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Plano Bankruptcy - Terms & Definitions

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Capital Asset
an asset used to operate a business, such as equipment or fixtures.
Capital offense
A crime punishable by death.
Case File
A complete collection of every document filed in court in a case.
Case Law
The law as established in previous court decisions. A synonym for legal precedent. Akin to common law, which springs from tradition and judicial decisions.
Caseload
The number of cases handled by a judge or a court.
Cash Accounting
an accounting method that measures the cash transactions (income and expenses) of an entity.
Cash Collateral
cash, or its equivalent, in which a secured creditor may have an interest. Section 363( c ) of the Bankruptcy Code restricts the use of cash collateral absent court approval.
Cause of Action
A legal claim.
Chambers
The offices of a judge and his or her staff.
Chapter
a specific statutory division of the Bankruptcy Code. Three Chapters contain general rules applicable in all bankruptcy proceedings. The remaining five Chapters comprise the specific types of bankruptcy proceedings (7, 9, 11, 12, 13).
Chapter 7
Chapter 7 bankruptcy may eliminate most unsecured debts, usually used by someone without any assets. It is a process provided by United States federal law, which entitles the person filing to a fresh start.
Chapter 7 trustee
A person appointed in a Chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the creditors. The trustee's responsibilities include reviewing the debtor's petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.
Chapter 9
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for reorganization of municipalities (which includes cities and towns, as well as villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts).
Chapter 11
A reorganization proceeding in which the debtor may continue in business or may retain possession of its property as a fiduciary. Chapter 11 provides a plan for the repayment, in whole or in part, of creditors claims against the debtor.
Chapter 12
A simplified reorganization plan for farmers whose debts fall within certain limits. Chapter 12 was not renewed when it expired this session of Congress.
Chapter 13
An interest-free debt repayment plan which consolidate debts and allows for payments to be made over a 3 to 5 year period. This is often used to save a house from foreclosure or to save a car from repossession.
Chapter 13 trustee
A person appointed to administer a Chapter 13 case. A Chapter 13 trustee's responsibilities are similar to those of a Chapter 7 trustee; however, a Chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor's plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors.
Chapter 15
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code dealing with cases of cross-border insolvency.
Chapter 20
an unofficial name for the debtor's tactic of filing sequentially under Chapters 7 and 13 for the purpose of discharging personal liability on a secured claim in the Chapter 7 case, and thereafter preventing fore- closure of the undischarged lien by providing for payment of it by installments in the Chapter 13 plan.
Chief judge
The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court; chief judges are determined by seniority.
Claim
a right to payment of any kind or a right to performance that may be compensated by damages. Section 101(4) of the Bankruptcy Code defines claim.
Claim And Delivery
See replevin
Claim Bifurcation
the splitting of an undersecured debt into a secured claim to the extent of the collateral's value and an unsecured claim for the deficiency. This division is required by §506.
Claims Bar Date
a deadline set in a bankruptcy proceeding for creditors to file claims. A claim not filed before expiration of a claims bar date is sub- ordinated to all timely filed claims.
Claims Docket
an itemized summary of creditor claims filed in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Class (of Claims or Interests)
claims or interests that have been placed in the same category for treatment in bankruptcy, either because they fall within one of the statutory priority classifications or because the debtor has properly grouped them together in a plan under Chapter 11, 12, or 13.
Class Action
A lawsuit in which one or more members of a large group, or class, of individuals or other entities sue on behalf of the entire class. The district court must find that the claims of the class members contain questions of law or fact in common before the lawsuit can proceed as a class action.
Clerk of Court
The court officer who oversees administrative functions, especially managing the flow of cases through the court. The clerk's office is often called a court's central nervous system.
Codebtors
persons who are both liable on the same debt. (Also called "joint debtors", not to be confused with debtors in joint cases.
Cognovit note
(Latin: "acknowledgment") See confession to judgment.
