Adversary Proceeding Opening

Opening an Adversary Proceeding involves entering the necessary information regarding the plaintiff, defendant, and basic statistical data, and the filing of the PDF image of the complaint. The complaint must NOT be filed separately. IMPORTANT! The summons and notice must be filed separately, after the case has been opened, and must NOT be included with the complaint in the Adversary Proceeding Opening process. These instructions assume you have already accessed and logged into CM/ECF (see How to Access CM/ECF).


Prepare as separate PDF documents: • Complaint (main document) • Coversheet (attachment 1) • Exhibits, if any (attachment 2, 3, etc.)


1. Click [Adversary]

2. Select [Open an AP Case/File a Complaint]

3. The following information displays. DO NOT CHANGE ANY OF THIS INFORMATION.

Accept the defaults and click [Next].

Case Type: ap for Adversary Proceeding.

Date Filed: the current date is displayed.

Complaint: (y) signifies that the PDF of the complaint will be associated.

NOTE: The Case Number will be generated later in this process and will be displayed on the Notice of Electronic Filing.

4. Enter the Lead Bankruptcy Case Number in yy-nnnnn format, including the hyphen.

Association Type: accept the default of Adversary.

♦ Click [Next]

NOTE: If the case number is invalid, the following error message will appear: "YY_NNNN is not a valid case. Please enter a valid value." You will not be able to proceed with the case opening process until a valid lead case number is entered.

5. The Case Assignment screen displays the judge assigned to this case. Case assignment is based on the judge assigned to the lead Bankruptcy Case.

Click [Next] to continue.

6 . The Search for a Plaintiff screen appears.

♦ This is where you will add the plaintiff as a party. Before adding the plaintiff, search the database to see if that party already exists in the database from another case or the lead Bankruptcy Case (to eliminate duplicate records in the system). One can search by Social Security Number, Tax Identification Number, Last Name, or Business Name. If this is a business filing, enter the first word of the name in the Last/Business name field. Enter the search information for the plaintiff, and click [Search].

♦ If the party is found in the database, the Party search results will provide a listing of parties matching your search criteria. Select the party by highlighting the name, then click on the [Select name from list] button.

♦ If the party is not found, click the [Create New Party] button.

7. The Plaintiff Information screen appears.

♦ Enter the plaintiff's name, address, and tax ID or SSN information in the appropriate boxes.

♦ Role in Bankruptcy Case - click on the down arrow and select the role of the plaintiff in the lead Bankruptcy Case.

♦ Click on the [Attorney...] button. You will need to add yourself as the attorney representing the plaintiff(s) (this applies to Adversary Proceeding openings only, not other filings).

The following steps will show how this is done:

(i) Your attorney record already exists in the database in an attorney roll that is maintained by court staff.

(ii) The Attorney Search screen allows you to retrieve your attorney record by either State Bar ID or Last Name. Enter the State Bar ID or a minimum of the first two letters of the last name.

(iii) Click [Search]

(iv) The Attorney Search Results screen will display all the matches for the search clue you entered. Highlight your name and click [Select name from list].

(v) The Attorney Information screen appears.

→ Your attorney record can accommodate only one address. If the address for this case is different, make the changes to this screen. This will change the professional mailing information FOR THIS CASE ONLY.

→ After verifying this information, click [Add attorney] to associate this attorney record with your plaintiff.

→ The Plaintiff Information screen appears again. At this time you may click the [Review] button to verify attorney and alias information for this party. From the Review attorneys, aliases and corporate parents screen, click [Return to Party screen] to continue.

→ When the Plaintiff Information screen appears again, click [Submit].

→ You have now added the plaintiff. The Search for a plaintiff screen will reappear. If there are additional plaintiffs to add, repeat the process. If you are finished adding plaintiffs, click [End plaintiff selection].

8. The Search for a defendant screen appears.

♦ Enter search information for the defendant and click [Search].

