Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
Debtor goes it alone after Chapter 13 case was dismissed for jurisdictional ineligibility
Deodath Ramcharan, an individual, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief on September 8, 2009 in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court under case number 8-09-76724. Judge Alan S. Trust is the assigned bankruptcy judge.
This is the debtor’s second bankruptcy filing this year. He filed the current Chapter 11 petition without any legal representation. The debtor lives in Wyandanch.
The debtor previously filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief while represented by Long Island bankruptcy attorney, Richard F. Arturo, on April 15, 2009. At that time, the debtor owed substantial mortgage arrears on five mortgages covering four separate properties in Wyandanch and Brooklyn.
That case was dismissed on July 6, 2009 after Chapter 13 trustee Marianne DeRosa brought a motion to dismiss, citing the fact that the debtor had too much debt to be eligible for Chapter 13 relief. Apparently, the debtor’s Schedule D, which was filed with the petition, indicated that the debtor’s secured debt was $1,235,000.
In that prior case, since this debtor’s secured debt exceeded the jurisdictional limit of $1,010,650 as set forth in Bankruptcy Code § 109(e), the debtor was not eligible for relief under Chapter 13 and the Court was required to dismiss the case.
In order to be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, a debtor simply cannot have secured debt greater than $1,010,650, or unsecured debt greater than $336,900. See large debt requires Chapter 11 filing 
. Arguably, the Chapter 13 petition should not have been filed at all because of the large amount of debt.
The debtor then filed his second case on September 8, 2009, “pro se” without retaining counsel. The petition was handwritten and lacked almost every schedule and exhibit. As of this date, the debtor has neglected to file all of the deficient schedules and exhibits, even though their due date has passed, meaning that the Court has the ability to immediately dismiss the case.
As far as I am aware, there have been exceptionally few pro se Chapter 11 cases in the Long Island Bankruptcy Court and every single one has been dismissed relatively quickly. Although I wish this debtor good luck, the complexities of Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice are extremely challenging even for bankruptcy practitioners, and virtually impossible for lay people.
To make matters worse, if the debtor was hoping to get the benefit of the automatic bankruptcy stay, that will not happen for much longer. When a debtor files a second bankruptcy case in the same one-year period that a prior bankruptcy case was pending, the stay only lasts 30 days unless a motion is immediately brought to extend the stay. According to the court’s docket, the debtor neglected to timely bring such a motion. See Consumer Bankruptcy Debtors Face New Limitations for Repeat Filings 
. That means that the mortgagees will likely have the right to continue their foreclosure proceedings in just two weeks.
Nevertheless, the Meeting of creditors will be held on October 9, 2009 at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip (Room 562 at 9:00 a.m.). The first Status Conference before Judge Trust has not yet been scheduled.
This post is one of a series of posts available on the Long Island Bankruptcy Blog detailing every Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court since August 1, 2009. I will typically post a summary of each Chapter 11 case several days or weeks after it is filed as not all info is available immediately upon filing. To see a list of Chapter 11 cases profiled on this blog, click Chapter 11 Filings on Long Island  or type the name of the debtor in the upper right search box.