Lawyers Advise Use Caution When Filing Bankruptcy


I agreed to step in and try a case for another Atlanta injury lawyer two months ago only to find out in deposition that the client had filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy due to business debts prior to the crash that injured him. Under the Bankruptcy Code, he has a duty to amend his Bankruptcy to reflect that he has the injury claim as it is a potential asset. In this case the client failed to do that and the bankruptcy is now closed.

The Georgia Supreme Court put it best when they wrote in Wolfork v. Tackett et al. 273 Ga. 328 (2001):

“The federal doctrine of judicial estoppel ” you from asserting a position in a judicial proceeding which is inconsistent with a position previously successfully asserted by it in a prior proceeding.” Basically, you cannot tell the bankruptcy court you are broke and then turn around and claim for thousands of dollars in an injury lawsuit. That would be profiteering from lying.

Now the client must petition to reopen the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to add the case to the list of assets. It is slightly non-sensical since under the Chapter 13, the client paid all of his debts at 100%, but that is the state of the law. Bottom line, Georgia injury lawyers should beware.

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