Bankruptcy FAQ – Central District of CA
Bankruptcy Case, How Do I Obtain Information About A Case?
At the Clerk’s Office of each division, free computer use is available to view electronic dockets.
On a computer, complete electronic docket information and images of all documents filed in a bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding may be retrieved via the CM/ECF PACER system (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) for a fee, and registration is required. Note that a separate database is used to store cases closed in Los Angeles prior to January 1, 2001. For assistance at accessing this database, contact the CM/ECF Help Desk.
B) Voice Case Information System (VCIS) — VCIS allows callers to access limited information (i.e., debtor, case number, judge, date filed, chapter, attorney, trustee, whether there are assets, and case status – such as discharge date and closed date) about a case, free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any touch tone telephone. VCIS is available for all divisional offices. The VCIS phone number is:
C) Paper Copies – Very few records are now paper-based. Bankruptcy documents may be viewed in person at the Clerk’s Office where the case was filed if the case has not been archived and if the documents are not on an electronic docket. In order to view or retrieve bankruptcy documents, you must have the bankruptcy case number of the debtor. If you do not have the case number, you may obtain it by using computers available to the public in the Records Section of each clerk’s office location. If the case file is stored at the clerk’s office, it may be viewed the same day unless it is being reviewed by another person at the time of the request. A valid government-issued picture identification card is needed to view a case file or docket. Some acceptable identification cards include a state driver’s license or identification card, a U.S. passport, or a federal, state, county, or city employee card. Credit cards, car keys, or student identification cards are not acceptable forms of identification.
Bankruptcy Case, What If The One I Am Interested In Has Been Archived?
Cases closed for one year or more may be archived at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Perris, California. To determine if a case has been archived, contact the Clerk’s Office in your division.
To retrieve case information or copies of documents from NARA, you must first obtain the Accession Number, Location Number, and Box Number from the clerk’s office where the bankruptcy case was filed. You may obtain this information in person, by phone, or by writing to the Records Department of the court division where the bankruptcy case was filed. You may then contact NARA directly or pay a fee to the clerk’s office to retrieve the case for you. When you make your request to the clerk’s office, the fee will be identified.
Instructions for ordering from NARA.
CM/ECF PACER, What Is it and Where Do I Get More Information about It?
CM/ECF PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records. It is the system used by attorneys and the public to view court dockets and print documents from federal court cases.
Information about fees and registering for PACER may be found on the PACER website.
Copies, How Do I Get Non-Certified Copies Of Documents?
Using Computer to Print Documents from CM/ECF PACER – Electronic docket information and images of all documents filed in a bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding may be retrieved and printed via theCM/ECF PACER system (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Note that a separate database is used to store cases closed in Los Angeles prior to January 1, 2001. For assistance with accessing this database, contact the CM/ECF Help Desk.
Clerk’s Office at Each Division – Copies may be ordered at the clerk’s Office in person or by mail, and there is a search fee and a per-page fee. If ordered by mail, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to return the copies.
Court Closed, When Is The Court Closed For Federal Holidays And Other Dates?
The court is closed on all Federal Holidays and occasionally for district wide training or other functions. Notices of closure are publicized via Public Notices.
New Year’s Day – observed January 1, or the first Monday after January 1 if January 1 is on a weekend
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday – observed on the third Monday of January
President’s Day – observed on the third Monday of February
Memorial Day – observed on the last Monday of May
Independence Day – observed on July 4
Labor Day – observed on the first Monday of September
Columbus Day – observed on the second Monday of October
Veterans’ Day – observed on November 11 or the first Monday following November 11 if it is on a weekend
Thanksgiving Day – observed on the fourth Thursday of November
Christmas Day – observed on December 25
Court Hours, What Are The Normal Court Hours For Court Business?
The bankruptcy court is normally open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for court business, including filing documents and attending court hearings. Also, judges set their own hearing calendars, so please consult the front page of a Notice of Hearing for the particular time of a hearing.
Information on future hearing calendars are available for each judge.
Document, How Do I Get Certified Copy?
Via Mail to Division of Bankruptcy Case – Identify the address of the court division where the bankruptcy case is or was administered. Then, comply with all of the following steps:
Mail a request that clearly identifies the document(s) desired, bankruptcy case name, bankruptcy case number (and adversary proceeding number, if applicable), and daytime telephone number;
Include a self-addressed, stamped return envelope of proper size and postage for the documents requested;
Wait for a phone call from the clerk’s office to identify the total fee required; and
After receiving a call from the clerk’s office stating the total fee, send payment in the form of either a bank cashier’s check or U.S. Postal Service money order made payable to: United States Bankruptcy Court. DO NOT SEND CASH OR PERSONAL CHECKS.
B) Request in Person at Clerk’s Office – If you visit the Clerk’s Office to obtain the certified copies, charges and the processing time needed to complete your order will be explained in person.
Document, What If The One I Need Is Not On The Electronic Docket?
For bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings filed prior to the onset of “Case Management/Electronic Case Filing” (CM/ECF), not all documents will be imaged on the electronic docket. Please contact the clerk’s office of the court division where the case is or was administered.
Federal Rules Of Bankruptcy Procedure, Where Do I Obtain A Copy?
Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure – There are procedural rules that apply in every bankruptcy case filed in the United States. These rules are called “Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (F.R.B.P.).” The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are not available for viewing or purchase from the clerk’s office. However, they may be purchased from legal bookstores and may be viewed at law libraries and online.
Interim Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure – In some years, Interim Rules are promulgated and made effective in the midst of a calendar year. These rules still apply in all bankruptcy cases.
Local Bankruptcy Rules, Where Do I Obtain A Copy?
The Central District of California has its own special rules for bankruptcy cases and adversary proceedings administered in this district. These rules are called “Local Bankruptcy Rules” for the Central District of California” (“LBR”). The Local Bankruptcy Rules can be downloaded from this website free of charge, or they may be viewed at all divisional clerk’s office locations.
Locations, Where Are The Five Different Offices Of The Bankruptcy Court?
The Bankruptcy Court has five divisional offices located throughout the Central District of California: Northern Division, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Riverside. Each division has courtrooms, a Clerk’s Office for filing documents, and staff available to answer questions.
Find the location of a particular judge.
In addition, the Office of U.S. Trustee has locations at or near each court division.
Refund, What is the Process to Receive a Refund of Fees Paid to the Court?
Generally, fees paid to the court are not refundable except when an error has been made on the part of the court. Refunds for approved requests will be made in the form of a check.
To Make a Refund Request – Submit a letter to the court with the following information:
Name of individual or entity which paid the fee;
Name of individual or entity requesting a refund;
Address and telephone number of the requesting party;
Amount of the transaction, including copies of cancelled checks or other receipt showing proof of payment;
Bankruptcy Case Number;
Proof of payment;
Bankruptcy Case Number of Adversary Proceeding Case Number, whichever is applicable;
Brief explanation of the reason for requesting a refund; and
Face page of the document that was filed/copied and for which the fee was originally charged.
B) Mailing the Request – Mail the request to:
United States Bankruptcy Court
Office of the Clerk
Edward Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse
255 East Temple Street, Suite 1067
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Attn: Financial Services Department
Transcript or CD of a Court Hearing, How Do I Obtain One?
For more information about obtaining an Audio CD Recording for a fee.