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Pro Se: I successfully defended an Adversary Preceeding by myself

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    Pro Se: I successfully defended an Adversary Preceeding by myself

    This is a recap of my story - it's to give encouragement to others going through the same thing...

    I owed my biggest creditor about $41,000. They filed an adversary complaint claiming fraud. After going back and forth with their attorney, I very reluctantly signed a an agreement for $40,000 to be paid over time because I was scared about having to pay their attorney's fees if I lost.

    I can't say enough good things about the judge in my case. He was not agree to the stipulation I signed as he thought it was completely unfair for me to pay essentially the whole amount of the loans given the facts of the case that he had. (One of the loans I had with their creditor the facts weren't good for me - though I never intended for this to happen, I got a car secured loan and never sent them the title due to my poor choices)

    It was now about two years since they filed the adversary proceeding and many status conferences and hearing later including me defending a summary judgement motion filed by the plaintiff. Our next appearance was to be the pretrial conference before the actual trial.

    However, I got a letter in the mail from the attorney saying the plaintiff wanted to sign a stipulation dismissing the case! Two years ago I had agreed to pay them $500/month for about 7 years (essentially making the whole filing of the bk useless), but now I am walking away from this bankruptcy with a clean slate!

    What I want others to take from this is not to give in to the plaintiff, especially if they have a forceful attorney like the one I was up against. She was very nasty to me and "bullied" me.

    Their are laws in place to protect debtors from plaintiffs that file adversary complaints without a strong basis. I believe the plaintiff gave up because they realized I was no longer willing to give in to them and they knew they would be penalized if I showed cause when I won the case. They dragged this on for 2 years - hoping I'd give in again. But I stayed strong (no matter how hard it was) and won in the end.

    I've learned so much from this experience. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll help as much as possible.

    Good luck to all!!

    Wow...Huge Congratulations! They try to wear you down and in most cases that works. Good for you staying strong and what a blessing the judge you had too! Impressive! Thanks for sharing!


      Congratulations! I always love to here when a Pro Se stands and wins on the law. The judge sounds awesome!

      I really think BK court is one of the few places an ordinary, honest person can enter and hope for justice based on the law. not a kangaroo court system like so many state courts houses


        bornfree2 while I must say that re-opening old discussions is strongly discouraged by the rules I want to say something.

        The federal court system is different. Everyone knows this. It's just much more organized and nearly everything is done on paper. Many practitioners want their cases in the federal system but there are few avenues to litigate each type of case in the federal courts. For example, if you have a foreclosure, you can't get it into the federal system unless it presents a federal question (or allows diversity jurisdiction). A federal question could be Truth-In-Lending ACT (TILA) violations or something like RESPA, but it must be a federal question (or diversity).

        Bankruptcy court is just an entirely different system altogether. As I have told you in the past, the system is built to give the debtor a fresh start. While adversarial in nature, the default position is that all debts -- with a few well-published exceptions -- are discharged. It is very debtor-centric with very strong powers granted to the bankruptcy court to prevent foul play (via sanctions). Both the automatic stay and the permanent discharge injunction are no joke; they have teeth and bankruptcy court judges do not like excuses.

        But, make no mistake, that in either system, the bankruptcy court will not just side with the little guy. The bankruptcy code is just much stronger than the creditors and seems to level the playing field. For every Pro Se that wins an adversary proceeding, there are at least a 100 that lose quite easily. The court will not forgive procedural errors and if it goes to a trial, just hope that your opposing counsel doesn't outsmart you.

        So, yes, the bankruptcy court system is a great place for debtors. This is why many creditors don't just file an adversary proceeding to try to claim fraud or intent not to pay. It costs a lot of money and, in the end, it is not worth it. But, if the bank/creditor is trying to make a point, then they'll spend millions defending a simple claim (e.g., the "foreclosure" defenses used in bankruptcy).
        Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
        Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
        Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

        Any advice provided is not legal advice, but simply the musings of a fellow bankrupt.


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