<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=183154879077085&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Taking Notice of Bankruptcy Case: Avoid a Debtor’s Undoing by an Unnoticed Creditors

July 3, 2023 Roshni Shah Bankruptcy

Closeup portrait of young couple, sad man, unhappy woman, looking distressed from financial problems, mounting bills, isolated on white background. Bad finance decision, bankruptcy. Bank mistake

Seldom underestimated and overlooked as a necessary bankruptcy procedure, the notice requirement in bankruptcy is a powerful tool for debtors and creditors alike. The bankruptcy process provides ample protections for a debtor facing grim financial circumstances, allowing individuals and businesses to get a fresh start financially. In instances where an individual files for bankruptcy, generally chapter 13 or chapter 7, the expectation is that the process will eventually result in the discharge of the individual’s debts. However, this can only be accomplished where all of the debtor’s creditors, especially those whose rights are impacted, are provided with notice of the Debtor’s bankruptcy filing and the subsequent actions taken by the debtor within the bankruptcy case. Noncompliance with the notice requirement, i.e., not providing a creditor with notice of bankruptcy, may very well be the undoing for a debtor, quite literally.

Notice is not only a requirement under the Bankruptcy Code, but also a fundamental aspect of due process in the United States of America. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that an individual will not be deprived “of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Due process requires notice “reasonably calculated, under all the circumstances, to apprise interested parties of the pendency of the action and afford them an opportunity to present their objections.” Thus, it is important that all interested parties have the opportunity to present their side of the story and protect their interests. Providing proper notice also ensures that the bankruptcy process is fair and transparent, and all parties involved are treated fairly.

In bankruptcy proceedings, the term “notice” refers to an official document, formal notification, or announcement of something, such as the filing of a bankruptcy case, a hearing, a meeting, or action that is required or will take place. Such notice is typically provided in writing, either through physical mail or electronically, and is required to be given to all parties that have an interest in the bankruptcy proceedings, including the bankruptcy estate (i.e., debtor’s assets and interest).

For notice purposes, bankruptcy law divides creditors into two types, “known” and “unknown.” Known creditors must be provided with actual written notice of a debtor's bankruptcy filing and bar claims date, i.e., the deadline by which a proof of claim must be filed. As characterized by the Supreme Court, a “known” creditor is one whose identity is either known or “reasonably ascertainable by the debtor.” A creditor's identity is “reasonably ascertainable” if that creditor can be identified through “reasonably diligent efforts.”

Debtors are expected to exercise due diligence in gathering the names and addresses of all creditors and entities that may be impacted by the bankruptcy filing, and listing this information on the creditor matrix filed by the debtor with the debtor’s bankruptcy petition. Upon the commencement of a bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy courts utilize Official Form 309 to give notice to creditors and other interested parties of the filing of the bankruptcy case, the time, date, and location of the meeting of the creditors, the time for filing various documents in the case, instructions for filing proofs of claims, and other information concerning the case. Thus, not listing a known creditor can be detrimental to the rights of the creditor, and in turn the debtor’s bankruptcy case.

The ramifications of not providing notice to a known creditor with an interest in the Debtor’s bankruptcy estate can be substantial. The lack of notice results in the lack of due process for the parties involved, such that a creditor may not have the opportunity to be heard or participate in the proceedings, which can have serious consequences for their rights and interests. For example, a creditor that is not aware of the bankruptcy filing may not have the opportunity to file a proof of claim evidencing the debt owed to them by a debtor, or the opportunity to learn of the debtor’s financial circumstances at the meeting of the creditors. A lack of notice can also cause delays and complications in the debtor’s bankruptcy process. Worse yet, the resulting legal issues and challenges, stemming from a lack of notice, can exacerbate a debtor’s legal fees and expenses.


The greater the deprivation of a creditor’s rights caused by the lack of notice, the greater the consequences to the debtor and the debtor’s bankruptcy case. In such instances, if a party feels that they have not been provided adequate notice of the bankruptcy or the proceedings within the case, they may file a motion to vacate the orders entered (i.e., undo what has been done), or challenge the proceedings in court and seek dismissal of the debtor’s bankruptcy case.


This is especially true where the sale of the debtor’s property is involved. In egregious situations, it could very well result in the court vacating of a confirmation order or authorization to sell the debtor’s property, or even the dismissal of the debtor’s bankruptcy case. That is not to say that notice issues cannot be corrected, and the result is always so detrimental. In fact, more often than not, debtors are permitted to correct notice issues, and creditors are generally agreeable to resolution whereby allowing the creditor’s claims against the debtor to proceed within the bankruptcy case. Such were the circumstances faced by the unfortunate chapter 13 debtor who failed to provide adequate notice to our client, a known creditor, who had spent years litigating against the debtor and had obtained an interest in the debtor’s real property. Here, the chapter 13 debtor not only failed to provide notice of the bankruptcy filing, but also proceeded to obtain court authorization for the sale of the debtor’s real property. Upon discovering the debtor’s bankruptcy filing, our attorneys began at once to take legal action on behalf of our client, the creditor. A lengthy motion was filed to permit the creditor to file a late proof of claim, as the claim deadline has passed prior to the discovery, and further to vacate the confirmation order confirming the debtor’s chapter 13 plan, and also vacate the order authorizing the sale of the debtor’s property, among other relief. Fortunately, the Scura Law Firm was able to negotiate a favorable resolution with the debtor’s counsel, saving our client and the debtor significant legal costs and expenses.


However, the significance of the notice requirement in bankruptcy cannot be overstated. By giving creditors notice of a bankruptcy filing, the court is ensuring that the bankruptcy process is fair to all parties involved. This helps to protect the rights of creditors, as well as debtors, and ensures a fair and transparent bankruptcy process, permitting the debtor to obtain a fresh start financially. If you are a creditor who has been deprived of notice regarding a pending bankruptcy case, you may still be able to exercise your due process rights and ensure a fair opportunity to be heard. The Scura Law Firm is experienced in creditor representation in various types of bankruptcy cases. Our attorneys can help you assess your options and navigate the bankruptcy process, while avoiding potential pitfalls. Call one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation today!

Need Help? Contact Us Today!