What are Oklahoma Bankruptcy Records?
Bankruptcy records in Oklahoma are a collection of all legal information related to a bankruptcy case. The files contain all the facts of the case, such as parties involved and details on the resolution of the case. Bankruptcy courts are special courts that have jurisdiction over all bankruptcy cases. A bankruptcy court interprets federal laws on bankruptcy to assist persons with more debt than the individual can repay to ensure that the debtor is relieved and the creditor gets paid.
With each one attached to a federal district court in the state’s three regions, Oklahoma has three bankruptcy courts. The three bankruptcy courts are the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
Bankruptcy records are managed by the court clerk for each bankruptcy court and overseen by the general management of all United States federal courts, the federal judiciary. Bankruptcy records are available in electronic formats, and interested parties can view the files through an electronic service dedicated to that specific purpose and in physical documents stored by each bankruptcy court clerk.
What do Oklahoma Bankruptcy Records Contain?
Oklahoma bankruptcy records contain all legal documents and information generated during the court process for a bankruptcy case, from filing the case to the resolution and subsequent actions. Details contained in a bankruptcy file include:
- Debtor’s name
- Case number
- Name of the presiding judge
- Filing date
- Asset or no asset designation
- Value of available assets
- Creditor’s claim
- Name of the attorney
- Name of the trustee
- Current case status
- Docket information
Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?
Yes, the provisions of Title 11 U.S. C. § 107 states that bankruptcy records are public information and are open to examination by any public entity for free. Hence, members of the public can view and copy the information contained in a bankruptcy record.
There are limitations to how much information on bankruptcy records the general public can access under Title 11 U.S. C. § 107. For a credible reason the court deems fit, courts can seal all or part of a bankruptcy record from public view. Sometimes, restrictions to the files can only be imposed on a particular viewing medium, such as electronic viewing, making a bankruptcy record only accessible physically. Bankruptcy records are withheld from public access if the files contain information considered as trade secrets or confidential details or if the information in the document will lead to defamation or any injury to an entity. Hence, bankruptcy records which have limitations imposed by the court are either restricted or sealed. Most restricted records are still available for public viewing but physically, while sealed records are exempt from public view by court order.
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 a 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 Oklahoma Bankruptcy Records
Oklahoma bankruptcy records are accessible through any of the following;
- Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)
- MCVCIS (Multi-Court Voice Case Information System)
- Physical visit or mail request to the office of the Clerk of the Court.
The Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service maintained by the federal judiciary. This service provides case information from federal appellate courts, the federal district, and bankruptcy courts. Registration is required to use the service, and users are to pay for any case search made. Through PACER, interested parties can access information on any bankruptcy case in any of the three bankruptcy courts in Oklahoma.
MCVCIS (Multi-Court Voice Case Information System) is a free telephone service that provides case information to users. The service is engaged by dialing 1–866–222–8029 and following the prompts. To access Oklahoma bankruptcy records through this service, the code to enter is 65 when the prompt for the state code emerges. MCVCIS service excludes docket information from this service, while PACER includes it.
Another method to obtain Oklahoma bankruptcy records is to visit the Clerk of Court of the court in person. There are public terminals at each office to conduct case searches and copy information. Information is available for free on this terminal but printing any information incurs charges.
How do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in Oklahoma?
Interested persons can view a bankruptcy case’s current status through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) or MCVCIS (Multi-Court Voice Case Information System). An alternative is to visit the court that presided over the case and request it with the clerk.
Can a Bankruptcy be Expunged in Oklahoma?
As bankruptcy records are not criminal records, the files are not subject to the same expungement laws as criminal records. The court expunges Oklahoma bankruptcy records under certain circumstances, but an expungement rarely occurs. Some judges’ preferred action is to remove the name of the person involved in the bankruptcy case from the docket to prevent the docket from appearing if the public searches for the person’s name. However, the measure may be ineffective if other identifying information about the specific case is known. As no law explicitly backs the expungement of bankruptcy records in Oklahoma, a decision to do so or not or to take any other action is entirely at the judge’s discretion.