I have a question regarding a defamation
-misrepresentation lawsuit I have filed as a pro se plaintiff.
Background: I filed the lawsuit in a Maryland state court. Shortly after I filed a complaint, a defendant, a reputable newspaper and its parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I filed a Proof of Claim with the bankruptcy court, in Delaware. I cited my state lawsuit as the basis for the claim. Debtors’ attorneys filed an objection to my claim and I replied. My reply moved the attorneys to begin discussions as to how to resolve our dispute.
We worked for about a year and a half on an agreement that was to allow the case to proceed in the state court for the limited purposes of 1) me filing an amended complaint and 2) defendants (debtors) filing a motion to dismiss
. If my case survived the motion to dismiss the original stay on the case was to be restored and we would discuss how the case would further proceed in the state court through pretrial discovery.
Then, the attorneys changed course. They sought to have the case presented to the bankruptcy court instead of the state court. That troubled me but, thinking that the bankruptcy court would follow the rules of the state court, I agreed to the change, as long as I was still permitted to submit the amended complaint. They agreed.
So, with all the documents submitted to the bankruptcy court (including the amended complaint, objections to it, and my replies to the objections), the court held a hearing on the case.
I was under the impression, from all that had taken place, that the proceedings basically would be the equivalent of a motion to dismiss in the state court. I reasoned that the purpose of the bankruptcy court was to establish whether or not I had a case that would be worthy to continue in the state court.
Four years later, recently, the bankruptcy court issued a ruling. It disallowed my claim, fully. More troubling to me though, was that the court required proof of the claims of the amended complaint. I had not provided any proof. I was under the impression that we were at the early stage of litigation
at which my claims and inferences from them were accepted as true, as would have been the case in the state court. It seems that, from their objections and replies, the debtors’ attorneys, from a highly reputable firm, were also under the impression that proof was not needed. They did not complain of an absence of proof, as did the court. Rather, they simply complained of vagueness in the claims of my amended complaint.
Essentially, it seems as if the court issued the equivalent of a final judgment in the state court based upon evidence and a trial. I feel as if I have been denied the due process of the state court including the chance to further amend my complaint, to present the evidence I have of the truth of my claims, to carry out the discovery needed to obtain further evidence to prove my claims, and to engage in a trial.
I appealed the ruling. One of the grounds is the denial of due process. I have been researching case histories to uncover a case similar to mine so that I can see if what the bankruptcy court did was correct. I am having some trouble in finding one.
My Questions: 1) Did the bankruptcy court exceed its bounds in accelerating the judicial proceedings far beyond those of the state court? And 2) Can you provide me the citation for an opinion on a case similar to mine that will bring out how a case such as mine proceeds in the bankruptcy court and perhaps the citation for a statement from a code volume or the like that outlines the procedure.
I greatly appreciate your efforts in this matter.