What Happens When a Plaintiff Fails to Disclosure a Personal Injury Claim on Her Bankruptcy Petition?

In Pruitt v. Hancock Medical Center,  NO. 2005-CA-00132-SCT (Miss. S. Ct.  11/16/06),  Plaintiff had a personal injury claim that was not disclosed in a bankruptcy filing.  The injury occurred before the bankruptcy petition was filed.  She received a discharge of her debts in her Chapter 7 proceeding, and then took action in state court to seek damages from the alleged tortfeasor for the injury.  Her claim was dismissed for lack of standing, and the Supreme Court of Mississippi affirmed.

The Court said as follows:  "This Court concludes that the Pruitts’ cause of action accrued prior to the filing of the Pruitts’ voluntary petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on August 21, 2002. As this Court finds that the cause of action existed at the time of filing the bankruptcy petition, the cause of action became property of the bankruptcy estate under 11 U.S.C. § 541(a)(1). ‘If a cause of action belongs to the [bankruptcy] estate, then the trustee has exclusive standing to assert the claim.’" [Citation omitted.]

Read it here.

Oh yeah, the Plaintiff tried to re-open the bankruptcy filing to assert the claim, but by the time that was accomplished the statute of limitations ran on the personal injury claim.

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