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!
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).
If you need further clarity, please email me at MICHAEL@MIRELAND.US Answers to questions are for general information purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. This is not legal advice, simply information. You SHOULD NOT act on this information without consulting a competent bankruptcy attorney in your area and providing ALL relevant information.
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.
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.