In re: McCoy, No. 15-8056 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The debtor filed a voluntary chapter 7 petition, listing pre-petition judgment liens incorrectly on Schedule E. His residence was a listed asset. He did not claim an exemption in the property, nor did he seek to avoid the judicial liens; he intended to sell the home. The creditors received notice of the bankruptcy filing and of the discharge. The case was closed in March 2012. In December 2015, the debtor moved to reopen his case in order to avoid the judgment liens so that he could refinance rather than sell. Notice was provided to all interested parties; none objected. Debtor’s counsel admitted that “it was an oversight ... that I didn’t go through with the actual terminations of the liens.” The bankruptcy court denied the motion, noting that the liens were known when the case was open. The Sixth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed. Neither 11 U.S.C. 350(b) nor FRBP 5010 impose a time limit on motions to reopen. The “[p]assage of time alone . . . does not necessarily constitute prejudice to a creditor sufficient to bar the reopening.” The bankruptcy court did not find that any prejudice would result or the existence of other factors which would bar reopening. The debtor established that avoidance of the liens would provide him relief.