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Houston Bankruptcy - Terms & Definitions

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Money that a defendant pays a plaintiff in a civil case if the plaintiff has won. Damages may be compensatory (for loss or injury) or punitive (to punish and deter future misconduct).
De Facto
Latin, meaning "in fact" or "actually." Something that exists in fact but not as a matter of law.
De Jure
Latin, meaning "in law." Something that exists by operation of law.
De Novo
Latin, meaning "anew." A trial de novo is a completely new trial. Appellate review de novo implies no deference to the trial judge's ruling.
a liability upon a claim. Section 101(11) of the Bankruptcy Code defines debt.
Debt Adjustment
a case under Chapter 12 or 13
Debt Collection
the process of collection a debt.
Any person who is liable to another for money.
the fiduciary entity created by a debtor filing Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.
Debtor Relief
what an individual filing personal bankruptcy seeks: a discharge, exemptions and the benefits of the automatic stay.
Debtor's Equity
the debtor's unencumbered ownership interest in property.
Debtor's plan
A debtor's detailed description of how the debtor proposes to pay creditors' claims over a fixed period of time.
Declaratory Judgment
A judge's statement about someone's rights. For example, a plaintiff may seek a declaratory judgment that a particular statute, as written, violates some constitutional right.
Failure to make payments within a specified period of time governed by the original contract.
Default Judgment
a judgment granted on application of the plaintiff when the defendant has failed to file an answer or other required pleading.
In a civil case, the person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings suit; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
the shortfall that results when a debt is undersecured, that is, when the collateral securing the debt is worth less than the amount owing, so that realization of the collateral does not fully satisfy the debt. See equity cushion; surplus.
See assignment
Failure to make payments when payments are due. Even if there is no "late fee" charged for a number of days, the payment is still considered to be late and the loan delinquent. When a loan payment is more than 30 days late, most lenders report the late payment to one or more of the credit bureaus.
Delivery (of Writ)
the transmission of a writ to the sheriff with instructions to execute it.
Delivery Bond
See redelivery bond
Denial of Discharge
Penalty for debtor misconduct with respect to the bankruptcy case or creditors as a whole. The grounds on which the debtor's discharge may be denied are found in 11 U.S.C. 727. When the debtor's discharge is denied, the debts that could have been discharged in that case cannot be discharged in any subsequent bankruptcy. The administration of the case, the liquidation of assets and the recovery of avoidable transfers, continues for the benefit of creditors.
An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial. See discovery.
Disallowed Claim
a claim not entitled to receive a dividend form a bankruptcy estate.
The legal term for the elimination of a debt through a bankruptcy action. When a debt is discharged, it is no longer legally enforceable against the debtor, though any lien that secures the debt may survive the bankruptcy case.
Debts that can be eliminated in bankruptcy. Certain debts may not be discharged through a bankruptcy action. Family support and criminal restitution are examples of debts which cannot be discharged. Debts incurred by fraud can only be discharged in Chapter 13.
Dischargeable Debt
a debt subject to a debtor's discharge. The discharge relieves a debtor from legal liability for the debt.
Discharging/Dissolution Bond
a bond posted by the debtor for the purpose of releasing property from attachment. The bond is an undertaking by the debtor, supported by a surety, to pay any judgment ultimately obtained by the creditor. Its effect is to terminate the attach- ment and restore the property to the debtor. See redelivery bond.
Disclosure Statement
a document filed in a Chapter 11 proceeding that describes a debtor-in-possession's reorganization plan, its effect upon the creditors, the ability of the plan to be performed, and a comparison of the reorganization plan's repayment proposal to the results likely to be obtained in a Chapter 7 proceeding for the same debtor. The creditors of a Chapter 11 debtor-in-possession may not vote for or against the reorganization plan until the court approves the contents of the Disclosure Statement at a Disclosure Statement hearing.
Procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.
the act of terminating a bankruptcy proceeding, the general effect of which is to restore the parties to their rights and liabilities as they existed prior to the bankruptcy filing.
Dismissal with Prejudice
Court action that prevents an identical lawsuit from being filed later.
Dismissal without Prejudice
Court action that allows the later filing.
Disposable Income
all income not necessary for the maintenance or support of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
Disposable Income Test
a test for confirmation of a Chapter 12 or 13 plan that requires the debtor to commit all his or her disposable income to payments under the plan for a period of three years. "Disposable income" is that portion of the debtor's income not reasonably necessary for the maintenance and support of the debtor or a dependent and not necessary for the operation and preservation of any business in which the debtor is engaged. The test is only applied upon objection to confirmation by a competent party.
the seizure of property to secure or satisfy a debt. For example, a landlord's right to seize a tenant's good on the leased premises to satisfy a claim for unpaid arrear rent.
Distress Sale
a forced sale, such as an execution or foreclosure sale. Because of the circumstances of the sale, the price obtained for the property is usually depressed.
a record of proceedings in court or the act of making an entry in such record.
Dormant (Judgment)
a judgment that has become unenforceable because it has not been executed upon within the prescribed time. It can be revived by appli- cation. (Dormancy must be distinguished from expiry of a judgment: When a judgment reaches the end of its statutory lifespan, it becomes ineffective and cannot be revived.)
Due Process
notice and an opportunity to be heard.

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