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johngibson15219, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 159
Experience:  Admitted to Pennsylvania Bar 1980. I'm familiar with the new law.
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In 2003 filed and discharge bankruptcy, chapter 7 as husband

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In 2003 filed and discharge bankruptcy, chapter 7 as husband had major heart attack, no insurance, large medical bills. In late 2004 joined class action suit against VIOXX> Now we are to get a settlement from that claim and bankruptcy trustee is trying to reopen the bankruptcy case to take the settlement money. What is the law? We did not know of any connection between heart attack and Vioxx use till late 2004 a year after the bankruptcy was discharge. HELP
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  johngibson15219 replied 8 years ago.
This is a difficult issue. Federal exemptions are not available in Ohio. I think you may have an argument that the settlement is compensation for future earnings needed for support under the circumstances and that it therefore falls within your exemptions under Ohio law but the personal injury exemption only goes up to $5,000.00. I think your strongest argument is that the settlement proceeds are not an unadministered asset because the lawsuit did not exist until after the bankruptcy was discharged.

The discovery of unadministered assets is a good enough reason for the court to exercise its power to reopen. "Unadministered assets" are assets that are discovered or found after the bankruptcy case was closed and were not considered by the bankruptcy court. The assets must be assets that were not known at the time the case was closed. As an example, a law suit that was filed by the debtor that was known to the trustee but abandoned by him is not an "unadministered asset." However, an inheritance that was available to the debtor, but neither the debtor nor the trustee knew about would be an "unadministered asset."

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