I just found out today that my orthodontist filed a bankruptcy and I just finished paying off my treatment which was $7000 (by cc and personal checks). What I would like to know is if there is anyway I would be able to get some money back because I'm still receiving treatment and the new orthodontist (who bought off her office) wants to charge me $3000 to continue my treatment. Also I would like to know is if I want to contact the bankruptcy clerk of court, where can I find the information?
If you were paying for the services the orthodontist rendered previously, you will not get your money back. (In fact, if you would not have paid for services the bankruptcy trustee could have come after you for the balance on your account). You do not appear to be a creditor, so I am unsure why you would be entitled to receive money from the orthodontist.
As for the new treatment, this is between you and the new orthodontist. You can always chose to go somewhere else for treatment if you believe the 3,000 is too expensive.
No, if you received the services rendered, you will not be able to get a refund from your prior orthodontist who filed for bankruptcy.
You do not necessarily have to continue treatment with the new orthodontist who bought the debtor orthodontist's office. Perhaps you can find an orthodontist who won't charge you as much.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California only. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
If services were provided for the $7,000 you paid, then you probably cannot get your money back because these payments would be seen as made "within the ordinary course of business." However, if you did not receive services worth $7,000 or if your orthodontist had charged you $7,000 but not finished the work, then you will become a creditor of the bankruptcy estate. Unfortunately, you are only an unsecured creditor because the orthodontist presumably did not give you any interest in collateral when you gave him or her the money. Thus, the amount you recover will depend on what Chapter of bankruptcy your orthodontist filed for and how many other secured and unsecured creditors there are. Either way, your recovery will be a fraction of how much your orthodontist owed you (or maybe even nothing) because you are an unesecured creditor.
The one caveat to the above information is if you are able to show fraud on your orthondist's behalf. For example, if you can show that your orthodontist charged you while knowing that he or she could not perform or finish the services because of an impending bankruptcy, then this is fraudulent. In this scenario, the amount owed to you will be deemed non-dischargeable and the bankruptcy will not get rid of the amount owed to you.
DISCLAIMER The answer given above serves for educational purposes only and is meant to provide general information for a basic understanding of the applicable law. Take notice that the answer above does not create an attorney-client relationship as this website is not intended to provide anyone with case-specific legal advice. Further take notice that any information on this site should not be used as a substitute for case-specific legal advice. Readers should also be aware that laws and their applications frequently change. As such, any information provided on this site is general in nature and may not apply to specific factual and legal situations. Contact a professional, competent attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction to receive case-specific legal advice before making any important decisions regarding your legal issue.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline