How to clear abstract of judgement due to filing by credit card attorney? Court shows it open case even after bankruptcy ch7.

I filed bankruptcy in Eastern District of California in October 2011 Discharged on February 2012, No Asset Case. Judgement filed by credit card collection attorney in September 2011 and abstract of judgment in October 2011 ( two days before my bankruptcy case filing ). Placer County Clerk’s office still holding as an open case, since the debt is clearly discharged, any judgment would be null and void. Credit card collection attorney need to enter a request to dismiss this civil action to clear the court record and avoid any unintentional breach of the automatic stay. Credit card collection attorney not responding. How can I clear the court record??

Rocklin, CA -

Attorney Answers (4)

Michael J. Ireland

Michael J. Ireland

Bankruptcy Attorney - Thousand Oaks, CA
Answered

You are misinformed about your rights and the consequences of bankruptcy on a judgment lien. Do-it-yourself bankruptcy is like do-it-yourself brain surgery, sometimes it doesn't work out well.

Although you are correct that no new action can be brought against you as a result of the pre-petition judgment, you are wrong about the judgment creditor's rights and responsibilities. It may surprise you that the judgment creditor can legally foreclose that judgment lien right now.

I am guessing you did not use an attorney when you filed Chapter 7. If you had, and the attorney knew about the recorded abstract of judgment, you should have filed a motion to delete the judgment lien during the Chapter 7 case. That is the proper way to "strip off" a prepetition judgment lien, which DOES survive the bankruptcy unless properly stripped.

Unfortunately, you will now have significant extra expense and effort to accomplish your result.

You will need to move to re-open the case (a filing fee over $250 is required) and then move to strip the judgment lien if the Judge allows the case to be reopened (usually approved on facts like these).

Good luck.

If you need further clarity, please email me at MICHAEL@MIRELAND.US Answers to questions are for general... more
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Brian Crozier Whitaker

Brian Crozier Whitaker

Bankruptcy Attorney - San Diego, CA
Answered

Mr Ireland is correct. When the Abstract was filed with the County Recorder, it became a lien on any property you owned in Placer County; and that lien remains after a BK unless you file the appropriate paperwork to remove it. The lien can no longer attach to any property you acquire in the future, because the debt has been discharged; but you might want to reopen the case anyway and get it released off your credit report.

Dorothy G Bunce

Dorothy G Bunce

Bankruptcy Attorney - Las Vegas, NV
Answered

I am concerned that there may be a problem than just the open civil case. If the judgment was filed with the county recorder, that is a lien and you need to return to bankruptcy court to remove the lien or it will eventually come back to bite you. As to closing the civil case, did you file a suggestion of bankruptcy with the civil court? Hope this perspective helps!

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Ryan Cullen Wood

Ryan Cullen Wood

Bankruptcy Attorney - Redwood City, CA
Answered

If you do not own any real property who really cares? The lien cannot attach to any real property you acquire post discharge so . . . . . . . But yes, you could have filed a motion to avoid the lien. Obtain a certified copy of the order of discharge and record that with Placer County. Go speak with a title company regarding this issue. Recording the order of discharge should accomplish what you want.

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