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Ask WALLSTREETESQ Your Own Question
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 17252
Experience:  14 years exp., CH 7 AND 13 Bankruptcy cases, AFL-CIO UNION PLUS, UFT NYSID AND ALL MAJOR UNIONS
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I have a question about active civil litigation cases during

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I have a question about active civil litigation cases during a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy.

Suppose someone has 10 active civil litigation cases that are about to get judgments.
That person then has to file bankruptcy in the middle of that litigation.
The automatic stay blocks creditors from attacking the debtor, but what about stopping the debtor's own litigation? I know the active cases become property of the bankruptcy estate until the trustee abandons those cases.

Can the debtor keep litigating in the middle of a bankruptcy (either 7 or 13)?
I ask this because judgments are imminent and it would make sense to finish the filings.

Logically, it seems a chapter 13 would allow the litigation to continue but I could see a Chapter 7 could freeze the debtor's activity.


Hello I am a licensed attorney here to help you with your question, please review my response and do not hesitate to ask for clarificati on


This is a common situation, what would happen is the lawsuits and claims become the property of the Trustee, and the trustee would review the cases and either continue or leave them alone,


However, any new cases must be approved by the trustee, if the trustee does not feel there is any merit or money in the cases, he would allow the debtor to proceed.


The bankruptcy would not freeze the activity, however he can take the case over, and take any settlement given.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Does the debtor have to wait for permission though? Suppose a chapter 13 is filed tomorrow and the debtor wants to keep litigating that same day

he would have had to list the lawsuit in his petition, and the Trustee would be in charge of the suit, and he would contact the attorney who handled the suit to see what it is about and if there is any money that can be given to the debtor. The debtor does not need permission to start a suit, however if they file a suit and it is pending while the bankruptcy is going on, the trustee will oversee it, and could even take the case over from the debtor
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The cases are "pro se." Would the debtor get in trouble for continuing to litigate a case without getting permission from the trustee? Assume the case was filed in state court before the bankruptcy was filed.

no, but he must list them in his bankruptcy, if he does not notify the trustee he would be in trouble.
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