Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Allowance of Amended Proofs Claim in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for a Defiency Claim

In the case of  In re Winter, 2007 WL 4824258 (Bkrtcy.M.D.Fla.September 11, 2007) (Glenn, J.) the Bankruptcy Court held that pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 3002(c) noted that a proof of claim in chapter 13 case must be filed not later than 90 days after the first meeting of creditors and that it does not contain exceptions. It reviewed that Rule 3002(c) together with 9006(b)(3) and section 502(b)(9) generally prohibits the filing of late claims in chapter 13 cases except under the specific circumstances listed in the Rule. The bar date for proofs of claim implemented by Section 502 and Rule 3002(c) is characterized as a strict statue of limitations,  In re Brooks, 2007 WL 1810491 at 2 (Bankr.C.D.Ill.).

The Court further noted that under limited circumstances a claim filed after the bar date may be allowed if it amends a timely-filed proof of claim. Pursuant to In re International Horizons, Inc., 751 F.2d 1213,1216 (11th Cir.1985) an amended claim should be freely allowed where the purpose is to cure a defect in the claim as originally filed, to describe the claim with greater particularity, or to plead a new theory of recovery on the facts set forth in the original claim. An untimely claim should not be allowed if it represents only an attempt to file a new claim under the guise of amendment. In re Gilley, 288 B.R. 901 (Bankr.M.D.Fla.2002).

The creditor in In re Hibble, 371 B.R. 730 (Bankr.E.D.Pa 2007) filed only a secured claim. After repossession of car it filed an untimely unsecured claim. The Court did not permit it to constitute a new claim as the original proof did not give fair notice of the conduct, transaction or occurrence
that formed the basis of the claim asserted in the amendment. In re Metro Transportation Co., 117 B.R. 143 (Bankr.E.DPa.1990). It also denied based on In re: Mc Bride, 337 B.R. 451 (Bankr.N.D.N.Y.2006) as the creditor did not provide timely notice that it would seek a deficiency claim in the debtor's chapter 13 case in the event of a default. In re Matthews, 313 B.R. 489 (Bankr.M.D.Fla.2004).

The Court held that an amendment filed after the bar date is permitted only where the original claim provided notice to the court of its existence, the nature of the amount of the claim and that it was the creditor's intent, expressed in the original claim, to hold the estate liable for the claim later set forth in the amendment. The Court held that for a secured creditor to receive a distribution on a deficiency claim under a confirmed chapter 13 plan, it must timely file either an unsecured proof of claim or a secured claim with a clear reservation of the right to file a deficiency claim. In this case the creditor reserved it right to amend and seek a deficiency balance.