♦ When the Search Results screen appears, the party may be displayed if that party already exists in the database from another case or the lead Bankruptcy Case. If found, highlight the name and click [Select name from list]. If not found, click [Create new party].

♦ The Defendant Information screen appears.

(i) Enter the defendant's name and address (if known)

(ii) Role in Bankruptcy Case - click on the down arrow and select the role of the defendant in the lead Bankruptcy Case. This is required information.

(iii) The defendant's attorney information will be added at a later time.

(iv) When finished entering the defendant's information, click [Submit].

(v) You have now added the defendant. The Search for a defendant screen will reappear. If there are additional defendants to add, repeat the process. If you are finished adding defendants, click [End defendant selection].

♦ Make the appropriate selections for the following:

(i) Party code: Unless the U.S. is a plaintiff or defendant in this case, accept the default. U.S. not a Party.

(ii) Rule 23 (class action): Unless this is a class action suit, accept the default of n (no)

(iii) Jury demand: Unless there is a jury demand, accept the default of none.

(iv) Dollar Demand: If there is a dollar demand, enter the amount in thousands to the nearest thousand. For example, if the Dollar Demand is $4,550, $5,000, or $5,499, you would enter 5 for $5,000, leaving off the 000.

(v) State Law: Unless the case involves a substantive issue of state law, accept the default of n (no).

(vi) Nature of suit: Up to five nature of suit codes can now be entered for an Adversary. Enter nature of suit codes in the order of their importance, starting with the lead cause of action. If one of the causes of action is Objection to Discharge, this one must be entered first.

(vii) Verify the data entered, then click [Next].

9. Select the PDF document

♦ This screen is used for associating the complaint with this entry. You may NOT bypass associating an imaged document.

♦ Important Reminder: The Summons and Notice must NOT be attached to the complaint. The Summons and Notice must be filed separately, after opening the case.

♦ [Browse] and select the PDF of the Complaint you are filing.

♦ Select yes for the Attachments to Document radio button. Attach the coversheet and any exhibits you may have

♦ Click [Next] to continue.

10. The next screen will display the various information, including the amount of the filing fee. Upon completion of filing, you will be prompted to enter your credit card information for payment of this filing fee. Click [Next] to continue.

→ NOTE: You may see a displayed message for COURT USERS ONLY. Disregard this message.

11. The Modify Docket Text screen displays.

♦ Only if needed, click inside the Free Text box and enter additional descriptive information (most times no additional text is needed).

♦ Click [Next]

12. The Final Docket Text screen displays.

♦ Proof this screen carefully! No further editing in the case opening process is allowed after this screen. If the docket text is correct, click [Next].

♦ If any part of the docket text is incorrect, click the browser [Back] button to return to the screen you need to correct. Then process the screens again with the respective [Next] or [Submit] buttons

→ NOTE: When an Adversary Proceeding is opened, an entry with the Complaint information is also entered on the docket in the main Bankruptcy Case. (The Case Number will appear in the docket text in the Bankruptcy Case.)

→ NOTE: To abort or restart the transaction at any time up until the final docket text screen, click any of the menus on the main Menu Bar (i.e. Adversary).

13. The Notice of Electronic Filing screen displays.

♦ The Case Number of both this Adversary Proceeding and the lead Bankruptcy Case appear. This indicates that this Complaint entry has spread to the Bankruptcy Case and will be available to anyone reviewing the Bankruptcy Docket Report. The hyperlink to the imaged PDF complaint is also accessible from the Bankruptcy Case.

NOTE: You must enter your PACER login and password to view any documents or reports or perform any queries.

♦ Make a note of the Adversary Proceeding number or print a copy of this notice by clicking the browser [Print] button.

♦ A pop-up credit card payment window will appear on the screen overlaying the Notice of Electronic Filing. This screen will contain the new filing fee charge and any other outstanding CM/ECF filing fees. You must pay all filing fees incurred with a credit card.