08 Oct Does The New Bankruptcy Law Apply To A Converted Case?
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, BAPCPA, or more properly, the Act, does not apply to cases filed before the effective date of the Act, per statute found at Title 15 USC 1501(b)(1). This statement includes conversion from any one chapter to any another chapter.
Brett Weiss offers a concise analysis of reasons why one would convert a case from bankruptcy chapter 13 to chapter 7 in his blog, Converting a Chapter 13 to Chapter 7. And once converted, the case appears on the docket and in practice, indistinguishable from newly filed cases. A new trustee is appointed to administer the case and a new 341 Meeting of Creditors occurs in the old case right alongside new cases. A converted case operates under the same version of law as originally filed, only under a different chapter of that law. For example, an old law case filed before passage of BAPCPA continues to operate under the pre-BAPCPA law upon conversion from one bankruptcy chapter to another. Likewise, a case filed under the new Act continues to operate under the law of the new Act if converted.
An easy way to remember this rule is to look at the case number. A converted case retains the original case number. A new case number is not assigned to a converted case. If the case number was assigned before the Act, then that case continues to operate under the older law. Another tip for bankruptcy attorneys who need to quickly distinguish the many hundreds of files in the office between old law and new law is to color code the case file. In my office, for years all old law cases used the ubiquitous boring manila file folder. Now, all bankruptcy cases filed after the October 2005 effective date of the new Act use pretty blue file folders. I can tell immediately which version of the law applies by simply looking at the outside color of the folder.
Andy Miofsky, Esq.
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