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Service of Summons and Complaint - on individuals who are U.S. citizens (w/ dual citizenship) but left overseas to avoid lawsuit

Arcadia, CA |

A small start-up company sold me some stocks three years ago. The company is run by group of two people (husband and wife) - who serve as only officer of company. They used their home address as company address. Turned out they skimmed investors' money to buy personal things. In 2011, they apparently picked up and fled overseas (they are dual citizens in Asia and US). The company still exists and uses their nephew's home as business address.

I filed lawsuit in state court and sent service of summons and complaint to last known home address and company's existing address. The husband and wife didn't appear, instead filing bankruptcy for company in federal court, trying to stay the case in state court. Did I file sufficient service or should I fight it out in bankruptcy court?

Attorney Answers 2


The issue of whether there was sufficient service may not be relevant because 11 U.S.C. § 362 is a Federal statute that provides for an automatic stay of state court proceedings involving a debtor with a pending petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. If your lawsuit is against the company that declared bankruptcy, then you need to start thinking about how the bankruptcy affects your claim. Bankruptcy law is a highly specialized practice, and you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to help you.

This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all of the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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As my colleague has indicated, the filing of a bankruptcy effects a stay. If you do anything to attempt to further your state court lawsuit, you will violate the stay with very bad consequences. You need to immediately consult with a bankruptcy attorney who is familiar with creditor's rights. That attorney can tell you the effect of a BK filing on the right to collect from the individuals under various theories, as well as what is involved in proceeding through the bankruptcy court to get your money (if any is left).

Move quickly because there are filings that need to be made in the BK proceeding to protect your rights in that venue.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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