Open an Adversary Proceeding

OPEN AN ADVERSARY PROCEEDING

This section demonstrates the steps necessary to open an Adversary Proceeding in CM/ECF.

  • For a detailed step by step process, begin with the Open Adversary Proceeding Training Module and then view Steps 1 - 20 of this manual.
  • For quick access to particular steps of popular interest, the Court has included ‘Quick Links' below.

NOTE: The ‘Quick Links’ allow the user to jump to a particular step in the process of opening an adversary proceeding (such as ‘Filing Fees Exemption.’) HOWEVER, these quick links do not cover each topic related to opening an adversary proceeding. For a complete step by step understanding of the CM/ECF Opening Adversary Proceeding process, please consult Steps 1 – 20.

Quick Links
Case Data Screen (Step 3)
Search For A Plaintiff (Step 4)
Plaintiff Information (Step 5)
Search For A Defendant (Step 6)
Defendant Information Screen (Step 7)
Association Screen (Step 8)
Statistical Data Screen (Step 10)
Filing Fee Options Screen (Steps 11-12A and 15)
PDF Upload Screen (Steps 13-14)
Payment Screen (Steps 18-20)
Summons (Step 21)

STEP 1: Click on the ‘Adversary’ link at the top of the CM/ECF menu bar.

STEP 2:  When the ‘Adversary Events’ menu displays, click on ‘Open An AP Case'

STEP 3:  Case Data Screen
Case Type:  'AP' will display, signifying this is an adversary proceeding.

Date Filed:  The date the case was filed will display.

Complaint: (a) Click on the drop down arrow to select the appropriate option. Click on 'y' if you are filing a new complaint. Click 'Next' to continue. (b) Click on 'n' if you are filing a Notice of Removal. You will now see an additional box labeled 'Counsel.' Click on the drop down arrow to reveal the list of options. Choose the appropriate one.

STEP 4:  Search For A Plaintiff Screen
In order to search for a party, you must enter, at a minimum, the first two (2) letters of their last name and the initial of the first name.

If your party appears after you have searched:
   Highlight your party by clicking on the party’s name
   Click ‘Select Name From List’
   Go to Step 5-2

If your party is not found after you have searched:
  Click on 'Create New Party'
  Click 'Next' to continue

STEP 5:  Plaintiff Information Screen
1. Enter the information for the plaintiff by clicking in each text box and typing the appropriate information. Please include the plaintiff's:

First Name
Last Name
Mailing Address (Start with Address Line 1 and continue to Address Line 2)
County
Phone
E-mail (If available)

2.  Alias: If the plaintiff has any aliases, click the ‘Alias’ button at the bottom of your screen. The Alias Information Screen will appear, please enter:

Last Name
First Name
Role: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Choose the appropriate role type for each alias.

NOTE: You may enter up to 5 aliases on a single Alias Information Screen. If you wish to enter more than 5, fill out the first 5 aliases on a single Alias Information Screen. Then click ‘Submit.’ Repeat the process, as necessary.

3. Corporate/Parent Affiliate: If the plaintiff has a corporate or parent affiliate, click the ‘Corporate/Parent Affiliate’ button. Type in the plaintiff’s corporate or parent business name and click ‘Submit.’

4. Review: Click the ‘Review’ button to review parties, aliases, and corporate/parent affiliate information.

5. Role in Bankruptcy Case: Click the drop down arrow to view a list of options and select as appropriate.

6. Add Additional Attorney: If the plaintiff has attorneys in addition to yourself, click the 'Add additional Attorney' button. The Add Additional Attorney Screen will appear. Fill in the appropriate information by clicking in each text box and typing, or by clicking on each drop down arrow and selecting the appropriate option.

7. Click ‘Submit.’ NOTE: A pop-up window will appear notifying you of each section that has not been filled in or completed. Click ‘Okay’ to continue.

8. The Search For A Plaintiff Screen will reappear. If you have multiple plaintiffs, repeat the process by searching for the next plaintiff by name. If you have no additional plaintiffs, click 'End Plaintiff Selection' to continue.

