A federal bankruptcy court judge recently denied the request of one of Casey Anthony’s creditors to move the case from the Tampa court where she filed for bankruptcy to a court in Orlando.
As we wrote in a previous post, Ms. Anthony has a variety of legal issues lingering, many of them financial, following her acquittal from her high profile criminal defense case. Her financial struggles have arisen primarily out of her criminal defense case where she amassed significant legal bills and was sued for defamation by someone who she had falsely implicated during the case. The other party in this civil case has requested that the bankruptcy action be transferred to the same court where the civil case is being heard.
The issue in this case is jurisdictional, which may be confusing to some readers who are aware that bankruptcy law is governed federally and is the same everywhere. While it is true that the substantive law is the same in Florida as in other states and is the same throughout the state of Florida, the concern here is procedural. To put it more simply – the court is concerned about the convenience of attending court in Tampa for all of the parties involved. In cases with multiple parties from various parts of the state or country, typically the case should be filed in a court near where one or more parties lives or works. In this case, no one who is a party to this bankruptcy case lives or works in Tampa. However, Anthony’s lawyer has argued that Tampa is the right choice precisely for that reason, since Anthony is the subject of various threats following her acquittal.
The judge in this bankruptcy case agreed and the case will remain in Tampa. The outcome will have a significant impact on the other pending litigation against her, since Bankruptcy can act as a temporary shield against civil judgments.
Source: Tampa Bay Online, “Casey Anthony’s bankruptcy case staying in Tampa,” Feb. 26, 2013.
Information about how bankruptcy impacts other lawsuits can be found on our Florida bankruptcy site.