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Harris v. Viegelahn

Docket No.: 14-400
Certiorari Granted: Dec 12 2014
Argued: April 1, 2015
Decided: 5/18/15


Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Code

PartyNames: Charles E. Harris, III v. Mary K. Viegelahn, Chapter 13 Trustee
Petitioner: Charles E. Harris, III
Respondent: Mary K. Viegelahn, Chapter 13 Trustee

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Citation: 757 F.3d 468
Supreme Court Docket

Charles E. Harris, III
Mary K. Viegelahn, Chapter 13 Trustee

Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code allows debtors to repay their creditors by turning a portion of their monthly income over to a Chapter 13 trustee for distribution to those creditors. At any time, however, a debtor may convert a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case to one under Chapter 7. Congress has provided that "[e]xcept" where the conversion is made in bad faith, the resulting Chapter 7 estate is limited to the debtor's property "as of the date" the original Chapter 13 petition was filed; it does not include wages or property that the debtor acquired after the petition date. 11 U.S.C. 348(f).

Question Presented:

Whether, when a debtor in good faith converts a bankruptcy case to Chapter 7 after confirmation of a Chapter 13 plan, undistributed funds held by the Chapter 13 trustee are refunded to the debtor (as the Third Circuit held in In re Michael, 699 F.3d 305 (2012) or distributed to creditors (as the Fifth Circuit held below).

Harris v. Viegelahn

April 1, 2015

Listen to Oral Argument in Harris v. Viegelahn
Vote: 9-0
Majority: unanimous
Opinion By:

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Harris v. Viegelahn
Case Documents

1Harris v. Viegelahn Oral Argument Audio
2Harris v. Viegelahn Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
3Slip Opinion in Harris v. Viegelahn (Opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)