Collateral
The property that is subject to a lien as for payment of a debt or performance of a contract. A creditor with rights in collateral is a secured creditor and has additional protections in the Bankruptcy Code for the claim secured by collateral.
Collective Proceedings
general name for proceedings such as assignments for the benefit of creditors, compositions, and bankruptcy, under which the claims of creditors are dealt with collectively to avoid the disruption and inequality of individual creditor action.
Common law
The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States that relies on the articulation of legal principles in a historical succession of judicial decisions. Common law principles can be changed by legislation.
Common Law Lien
a lien arising by operation of common law, not dependent on agreement, statute, or judicial process. Common law liens are typically intended to provide security for the agreed or reasonable charges owing to a person who has repaired, improved, or preserved personal property or provided personal services at the owner's request. They must usually be perfected by possession.
Community Claim
a claim enforceable against community property under non- bankruptcy law. Section 101(6) of the Bankruptcy Code defines community claim.
Community service
special condition the court imposes that requires an individual to work–without pay–for a civic or nonprofit organization.
Complaint
A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.
Complaint to Avoid Discharge
an adversary proceeding initiated by a trustee to entirely avoid a debtor's discharge.
Complaint to Avoid Dischargeability of a Debt
an adversary proceeding initiated by a creditor or debtor to determine the dischargeability of a specific debt pursuant to Bankruptcy Code Section 523( c) . A creditor must initiate such a complaint within 60 days of the date first set for the creditors meeting. A debtor may initiate such a complaint at any time.
Composition
a contract between a debtor and creditors, under which partial payment is promised and accepted in full settlement of claims.
Composition Agreement
an agreement between a debtor and multiple creditors for the repayment of debt. The various reorganization proceedings of the Bankruptcy Code (Chapters 9, 11, 12 and 13) are judicially approved composition agreements.
Concurrent sentence
Prison terms for two or more offenses to be served at the same time, rather than one after the other. Example: Two five-year sentences and one three-year sentence, if served concurrently, result in a maximum of five years behind bars.
Confession to Judgment
the debtor's waiver of the right to contest a collection suit, authorizing the creditor to obtain judgment by consent. A confession during the course of litigation (also called a "stipulation") is enforceable if freely made. However, a confession made before default, particularly one contained in the instrument of debt itself (called a "cognovit note" or "warrant of attorney" is subject to particular scrutiny and is usually unenforceable in a consumer transaction.
Confirmation
The process by which the Bankruptcy Judge approves a reorganization plan in a Chapter 13 case. Conversion Cases under the Bankruptcy Code may be converted from one chapter to another chapter; for example, a Chapter 7 case may be converted to a case under Chapter 13 if the debtor is eligible. Even though the Chapter of the Code that governs it changes, it remains the same case as originally filed.
Confirmation Packet
a group of documents, including a Plan of Reorganization and a Disclosure Statement, that are sent to creditors when authorized to Solicit votes for or against a Chapter 11 plan.
Consecutive sentence
Prison terms for two or more offenses to be served one after the other. Example: Two five-year sentences and one three-year sentence, if served consecutively, result in a maximum of 13 years behind bars.
Consensual Lien
a lien granted in a contract between the lienholder and the debtor, such as a mortgage or a UCC Article 9 security interest.
Consideration
the element of exchange in any contract.
Consolidation of Cases
1) Procedural consolidation: The consolidation of two separate petitions filed in relation to the same debtor. 2) Substantive consolidation: The combination of the estates of two closely related debtors, so that assets are pooled and creditors of each become creditors of the combined estate. Consolidation is the subject of Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 1015.
Construction Lien
See Mechanic's lien
Constructive Fraud
Fraud established not be proof of actual dishonest intent but by facts that are, as a matter of legal policy, treated as giving rise to an irrefutable presumption of fraud.
Constructive Notice
See notice
Constructive Trust
an equitable remedy under which a person who has acquired property by a wrongful act is deemed to hold the property in trust for the victim of the wrong.
