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cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
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I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in AZ in 2002 (I think--because

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I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in AZ in 2002 (I think--because I can NOT find my file!). In May 2007, I was issued a $5000.00 settlement (very unexpectedly) from a class action suit that I joined and filed, when I originally arrived in AZ, in 1994. The bankruptcy judge took that for distribution: $2100.00 in administration fees and $2900.00 distributed to unsecured claimants. I had not even thought of the class action suit for years after originally filing it in 1994. I never intentionally omitted the information when I filed bankruptcy in 2002. In fact, when it was offered for me to join the class action suit, I wasn't even thinking straight, as I had just lost everything, literally, in the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, which is how I ended up in AZ to stay with family. My QUESTION is---how long can the bankruptcy court / judge take monies from me for distribution? I am very worried because I just received notice from the legal firm that handles the 1994 class action suit, and apparently are going to payout more monies to us in the next couple of months (this is the 1st time I've heard anything from them--I thought that was finished when I received the $5000.00). I am fearful that the bankruptcy court / judge will, again, take the money for distribution. I had nothing when I filed bankruptcy in 2002, and I have absolutely no money or assests now.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.

Hi JACustomer,

Unfortunately, there is no time limit to the amount of time during which the Bankruptcy court can claim assets that the debtor was entitled to at the time of filing the Bankruptcy. This included contingent assets - those which have not yet been received, but for which a claim is in existence.

I think this is what you wanted to know. If not, please let me know.

Thank you!

cfortunato and 2 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

So, basically, I have absolutely no recourse whatsoever? Can't I get the case discharged?--something? Is there absolutely NOTHING I can do here? These monies that I will receive, basically, will be completely intercepted and taken? These monies that I am about to receive are being given to me re: illness, due to which I am on disability and have a very hard time covering doctors visits to specialists, medicine, etc.

in addition to raising my daughter.

I read a section on proof of claims in LAW HELP that said it was up to a judge's discretion to re-open case, adn sometimes is do to their inclination that the debtor was untruthful or deceptive--I was neither. This case has been going on since 1994 and when I joined the class action suit, there was never any promises of monies, or that you would qualify for any compensation whatsoever.

I find it hard to believe that they can basically have the right to intercepet any monies that I receive until the day I die, if in fact there is no time limitation!

What if I purchased a house? or a car? (and I can't even do that), but what if I did---those are assests--or my paraent's life insurance? Are you telling me that if the judge chooses to, and most likely will, she can at any time reopen the case for distribution??

And does this mean any of the companies I owed money to, whether they were secured or unsecured.

There has to be something I can do, file, object, contest...something(!?) Why file bankruptcy? Why not just go to court and agree on specific amounts to pay the companies you owe money to--Why file bankruptcy instead of going through debt consolidation? What happens when someone files bankruptcy and 15 yrs. later, after numerous years of education, get hired for a job paying $300,000.00 a year, do they THEN have to go back and repay all the companies listed on their bankruptcy?? Especially since tose same companies have long since written off those consumers' debts???

Please think hard, or consult people on your team, access law books???? I need a recourse / solution.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

No one has replied to my "reply" after I received my original answer, which was valued at $30.00. I can only assume that the 1 question cost the full deposit amount, (please correct me if I'm wrong). I thought that I was allowed to reply to my answer if I need more help and that I would receive a response. Will someone please respond to this email / "my reply" to the original response to my question.

Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for accepting the answer!

There was no additional reply because, unfortunately, the original answer was complete. I opened the question up so that other experts could respond, if they had any ideas. Apparently, none did.

And yes - you can ask additional questions on this topic.

Edited by cfortunato on 12/6/2010 at 6:47 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I finally "accepted" my answer, (which I felt was somewhat open-ended), because I never got any communication re: "my reply" to my answer. What is it you need clarification on? To be honest, I wasn't satisified with the answer. Again, for MY clarity, does this mean until the day I die?! I have no recourse? I thought a bankruptcy was discharged after 7 years? And how is the bankruptcy court even getting this information? + when I pull up my credit report, nothing is appearing? Can you please clarify the overview of my concern-which I think you understand.
Expert:  cfortunato replied 6 years ago.

The claims that were in existence when you filed the Bankruptcy became property of the Bankruptcy estate. This means the Bankruptcy estate is the new owner of the property, and can continue to take distributions from that claim until all unsecured creditors are paid in full. There is no 7-year time limit (or any time limit).

I know it doesn't seem fair, but that is the way the Bankruptcy system is set up.