In the case of Mann v. CCB Financial Planning Ltd., the United States Bankruptcy Court in Alexandria, Virginia, ruled that a creditor could not amend its complaint objecting to dischargeability in a case to defeat a timely filing requirement, and that the improperly filed complaint should be dismissed.
In Mann the debtor had filed bankruptcy, both individual and corporate petitions. The creditor filed its complaint in the corporate petition but not in the individual petition. The creditor later filed a motion to amend its complaint alleging an exception to dischargeability against the corporation to alleging an exception to dischargeability against the individual. The motion to amend was filed after a time that a complaint objecting to dischargeability against the individual would be timely filed. The creditors and their counsel conceded that they had notice of both bankruptcy filings, and that they mistakenly filed their complaint in the wrong case. They contended, however, that they were confused by the designations "AKA" and "DBA".
The Bankruptcy Court reviewed the provisions of Bankruptcy Rule 4007(c) and determined that the Court had no discretion to allow a late-filed motion objecting to dischargeability or to grant a late-filed motion for enlargement of time to file such a complaint, even in cases of excusable neglect. Accordingly, upon reflection of the facts and the rules, the Bankruptcy Court determined that the time limits were not met, that they had no discretion to allow for the amendment, and that the debtor's motion to dismiss should be granted.
The lesson of Mann, as it is in so many cases, is that creditors should retain the services of counsel who has extensive experience in creditor representation.