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What is an adversary proceeding and how do I file a complaint?

Filing An Adversary Proceeding Complaint

If it is determined from the information below that an adversary proceeding is appropriate, complaints are filed in the clerk’s office. Unless the complaint is electronically filed, each complaint must be submitted with a fully filled out Adversary Proceeding Coversheet Local Form B1040 (which is identical to Official Form 1040).

What is an Adversary Proceeding?

An adversary proceeding is the bankruptcy court’s version of a civil complaint. It is governed by Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure (FRBP) Rule 7001 and is a proceeding to:

(1) Recover money or property. [Except for a proceeding (a) to compel the debtor to deliver property to the trustee; (b) to recover or reclaim property in the hands of a DIP or trustee under 11 USC §554 (abandonment) or §725 (disposition of property); (c) under FRBP 2017 (examination of debtor's transactions with debtor's attorney); and (d) under FRBP 6002 (accounting by prior custodian of property of the estate)].

(2) Determine the validity, priority, or extent of a lien or other interest in property. [Except for a proceeding under FRBP 4003 [liens impairing debtor's exemptions] which is also covered by Local Bankruptcy Rule (LBR) 4003-2 and requires the filing of Local Bankruptcy Form (LBF) 717, Notice of Motion for Avoidance of Lien Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §522(f) in a Chapter Case, and LBF 717.15, Instructions].

(3) Obtain approval pursuant to 11 USC §363 for the sale of both the interest of the estate and of a co-owner (i.e., non-debtor) in property.

(4) Object to or revoke a discharge, except for motions objecting to discharge pursuant to 11 USC §§727(a)(8), 727(a)(9), or 1328(f) (See FRBP 4004(a) and 7001(4)).

(5) Revoke an order of confirmation of a chapter 11, chapter 12, or chapter 13 plan.

(6) Determine the dischargeability of a debt.

(7) Obtain an injunction or other equitable relief [NOTE: Also see LBR 7065].

(8) Subordinate any allowed claim or interest.[Except for when subordination is provided in a chapter 9, 11, 12, or 13 plan].

(9) Obtain a declaratory judgment relating to any of the foregoing in points 1 through 8.

(10) Determine a claim or cause of action removed pursuant to 28 USC §1452 [removal of claims related to bankruptcy cases].


a. Proceedings brought to avoid transfers by the debtor under 11 USC §544 [trustee's power to avoid obligations incurred by the debtor], §545 [trustee's power to avoid the fixing of a statutory lien on property of the debtor], §547 [trustee's power to avoid preferential transfers], §548 [trustee's power to avoid fraudulent transfers and obligations], and §549 [trustee's power to avoid postpetition transaction].

b. FRBP Rules 5008 & 9025 proceedings on bonds.

c. FRBP 4004 denial of discharge based on §727 or §1328, except for motions objecting to discharge pursuant to 11 USC §§727(a)(8), 727(a)(9), or 1328(f) (See FRBP 4004(a) and 7001(4)).

d. 11 USC §§727, 1228 or 1328 revoke discharge.

e. 11 USC §523 dischargeability of particular debt.

f. 11 USC §§1144, 1230 and 1330 revoke an order of confirmation of a plan in chapters 11, 12 or 13.

g. 11 USC §510 to subordinate a claim or interest other than as part of a plan.

h. 11 USC §363 to sell interest of both debtor and of co-owner.

Adversary Proceedings are not any action relating to the exceptions listed above including (but not limited to) motions/requests/stipulations for relief from automatic stay per 11 USC §362 and FRBP 4001, objections to claims unless joined with a demand for relief of a kind covered by FRBP 7001. A debtor's motion to avoid a lien impairing exemptions pursuant to 11 USC §522 is not an adversary proceeding but a motion/stipulation for lien avoidance by anyone other than the debtor is an adversary proceeding per point (2) above.

While the information presented above is as accurate as possible as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney or legal association. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (Title 11, United States Code), and the Local Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon.

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