STEP 6:  Search For A Defendant Screen
In order to search for a party, you must enter, at a minimum, the first two (2) letters of their last name and the initial of the first name.

If your party appears after you have searched:
  Highlight your party by clicking on the party’s name
  Click ‘Select Name From List’
  Click 'Next' to continue. Go to step 7-2.

If the defendant is not found after you have searched:
  Click on ‘Create New Party’
  Click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to step 7-1.

STEP 7:  Defendant Information Screen
1. Enter the information for the defendant by clicking in each text box and typing the appropriate information. Please include the plaintiff's:

First Name
Last Name
Mailing Address (Start with Address Line 1 and continue to Address Line 2)
County
Phone
E-mail (If available)

2.  Alias: If the defendant has any aliases, click the ‘Alias’ button at the bottom of your screen. The Alias Information Screen will appear, please enter:

Last Name
First Name
Role

NOTE: You may enter up to 5 aliases on a single Alias Information Screen. If you wish to enter more than 5, fill out the first 5 aliases on a single Alias Information Screen. Then click ‘Submit.’ Repeat the process, as necessary.

3. Corporate/Parent Affiliate: If the defendant has a corporate or parent affiliate, click the ‘Corporate/Parent Affiliate’ button. Type in the defendant’s corporate or parent business name and click ‘Submit.’

4. Review: Click the ‘Review’ button to review parties, aliases, and corporate/parent affiliate information.

5. Role in Bankruptcy Case: Click the drop down arrow to view a list of options and select as appropriate.

6. Add Additional Attorney: If the defendant has attorneys in addition to yourself, click the 'Add additional Attorney' button. The Add Additional Attorney Screen will appear. Fill in the appropriate information by clicking in each text box and typing, or by clicking on each drop down arrow and selecting the appropriate option.

7. Click ‘Submit.’ NOTE: A pop-up window will appear notifying you of each section that has not been filled in or completed. Click ‘Okay’ to continue.

8. The Search For A Defendant Screen will reappear. If you have multiple defendants, repeat the process by searching for the next defendant by name. If you have no additional defendants, click 'End Defendant Selection' to continue.

STEP 8:  Association Screen
1. Lead Case Number: Enter the Bankruptcy case number by clicking in the text box and typing the appropriate information.

2. Association Type: Clicking on this drop down arrow provides a list of options. The default setting is 'Adversary.' Do not change this selection.

3. Click 'Next' to continue.

STEP 9:  Divisional Office Screen
At this time the Divisional Offices Screen will appear. The D.C. Bankruptcy Court has a single divisional office. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 10:  The Statistical Data Screen
1. Party Code: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Select the appropriate option.

2. Rule 23: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Select 'y' if this is a class action lawsuit, select 'n' if this is not a class action lawsuit. NOTE: The default setting is 'n.'

3. Jury Demand: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options and select the desired option.

4. Demand: If there is a monetary award being sought, enter the amount here to the nearest thousand by clicking in the text box and typing the appropriate amount. For example: a monetary award of 5,000 would be entered as '5'

5. State Law: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Select 'y' if this case is a substantive issue of state law, select 'n' if this case is not a substantive issue of state law, or select 'unknown' if it is unknown at this time.

6. Primary Nature of Suit: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Select the appropriate option by clicking on it. Repeat the process for 'Secondary Nature of Suit,' 'Third Nature of Suit,' and so on, as necessary.

7. Click 'Next' to continue.

STEP 11:  Filing Fees Exempt Screen
This screen will inform you of certain exemptions for filing fees. If the plaintiff is the debtor, the U.S., or Child Support Creditor click in the text box and type 'y' for yes. If the plaintiff is not any of the listed options, click in the text box and type 'n' for no.

Click 'Next' to continue.

STEP 12A:  Filing Fees Deferred Screen
1. This screen will prompt you to indicate if your filing fees are deferred. If your filing fees are deferred for an appropriate reason, click in the text box and type 'y' for yes. If your filing fees cannot be deferred, click in the text box and type 'n' for no.

2. Click 'Next' to continue. A blank screen may appear with an additional 'Next' button. If this occurs, click 'Next' again to continue. If you are filing a new complaint, go to STEP 13. If you are filing a Notice of Removal, go to Step 12B.