Consumer bankruptcy
A bankruptcy case filed to reduce or eliminate debts that are primarily consumer debts.
Consumer Debt
a debt incurred by an individual primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. (§101(8))
Consumer No Asset Bankruptcy
a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding for an individual in which there are normally no assets available for distribution to creditors. A consumer no asset bankruptcy is the most common and simplest of all bankruptcy proceedings.
Contemporaneous Exchange
the presence of consideration in the transfer of property from a debtor to a creditor.
Contested Matter
an opposed motion. A contested matter is treated as an adversary proceeding pursuant to Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 9014. A contested matter is resolved by way of an evidentiary hearing.
Contingent Claim
a claim in which the debtor's potential liability has been created by contract or wrongful act, but actual liability will only arise upon the happening of a future event that may not occur.
Contract
An agreement between two or more persons that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.
Convenience Class
a group of unsecured claims treated as a class for administrative convenience in a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. A convenience class may receive treatment that the Bankruptcy Code would other- wise prohibit.
Conversion
the act of converting a bankruptcy proceeding from one chapter to another. A typical scenario is a failed reorganization proceeding converted to a liquidation.
Conviction
A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Core Proceeding
a matter arising before a Bankruptcy Court that involved the specific application of a Bankruptcy Code provision for its resolution. Bankruptcy judges have jurisdiction over core proceedings, as described in 28 U.S.C. §157. For example, an action to avoid a preference is a core proceeding.
Counsel
Legal advice; a term also used to refer to the lawyers in a case.
Court
Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes. Judges sometimes use "court" to refer to themselves in the third person, as in "the court has read the briefs."
Court reporter
A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court, generally by using a stenographic machine, shorthand or audio recording, and then produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request.
Count
An allegation in an indictment or information, charging a defendant with a crime. An indictment or information may contain allegations that the defendant committed more than one crime. Each allegation is referred to as a count.
Cramdown
the act of obtaining confirmation of a reorganization plan over the objection of creditors. Different tests or procedures may be utilized to effectuate a cramdown on either secured or unsecured creditors.
Credit Report
A report outlining an individuals credit history, public records and credit worthiness. Creditor Any person or business that a debtor owes money to.
Creditor
an entity with a claim arising before the filing of a bankruptcy petition. Section 101(9) of the Bankruptcy Code defines creditor. An entity that a debt is owed to is a creditor.
Credit counseling
Generally refers to two events in individual bankruptcy cases: (1) the "individual or group briefing" from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency that individual debtors must attend prior to filing under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code; and (2) the "instructional course in personal financial management" in chapters 7 and 13 that an individual debtor must complete before a discharge is entered. There are exceptions to both requirements for certain categories of debtors, exigent circumstances, or if the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator have determined that there are insufficient approved credit counseling agencies available to provide the necessary counseling.
Creditor's Bill
an equitable suit available to a creditor for the purpose of locating and recovering executable property that has been concealed or wrongfully transferred by the debtor or for reaching assets that otherwise cannot be executed upon using procedures at law.
Creditors' Committee
a committee of creditors appointed by the U.S. Trustee in Chapter 11 cases, and sometimes in Chapter 7 cases, to represent the interests of the creditor body as a whole or, if more than one committee is appropriate, a class of creditors.
Creditors' Meeting
See meeting of creditors.
Cross-Collateralization
a term in a contract for the provision of postpetition credit to the estate, under which collateral furnished by the estate to secure the new credit also covers an unsecured or undersecured prepetition claim of the lender.
Cure of Default
the payment of arrears or the rectification of any other breach of contractual obligations, so that the party's performance is brought into compliance with the terms of the contract.
Custodian
a third party appointed to administer a debtor's assets in a non- bankruptcy context. A court-appointed receiver or assignee for the benefit of creditors are examples of custodians. This term distinguishes bankruptcy trustees from Nonbankruptcy fiduciaries. Section 101(10) of the Bankruptcy Code defines custodian.

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