Wednesday, October 03, 2007

bankruptcy - conversion - bad faith

In re Piccoli - ED Pa. - September 27, 2007

Denial of bankrupt's motion to convert Ch. 7 to Ch. 13 case upheld by district court, because of finding that the bankrupt was acting in bad faith, based largely on pre-petition conduct.

Bankrupt (B) transferred her interest in her home to her daughter and son-in-law only 16 months before filing, for no consideration. She also understated the value of her home and misrepresented the value of her unsecured claims. The court applied the factors in the case of In re Pakuris, 262 B.R. (Bankr. ED Pa. 2001) and In re Lilley, 91 F.3d 491 (3d Cir., 1996).

The court found that, under a fact-intensive inquiry --
- B's motion for conversion was to avoid fair payment to creditors
- conversion would be waste of judicial resources, since there would probably be re-conversion to Ch. 7
- home equity would give more to creditors in Ch. 7 than Ch. 13 case
- there is no absolute right to convert Ch. 7 to Ch. 13 - Marrama v. Citizens Bank - 127 S.Ct. 1105 (2007)
- B's conduct was "atypical" and not consistent with that of an honest and forthright but unfortunate debtor
- the timing in her case was "suspicious"
- B showed a lack of candor