Four years ago, I reported that bankruptcy lawsuits (known as ‘adversary proceedings’ or ‘APs’) in the Rochester Bankruptcy Court in 2010 were down by one third from the previous year. The average number of APs filed 2007 to 2010 in Rochester was 113 per year (not including clusters of APs related to one particular complicated chapter 11 case). In 2010 the number dropped to 67.
Those were the days. In 2014, only 24 adversary proceedings were filed in Rochester, an 80% drop from five years earlier.
In my 2011 blog, I made an analysis of possible reasons for the drop. I stated that the chapter 7 trustees had filed approximately the same number of APs in 2010 as they had in the previous three years – about 45 per year. In 2014, trustees filed 15 AP’s (and the US Trustee file two as well). That is still a large majority of the total APs filed, but a two-thirds drop from four years earlier. Trustee Ken Gordon filed the largest number of APs in 2014 – as he had in 2010 – nine of the fifteen. Trustee Doug Lustig filed three, and other trustees filed the other three.
I noted four years ago that the category of adversary proceedings that had dropped most significantly was objections to discharge filed by banks. While 42 such lawsuits were filed in 2009, only ten were filed in 2010.
In 2014, not a single AP was filed in Rochester by a bank or credit union asking that their debt be excepted from discharge.
One other curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark in the night*: the Office of the United States Trustee did not file a single adversary proceeding in 2014 requesting a case be dismissed as a Section 707 abuse case or a ‘means test’ case (a case where the debtor is alleged to have sufficient funds to pay something toward the creditors and was abusing chapter 7.) The US Trustee did file two APs against debtors to deny or revoke discharge for failure to list assets.
I believe it is important for a bankruptcy attorney to keep track of current trends in his or her local bankruptcy court. This helps me provide the best possible analysis and advise for my clients. If you live in the Greater Rochester NY area and are considering bankruptcy, please feel free to contact me through my website for a phone consultation, at no charge, of your situation.
*For those who are not Sherlock Holmes fans — from the short story “Silver Blaze”: Detective Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” Detective Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”