Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Pro-Se Debtor’s Bankruptcy Petition for Failure to Meet Deadline

A recent decision of the bankruptcy panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals serves as a reminder to those considering filing for bankruptcy that it may be best to seek the help of a qualified attorney to prepare their case. In the case of In re Henry, a debtor attempted to prepare and file his own bankruptcy without an attorney, and his petition was eventually dismissed by the bankruptcy court after he failed to meet a deadline. The man appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was not given much, if any, leeway by the court because he had not been using an attorney, and the dismissal of his petition was affirmed.

timer-1420821The Debtor’s Initial Proposed Plan

In November 2014, the debtor in this case, Mr. Henry, submitted a proposed bankruptcy plan for confirmation to the bankruptcy court. The trustee objected to the plan because it did not comply with the statutory guidelines, and the debtor was given additional time by the court to file an amended plan and proceed with confirmation. After the two-week deadline had passed and the bankruptcy court did not receive an amended plan, the case was dismissed. As a result, he will be unable to discharge his debts through this proceeding. The man claimed that he mailed the amended plan on time and appealed the judgement when the court ruled against him.

The Arguments on Appeal

The debtor’s primary argument on appeal was that pro se bankruptcy litigants (those without an attorney) should not be held to the same high standard as bankruptcy attorneys because they do not have access to all of the resources and information that attorneys are able to use to prepare and file cases. Unfortunately for the debtor in this case, the Ninth Circuit pointed out that the resources the debtor claimed were unavailable would not have helped him in any way to meet the deadline that he missed. The Court ruled quite simply that the debtor knew the documents needed to be filed, and he should have taken care to ensure the bankruptcy court actually received them. The debtor was not given much sympathy by the court.

Are You Overwhelmed in Debt?

If you or a loved one is struggling with debt and thinking about bankruptcy, do not go forward alone. The Louisville and Southern Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at the Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center can help take control of your case, ensure you meet all of the deadlines, and help get your plan confirmed. We advise and represent clients in various bankruptcy proceedings, and with our experience you can decide which course of action works best for you. We can help you get out of debt. Call 866-366-3328 today to schedule a risk-free consultation or contact us through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Lower Rulings Denying Discharge of Student Loan Debt, Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog, published August 1, 2015.

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Bankruptcy Judges to Decide Issues Outside of a Bankruptcy with the Parties’ Consent, Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyers Blog, published June 9, 2015.

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