In re Joshua Neil Harrell

Case Type:
Case Status:
United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit No. EC-20-1091-BTL (9th Circuit, Mar 30,2021) Not Published
The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court's decision dismissing the debtor's chapter 7 case for failure to file documents. The BAP noted that the bankruptcy court is not required to assist pro se litigants in notifying creditors or other litigants. No bar to refiling was placed on the Debtor.
Procedural context:
The Debtor timely appealed the bankruptcy court's decision to dismiss his chapter 7 case for failure to file documents arguing that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Debtor lacked access to the law library in the prison. Therefore, the Debtor required assistance in notifying creditors of the pending bankruptcy case.
The Debtor is currently incarcertated in California. In early March 2020, the Debtor filed a bare bones chapter 7 petition, and the clerk issued a notice directing the Debtor to file certain documents by March 9th and other documents by March 16th. On March 10th, the Debtor filed most of the documents due by March 9th. On March 11th, the Debtor filed for an extension of time to docket the missing documents with the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy court provided the Debtor a March 30, 2020 deadline to file the missing documents. The bankruptcy court issued an order with this deadline and directions to the clerk to dismiss the case without further notice if the documents were not filed by the deadline. On March 26th, the Debtor filed a document entitled "Request for Assistance Giving Notice to Creditors." The Debtor asserted that due to his incarceration and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Debtor could not provide any notice of his bankruptcy case to the creditors. On March 31st, the clerk dismissed the Debtor's bankruptcy case for failure to file the required documents timely.
The Hons. Brand, Taylor, and Lafferty

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