Virginia Lawyers Weekly//August 12, 2019
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//August 12, 2019//
Where a claimant did not immediately receive notice of the claim-filing deadline because the debtor provided an incorrect address, but she still had knowledge of the deadline with sufficient time to make a timely filing, her proof of claim filed four months after the deadline is rejected.
The debtor filed her petition on Sept. 24, 2018, and the court set the deadline to file non-government proofs of claim as Dec. 3, 2018. Because the debtor provided an incorrect address for the claimant, she received delayed notice of the filing and of the meeting of creditors. However, the claimant’s local post office discovered the mistake and put the incorrectly addressed notice in the claimant’s P.O. Box. As a result, she received the notice prior to the first meeting of creditors scheduled for Nov. 15, 2018.
The claimant appeared at the first meeting of creditors, but the debtor did not. Debtor’s counsel informed the claimant the case might not succeed, but nonetheless suggested she obtain counsel. The meeting of creditors was rescheduled for Dec. 17, 2018. The claimant testified that she was unaware of the continued meeting and did not attend.
On April 3, 2019, the claimant filed her proof of claim in the court’s claim register. The trustee objected on April 4, 2019. The claimant then filed a motion for extension of time to file a claim. The trustee and the debtor have both objected to that motion.
The claimant argues that the debtor’s failure to provide an accurate address resulted in insufficient notice. She does not dispute that she, in fact, received actual notice. Nonetheless, she claims that to deny her an extension would be inequitable because it would afford her less time to file her proof of claim than other creditors.
In support of her argument, she contends that the language of Rule “3002 has established that 70 days is the required adequate time.” This simply is not the case. Rule 3002(c) states that a proof of claim is timely if filed no later than 70 days after the order of relief. Nowhere does the rule require that each creditor receive notice a full 70 days before the bar date.
The exceptions in Rule 3002(c)(6) merely state that a court may grant an extension of time to file a proof of claim where notice is insufficient to provide a creditor a “reasonable time” to file a proof of claim. The claimant here testified that she received notice prior to the § 341 meeting held over two weeks before the bar date. When asked by the court if she knew to attend the meeting because of the notice she received, the claimant answered in the affirmative. Significantly, the claims deadline appears in the same notice and on the same page as the notice for the scheduled meeting of creditors.
The court finds that the claimant here received adequate notice, giving her a reasonable time to file her proof of claim.
Claimant’s motion for extension of time denied.
In re Price, No. 17-71260, July 3, 2019. WDVA Bankr. at Roanoke (Black). VLW No. 019-4-022, 7 pp.