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What are Kentucky Bankruptcy Records?

In Kentucky, bankruptcy records are formal documents containing details of bankruptcy proceedings in the state. Such proceedings commence when individuals or entities (debtors) who cannot pay their debts file a petition to seek freedom from the commitment while providing the opportunity to pay the creditors. According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, all bankruptcy cases in Kentucky are federal matters to be addressed in the federal bankruptcy courts established by Article I of the Constitution. In Kentucky, these courts include the Eastern District and the Western District Bankruptcy courts. The bankruptcy records they generate and maintain are open to public inspection via the government-run PACER website and third-party amalgamation sites. Inquirers may find Kentucky court records pertaining to bankruptcy proceedings by querying the court where the case was heard or using third-party repositories.

What do Kentucky Bankruptcy Records Contain?

Bankruptcy records generally contain information such as the debtor’s statements of assets, income, liabilities, details of all creditors, and how much is owed to them. Generally, a Kentucky bankruptcy record may contain:

  • Debtor’s personal information 
  • Debtor’s attorney and contact information
  • Debtor’s credit report with a complete list of all creditors 
  • Name of trustee
  • Case number
  • Date case was filed 
  • Type of bankruptcy case
  • Discharge date 
  • Closing date 
  • Creditors’ meeting date  
  • If the declared assets are available for distribution.

Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?

Unless sealed by federal law or court order, every bankruptcy record is listed in a public database to ease public access to them. The U.S. bankruptcy system provides access to information concerning any individual, business, or other entity that files for bankruptcy protection. Consequently, creditors, interested companies or businesses, and the public at large can access bankruptcy records. However, there are some exceptions where the bankruptcy court implements protective measures under the U.S. bankruptcy code.

Such exceptions include situations where;

  • Access to the information would result in the exposure of trade secrets or confidential commercial information 
  • Information contained in a bankruptcy case file is injurious or defamatory 
  • Access to the information would result in an undue risk of identity theft or other unlawful injuries to any party or their assets.

Generally, the court directs that access to a certain bankruptcy record be restricted if its disclosure will violate “privacy interests”.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in. 

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Get Kentucky Bankruptcy Records 

Kentucky bankruptcy records are maintained and disseminated by the individual bankruptcy courts that generate them. Therefore, depending on the court that heard the case of interest, bankruptcy records can be obtained from the Eastern District Bankruptcy Court of Kentucky or the Western District Bankruptcy Court of Kentucky.

The United States Bankruptcy Court- Eastern District of Kentucky

Provided the requested copies are unrestricted, inquirers may obtain documents filed after August 1, 2002. They may visit the court’s public intake area or use the public terminals provided in each district court location. The court also accepts written requests via mail. Requesters must endeavor to include reasonably specific information about the documents that will be copied. On receipt, the court will send a reply stating the cost of copying the documents and sometimes include a search fee. Eventually, the copies will be made when payment is received. Further, older records of closed bankruptcy cases filed before August 1, 2002, are obtainable by contacting the Federal Records Center (F.R.C.). Interested individuals may contact the court directly for further inquiries and assistance.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Kentucky

Community Trust Bank Building, 

100 E. Vine St., 

Suite 200, Lexington, KY, 

P.O. Box 1111

Lexington, KY 40588-1111

Phone: (859) 233-2608

The United States Bankruptcy Court- Western District of Kentucky

The Western District Court only accepts inquiries and requests made in person, over the phone during normal business hours, and via written requests sent by mail.

  • Telephone requests- Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS)

This system grants callers access to basic case information at no charge. The only requirement is that the request is made by dialing (866) 222-8029 from a touch-button telephone. If the McVCIS is unavailable, basic case information is obtainable for free on cases filed on or after July 1, 1992, from the Clerk’s Office by calling (502) 627-5700. If additional information is required, a search fee and other applicable copy charges may apply.

  • Public Terminal in the Clerk’s Office

Like the Eastern district, bankruptcy case information is accessible via public terminals in each division’s federal courthouses. This service is available for use at no charge during regular working hours. Copies printed from these terminals cost 10 cents per page. As an alternative, paper copies can be obtained from the clerk’s office in Louisville in person or via mail. Although all the court locations have public terminals, only Louisville’s location has staff present on-site for in-person support and assistance. 

U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Western District of Kentucky

601 W Broadway, Ste 450

Louisville, KY 40202-2227

Phone: (502) 627-5700

In addition, the Clerk’s Office provides photocopies of active and closed bankruptcy cases filed on or after August 15, 2002. Requests for these photocopies can be made in writing, in person, or by phone. If provided with a clear and specific document reference (case number or date of filing), the Clerk’s Office will provide the copies free, but copy charges may apply. The  Closed Case Information Page also provides access to closed bankruptcy cases filed before August 15, 2002.

  • Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)

The federal courts provide public access to bankruptcy court records through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), an electronic public access service. Full case information on bankruptcy cases addressed in the Eastern and Western District Bankruptcy Courts of Kentucky are available on this platform for a fee. The PACER Service Center also hosts the National U.S. Party/Case Index, which allows users to search for bankruptcy cases at the national level. The necessary information required for these services and the applicable fees may be obtained from the PACER Service Center website or by calling (800) 676-6856.

How do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in Kentucky? 

A bankruptcy case in Kentucky is closed with an order or final decree. Usually, the court directly notifies the petitioner of the case status through a notice sent by mail. If the case debtor has an attorney, the notice will be sent to the legal representative. If there appears to be a delay or uncertainty in the case status, the individual can confirm the case status by calling the Clerk of Court of the bankruptcy court where the case was filed or, they can check with the attorney.

Can a Bankruptcy be Expunged in Kentucky?

No, bankruptcy cases cannot be expunged or deleted in Kentucky. Bankruptcy cases are handled directly by the federal court system, and the U.S. bankruptcy code does not grant the judges any specific authority to expunge bankruptcy information. However, bankruptcy information can be removed from a debtor’s credit report after 7-10 years according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 6 U.S.C. Section 605. This process is not the same as an expungement because the record remains visible to the public.

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