The Massachusetts bankruptcy court has been aggressively dismissing cases

Here’s a heads-up call for Massachusetts debtors who have filed a bankruptcy case recently, are thinking about filing pro se, and for other Massachusetts bankruptcy lawyers:

The bankruptcy court has been very vigilant recently in dismissing cases the very first chance they get — especially when all the paperwork has not been filed on time. The situation is most noticeable in the Worcester branch, but probably applies statewide.

When you file a bankruptcy case, not all of the paperwork is due immediately. If there are missing documents, the court will give you a grace period of fourteen days to come up with the missing stuff. Debtor’s who don’t are subject to having their cases unceremoniously thrown out.

In this Internet age, the bankruptcy court is “open” twenty-four hours a day for accepting filed documents. However, for the purpose of enforcing deadlines, each “day” officially ends at 4:30 PM.

Lately it has been common to see the clerks in Worcester dismissing cases as early as 10:00 the next morning when debtors use up the entire grace period.

Why the crackdown? Who knows — filings overall are dropping, so it’s not due to a raw overload of work. But the court is surely entitled to follow its own rules, so debtors beware — and be ready with the information necessary to file each bankruptcy form at its proper time.


By Doug Beaton

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