Ok, I am actually going to address these in reverse order, because pursuing the money paid to your attorney is probably the procedurally simpler of the two issues you asked about.
If the attorney has already been permanently disbarred, then filing a complaint with the California State Bar Association probably will not get you anywhere, as the attorney has already been disciplined by the bar to the extent they can be. As such, in order to recover money that you believe is owed by anyone, including an attorney who failed to provide services paid for, would be to institute and pursue a lawsuit against them.
For a suit for $5000, you would have the option of filing in small claims court, which is much simpler procedurally and generally also less expensive and time consuming. A small claims suit is initiated by filing a summons (summoning the defendant to court) and a complaint (listing the allegations against the defendant and requesting a specific dollar amount) with the county court for the county in which the defendant resides or in which the breach occurred (generally the same). While you certainly can retain an attorney to assist in the filing of a claim in small claims, the state courts website does have a very good "Self-help" website that provides instructions on how and where to file, as well as the proper forms, including the summons and complaint at:
As I said, California has one of the better self-help systems that I have seen. So, that is your recourse for recovering money paid to an attorney who has not performed the services, where the attorney has already been disciplined to the extent that they can be by the Bar Association.
Now, as for the chapter 13 bankruptcy, a chapter 13 can be reinstated, but generally it is a good idea to (a) cure any deficiencies prior to filing the motion and (b) talk with the bankruptcy trustee
to see if they will oppose reinstatement. Now, as for timeframes, that can be a little tricky. The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure 9023 does require that a motion to reconsider a judgment of the court must be done within 10 days of the order. However, the time is extended to a "Reasonable time" (not defined exactly) where the need for reconsideration is due to "(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect". (combination of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9024). Theoretically, this should apply to you as the mistake was counsel's and this was a surprise to you, but I cannot make any promises that the court will ultimately allow it. Now, as for the form of the motion and how to file, that depends on whether or not you file or you hire a new attorney to file (which would be my strongest suggestion). If an attorney files, they would draft it for you and file it online through the bankruptcy court
's online filing system. If, however, you choose to file it on your own, it would be filed in person with the clerk of court for the bankruptcy court in which the original case was filed. You would then be responsible for serving (mailing) a copy of the motion, as well as a notice
of the time and date for a hearing on the motion (which should be assigned when you file) to each creditor and to the bankruptcy trustee.
The form of the motion is relatively simple, although it must be drafted individually, there is generally not a form that can be filed out. It appears as if the previous professional provided you with a sample form, so I apologize if I am providing the same one, but a sample for the Northern District of California can be found HERE
. As you will see, I am providing this not so that you can copy it word for word, but so that you can see the format that a motion to reinstate should take. You will have to replace the arguments stated in this example with your own (incompetence of counsel, etc), as the situation will be different than yours, but the sample provided demonstrates the FORMAT of a motion to reinstate.
So, to summarize
(1) Collecting money owed by an attorney who has failed to provide agreed services can be done by filing suit against the attorney to collect, and $5000 can be done in small claims court.
(2) A motion to reinstate can be filed by an attorney online or by an individual debtor in person at the clerk of court's office for the court in which the case is filed. The motion should follow a specific format and the example I provided is an example of format, the specific facts of your case will need to be substituted. Arguably, the 10 day time limit to file should not apply where the cause of the need to reconsider the order dismissing is reasonable mistake caused by counsel, not the debtor, but to be on the safe should, it should be filed as soon as possible, and preferrably by a competent attorney. Should you choose to seek another attorney asap, the state bar has a referral service at:
I hope this information helps, and let me know if you have any further questions. Otherwise, please remember to RATE my answer AT LEAST 3 out of 5 so that I can receive credit for my work.