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Brent Blanchard
Brent Blanchard, Bankruptcy Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 1975
Experience:  Twelve years experience in all aspects of debtor & creditor BK.
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If my attorney filed my financial disclosure 7 months late

Resolved Question:

If my attorney filed my financial disclosure 7 months late for a bankruptcy and told me the court "lost or misplaced" the paperwork, can I have the court ammend the date to when we filed? The court has told me the attorney was only two days away from having the case dismissed due to a late filing.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Brent Blanchard replied 7 years ago.
Regardless of who said or did what when, the attorney satisfied the deadline and virtually any court will consider there to be no harm done.

Add three days to the timeline before filing the documents and the story would be entirely different.

Undue delay becomes something "actionable" when it causes harm. If the automatic stay has remained in place, then whatever delay there is in finally obtaining your discharge is also of no harm, because you would have lost no money and would have suffered no harassing phone calls from creditors, no threat of wage garnishment, and so forth.

In these days of electronic filing of documents in the BK courts, the story sounds fishy but is not impossible. If your district is on electronic filing and your attorney is using electronic filing, the only way I can think of for the court clerk to "lose" paperwork is for the attorney filing it to file the papers in the wrong case...but the auditors in my districts (licensed in two states) have always caught those types of errors within two business days.

Under the BK code, there is no benefit to having the date of timely-filed (within the applicable deadline--even a second, later deadline based on failure to meet the default deadline) document deemed "sooner", unless there are so many other problems with the debtor's compliance with his or her obligations that the later filing date becomes another piece of evidence in a large stack of "bad faith" conduct.

Any such motion would be entirely up to the judge and would have to be based on the "inherent" powers of a judge to manage the courtroom and cases, rather than explicit authority of the BK Code or the court rules governing these cases. Even then, there must be a clear reasons for the judge to exercise "sound discretion" to order that the document(s) be deemed filed earlier than they were. Just making the debtor look bad or lazy or slow to respond would probably not be enough--some additional reasons would need to be presented.

Thank you.

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