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Can I file civil suit for damages during the period someone filed bankruptcy?

Belleville, IL |
Filed under: Chapter 7 bankruptcy

I want to file a civil suit against former tennants for the damage that they did to my house - over $4,000. I understand the moneyfor rent is dischargeable under Chapter 7. They were evicted in June and ammended their Chapter 7 to include my civil suit of rent money unpaid. They intentionally damaged my home by letting their animals urinate all over my hardwood floors, damaged screens, left trash, and left the kitchen appliances filthy (plus more). Can I file a civil suit because of the intentional damage to my home? Do I have to get the bankruptcy court to reopen the case and get approval from them first before going through with the civil suit?

So can I continue with the civil suit? Then go to the bankruptcy court to see if I am allowed to collect. Thanks so much for your help. I still do not understand how destroying property is not criminal?!

Attorney Answers 3


If the individuals have been discharged and the case closed you would have to reopen the bankruptcy case and pay the reopening fee of $260.00. You would then have to file a complaint to have the court find the debt is not dischargeable because it was a willful and malicious injury. There is a another fee of $293.00 for the complaint. You should contact a lawyer to help you determine if you could meet the standard to have the court find your debt is not dischargeable. It would be difficult for you to handle this type of matter. If you were successful, you would still have to collect the debt from the individuals. Sadly, you may have to take the loss on this one. Perhaps the damage is covered by insurance.

Karen J. Porter and the Porter Law Network require a meeting with a person in order for that person to become a client. I am happy to answer your questions and provide general information. However, answering your question does not mean that you become my client. We recommend that you consult with the attorney of your choice to obtain legal advice.

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As much as you do not want to hear it, you will spend close to the $4k in damages they caused in attorney's fees to litigate whether the debt is dischargeable and then you may have to actually litigate whether they have to pay you, then you'd have to actually collect. BTW, any attorney's fees incurred in the dischargeablility action will not be reimburseable from the defendants. You're probably better off just moving on.

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As others have written, it probably is not worth the cost.

You have a limited period from your time of discovery of the case or the first scheduled meeting of the creditors to file such an action; consulting an attorney should be the first thing you do tomorrow morning, as being one day late can lose this forever.

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