pro hac vice?

    An attorney who is not admitted to the Federal District Court Bar in the Western District of Pennsylvania may be permitted to participate in a case upon submitting a motion for entry of appearance pro hac vice. Local Bankruptcy Rule 9010-1 governs admission to practice.

  • How long does a bankruptcy remain on my credit report?

    The fact that an individual filed bankruptcy can remain on a credit report no longer than 10 years under provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    While the information presented above is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney . For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

  • What if the case I'm interested in is closed or archived?

    As of June 30, 2011, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Mid Atlantic Region-Philadelphia, Federal Records Center, at 14700 Townsend Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154 will no longer provide on-site court case review services to the public. This change applies to all closed bankruptcy ,civil, criminal and court of appeals case files that remain in the legal custody of the court but are physically stored at the NARA, Philadelphia facility.

    Public customers seeking to review these court cases will need to contact the court directly to arrange to review the case file at the court. NARA will continue to provide copies of court case files directly to the customer using our current fax, mail, and scan order services. Public customers seeking copies of court case files directly from NARA, can contact the research room staff at 215-305-2020 or 215-305-2001, Monday through Friday, (excluding Federal holidays), 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

    National Archives and Records Administration

  • What is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

    EXPLANATION OF BANKRUPTCY DISCHARGE IN A CHAPTER 7 CASE

    This court order grants a discharge to the debtor. It is not a dismissal of the case and it does not determine how much money, if any, the trustee will pay to creditors.

    Collection of Discharged Debts Prohibited:

    The discharge prohibits any attempt to collect from the debtor a debt that has been discharged. For example, a creditor is not permitted to contact a debtor by mail, phone, or otherwise, to file or continue a lawsuit, to attach wages or other property, or to take any other action to collect a discharged debt from the debtor. A creditor who violates this order can be required to pay damages and attorney 's fees to the debtor.

    However, a creditor may have the right to enforce a valid lien, such as a mortgage or security interest, against the debtor's property after the bankruptcy, if that lien was not avoided or eliminated in the bankruptcy case. Also, a debtor may voluntarily pay any debt that has been discharged.

    Debts That are Discharged:

    The chapter 7 discharge order eliminates a debtor's legal obligation to pay a debt that is discharged. Most, but not all, types of debts are discharged if the debt existed on the date the bankruptcy case was filed. (If this case was begun under a different chapter of the Bankruptcy Code and converted to chapter 7, the discharge applies to debts owed when the bankruptcy case was converted.)

    Some of the common types of debts which are not discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case are:

    • Debts for most taxes
    • Debts that are in the nature of alimony, maintenance, or support
    • Debts for most student loans
    • Debts for most fines, penalties, forfeitures, or criminal restitution obligations
    • Debts for personal injuries or death caused by the debtor's operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated
    • Some debts which were not properly listed by the debtor
    • Debts that the bankruptcy court specifically has decided or will decide in this bankruptcy case are not discharged
    • Debts for which the debtor has given up the discharge protections by signing a reaffirmation agreement in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code requirements for reaffirmation of debts

    This information is only a general summary of the bankruptcy discharge. There are exceptions to these general rules. Because the law is complicated, you may want to consult an attorney to determine the exact effect of the discharge in this case.

    While the information presented above is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

  • Does a chapter 7 discharge order entered after the death of the debtor have to reference that the debtor is no longer living?

    No, nothing in the Bankruptcy Code or Rules requires that a discharge order entered after the death of the debtor reference the debtor's death. Rule 1016 of the Bankruptcy Rules specifically provides that a chapter 7 bankruptcy case should be administered, so far as possible, as though the death had not occurred. Further, commentary in legislative history provides that if a debtor dies during the bankruptcy case, the discharge will apply in personam to relieve the debtor, and thus his probate representative, of liability from discharged debts. If a chapter 11, 12, or 13 case is pending when the debtor dies, the case may be dismissed or may proceed if further administration is possible and in the best interest of the parties. See Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 1016.

  • What is a section 341(a) meeting of creditors?

    Section 341(a) of the Bankruptcy Code requires every debtor to personally attend a meeting of creditors and to submit to an examination under oath. The United States Trustee, his designee or, in a chapter 7 or 13 case, a panel or standing trustee, presides at the meeting. Creditors may question the debtor under oath, elect a trustee other than the one assigned, and conduct such other business as may be appropriate. Creditors are not required to be represented by counsel or attend the meeting.

    While the information presented above is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

  • What is a motion?

    A motion is a written formal statement in which the party who is requesting an action, the movant, sets forth his grounds for the action requested. The party against whom the action is requested is the respondent. An order granting the relief requested must be attached to each motion filed.

    While the information presented above is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

  • In an adversary proceeding, is there a filing fee for a third-party complaint?

    No, there is no filing fee for a third-party complaint. A filing fee has already been paid for filing the original complaint (unless a filing fee exception applied).

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