Protect Your Judgment from Bankruptcy

Drafting Judgments And Related Documents - Litigators Beware

Civil litigators are strategic thinkers - that is until it comes time to prepare Judgments, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Special Interrogatories, Summary Judgment Orders and similar documents. If your case involves a money judgment, getting that Judgment is just the first step. The next step is to protect and enforce it.

We all know that the failure to obtain and perfect a judgment lien (by recording an Abstract of Judgment in most cases in California) is virtually guaranteed to lead to a malpractice action. But what about anticipating that the Defendant will file a bankruptcy of one type or another.

In 2015, a year in which filings have continued to fall below recent averages, the Bankruptcy Court1 reports that there were 844,495 new cases filed:

Chapter 7535,047
Chapter 13301,705
Chapter 117,241

The number of filings In California alone was 83,670 and in just the Central District of California (the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Riverside and San Bernardino), the number of cases was 46,523. With statistics like that, the odds that a judgment debtor will seek protection under the Bankruptcy Code are pretty good.

Your client just spent a fortune to get a Judgment. Doesn't it make sense to spend a little bit more to reduce risks from a subsequent bankruptcy?

While most judgments are dischargeable in bankruptcy, many are not. If (or when) it happens, fighting through a bankruptcy filing can get very expensive - that is unless your client has taken the time to have the Judgment and related documents reviewed by a bankruptcy attorney. Well drafted and thoughtful documents, such as Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Memoranda of Decision, Summary Judgment Orders and Judgments can usually save your client a lot of time, and a lot of money.

Even if a Judgment is dischargeable, there are challenges which can be raised in a bankruptcy case to try to preserve that judgment.

Fees are determined by the hour (and depend on the length and complexity of the documents), but will always be a small fraction of defending those same documents without a review. Your clients could save thousands or tens of thousands in legal fees in a dischargeability action.

We have represented both Debtors and Creditors in bankruptcy cases for more than 30 years. Put our experience and expertise to work for you. Let the Law Offices of David A. Tilem review your documents BEFORE they are submitted to the Court.