As a component of my bankruptcy practice I represent parties in adversary proceedings, which are lawsuits within a larger bankruptcy case. These are most commonly in the form of a lawsuit brought by the Trustee to claw back property into the bankruptcy estate on account of either a preferential transfer, giving one creditor more than their fair share, or, because of a fraudulent conveyance, which is basically where some type of fraud or constructive fraud took place in regards to the transfer making the deal unfair and allowing the trustee to suck the money out of the hands of the person that received it. Sometimes these suits involve bad actors – people involved in a scam and committing a fraud or similar scheme. Think someone giving away their house to their mother to pay off a debt because they know their mother won’t get paid if the bankruptcy goes forward. However, it sometimes targets people that are really innocent in the whole deal but because the deal was bad, the money is still subject to claw back. As an example think about the innocent investors in a Ponzi scheme – people that invested with the scam architect who later were paid part of the “profit” from the scheme without that investor being wise to the fraudulent nature of the enterprise.
If you are served with papers in an adversary proceeding you only have thirty days to formally respond – if you fail to do so you will lose automatically. If you are considering bankruptcy, if you know a loved one or business partner is looking down that road, or if you actually get served with papers, call our office at 952-445-2817 to talk about your options.