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Proofs of claim survive challenge by debtor

Where a debt collection company filed two proofs of claim based upon credit card debt owed by the debtor, the debtor admitted she owed the debt to the credit card company and there was proof the debts were assigned, the debtor’s argument that she had no credit relationship with the assignee was insufficient to overcome the presumption of validity.


Katherine J. Morris filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 13 with this court on Oct. 14, 2022. In her schedules, Ms. Morris listed a debt owed to LVNV Funding LLC as “assignee of Credit One Bank” in the amount of $2,921.00, consisting of two separate debts — $1,300.71 on account no. 7322 and $1,620.29 on account no. 6337.

LVNV timely filed two proofs of claim in the amounts of $1,620.29 and $1,300.71, respectively. The debtor then filed objections to the two proofs of claim. Shortly before the hearing, the debtor filed an amended schedule in which she listed the debt to LVNV as “disputed.”

Judicial estoppel

LVNV first argues that the debtor is estopped from objecting to its claims because she did not list the debts as disputed. Judicial estoppel requires proof of four elements: (1) the party must be seeking to adopt an inconsistent position from that taken in prior litigation; (2) the position must be one of fact, not of law; (3) the prior inconsistent position must have been accepted by the court; and (4) the party must have “‘intentionally misled the court to gain an unfair advantage.’”

The question is whether the debtor’s prior statement, that the two debts were not disputed, was ever accepted by this court. The court has previously held that when a debtor obtains a discharge his or her statements have been relied upon and accepted by the bankruptcy court.

In a Chapter 13 case, however, debtors do not receive a discharge until completion of their plan payments. This court also has held that the confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan, without a discharge, is not an acceptance by the bankruptcy court sufficient to give rise to judicial estoppel. Because there has been no acceptance of the debtor’s first statement that the debt was not disputed, the court rejects the application of judicial estoppel on this issue.


The debtor did not dispute that she had two credit cards with Credit One Bank, and that she owed precisely the same amounts to Credit One Bank as set forth in LVNV’s two proofs of claim. LVNV’s assignments were not disputed, and they support the conclusion that there have been successive assignments ending with LVNV.

LVNV is in possession of account statements in the debtor’s name from Credit One Bank, with the same amounts due and owing, something that would be highly unlikely if LVNV were not the assignee. Further, the debtor’s general statements that she never had a credit relationship with LVNV are insufficient to overcome the prima facie validity of the claims, where LVNV has produced evidence of the assignments and the assignments were not disputed at the evidentiary hearing.

There are a number of pre-2012 amendment cases that lend support to the debtor’s position. The court, however, declines to follow these cases for two reasons. First, the court agrees that the debtor’s statement that she had no credit relationship with LVNV is insufficient to overcome the presumption of validity, where the assignments are not genuinely disputed. Second, these cases pre-date the 2012 amendments to Bankruptcy Rule 3001. The court is not aware of any reported post-2012 decisions that support the debtor’s position.

Debtor’s objections overruled.

In re: Katherine J. Morris, Case No. 22-11379, March 24, 2023. EDVA Bankr. at Alexandria (Kenney). VLW No. 023-4-008. 11 pp.

VLW 023-4-008