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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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Can I reopen a case that has been closed or bring different

Customer Question

Can I reopen a case that has been closed or bring different charges against this person,
Case No CI2012 5426 Derrick Jones got off free with a bus i paid $33,000 for, He put the title in his name and more or less took off with it.
I took out of my 401K to purchase this bus, I ended up owing back taxes,
I also had to file bankruptcy and the bus was put on as an asset,
When I filed my taxes in 2013 I put the bus as a theft
My Lawyer advised me to drop the case so I took his advise, I would like to get some type of restitution from Derrick Jones, At least have him pay the back taxes since he is now making a decent living from a bus he paid nothing for.
Angela Kuzma
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation. Unfortunately I believe I understand what the situation is and why your attorney advised you in the way that they did.

When you file bankruptcy, civil claims (such as a claim for "conversion" (the civil equivalent of theft)) become the property of the bankruptcy estate (they no longer belong to you as an individual). So you no longer have the right to prosecute these cases, the trustee may, or may not, decide to prosecute these cases belonging to the bankruptcy estate.

I also can see where your attorney would see potential issues with prosecuting a case to recover an asset that would immediately be liquidated. (Let's say you (or the trustee) were successful in litigating against this individual and got the bus returned (or a cash judgment), that bus, or the cash, would immediately be paid to your creditors as part of the bankruptcy distribution.

Unfortunately, at this point you are going to have a very difficult time resurrecting any type of claim against this individual - the claim belongs to the bankruptcy estate (in whatever form you choose to shape it as), and the defendant only needs to raise this issue with the court to have your case dismissed. You can of course speak to your bankruptcy attorney to discuss the matter and see if there is any possibility that the bankruptcy attorney "abandoned" the claim, but this would be very rare.