Aeschbacher, No. 09-40713-JDP (Bankr. D. Idaho, February 15, 2011).
A bankruptcy court can set aside, or consider void, a previous court decision that was based on mistake, surprise, or excusable neglect. However, the person trying to set aside the prior decision must prove that one of these things existed at the time and led to the decision.
Excusable neglect, generally, is when you act with good intentions, good faith, but somehow did not act or do what you needed to in the prior case, and you had a good reason for not acting. If the judgment was unfair and these facts can be shown, the court can set aside a prior decision.
In this case, Valerie Aeschbacher filed for bankruptcy. During the case proceedings, the trustee became entitled to Valerie’s Ford Escape when she did not come to court to contest it. Valerie claimed that the court should undo that decision because it was the result of her excusable neglect.
The court decided that Valerie’s neglect was not excusable. She did not have a good reason for not appearing in court and did not act in good faith. Instead, the court decided that Valerie had intentionally delayed the court proceedings by not showing up, and was no being honest to the court. She lost her car.
These types of thing can happen in bankruptcy, which is why it is extremely important that you consult a bankruptcy attorney to determine the issues specific to your case.
Stephen M. Trezza – Tucson Bankruptcy Attorney
Please see In re: Aeschbacher the case summary for more information about the case.