STEP 12B:  Select Event Screen
1. If you are filing a Notice of Removal, the Select Event Screen will now display. Select 'Notice of Removal' from the drop down list by clicking on it.

2. Click 'Next' to continue. Go to STEP 13.

STEP 13:  PDF Upload Screen
1. On this screen, you will be uploading your complaint to the CM/ECF database.

  • CM/ECF only accepts documents saved as PDFs. For information on converting Word or WordPerfect files to PDF, visit Technical Tips.
  • CM/ECF can support up to 5 MB per file.

2. Click ‘Browse’ to open the browse pop-up window.

3. Find your complaint/removal in the browsing pop-up window.

4. Click on the complaint/removal to select it.

5. NOTE: The NEF will display the file name of the PDF, as it appears at this time. For example, a document that is saved as ‘Adversary5.pdf’ on your computer will be displayed in the NEF as ‘Adversary5.’ Please label documents in an appropriate way.

6. Click ‘Open’ to select the complaint/removal.

7. If you are not attaching any documents to your complaint/removal, click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to Step 15. If you are attaching any additional documents to your complaint:

  • Click the ‘Yes’ radio button located directly below the ‘Browse’ button.
  • Click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to Step 14.

STEP 14:  Attached Files Upload Screen
1. If you selected ‘Yes’ to attachments, you will now be prompted to upload the additional file(s) you wish to attach to your complaint/removal.

2. Click the ‘Browse’ button to open the browse pop-up window.

3. Find your additional file in the browsing pop-up window.

4. Click on the additional file to select it.

5. Click ‘Open’ to upload the additional file.

6. You must now select a Category and/or type a Description of the additional file. You may complete one field or both fields. HOWEVER, you cannot leave both fields blank.

7. Category: Click the ‘Category’ drop down arrow to reveal the list of options. Select the appropriate category for the additional file.

8. Description: Click in the ‘Description’ text box and type a description of the additional file.

9. Click the ‘Add to List’ button once you have completed the Category and/or Description fields.

10. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 15:  Additional Screens/Exempt & Deferred Input Screens
1. An additional blank screen may appear at this time. If it appears, click 'Next' to continue.

2. If you select 'y' to indicate you are exempt from filing fees in STEP 11 or 'y' to indicate your filing fees are deferred in STEP 12, you will now be prompted with a Receipt Screen. Click in the text box and type 'exempt,' if you are exempt, or 'deferred' if your payment is deferred. NOTE: If your payments are to be deferred, you must file a Request to Defer Payment.

STEP 16:  Docket Text Screens
If you would like to enhance the text, click in the text box and begin typing. 
Click ‘Next’ to continue. 

If you do not wish to add to the text, click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 17:  Notice of Electronic Filing Screen & Filing Fee Payment Screen
1. At this time, two screens will appear: confirmation screen and the Filing Fee Payment Screen.

2. The confirmation Screen with the case number will be displayed in the background. This is the confirmation that your case has been opened.  Print out for your records if you desire.

3. The Filing Fee Payment Screen will be displayed as a pop-up window in the foreground. 

• To pay your filing fees now: click the 'Pay Amount Due Now' button on the pop-up window. Go to Step 18.

• If you have additional filings to complete: click ‘Continue Filing’ and pay your filing fee at a later time.

 After you have filed your complaint/removal, you can pay your filing fee by clicking the ‘Utilities’  link at the top of the CM/ECF menu bar.

Then click on ‘Internet Payments Due’ and follow Steps 18 – 23.

• NOTE: You have 24 hours from the time of filing to pay all filing fees. If payment has not been received after 24 hours, you will be locked out of filing until the sum is paid.

STEP 18: Payment Screen Continued
1. A summary of current charges appears, displaying the date incurred, description, and amount of each filing fee.

2. Check the box for the fees you wish to pay at this time.

3. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

4. Click ‘Pay Now’ to continue.

STEP 19:  Enter Payment Information Screen
1. You will now be prompted to enter your payment information. Payment can be completed by check, debit card, or credit card. NOTE: For check payments, you will need your bank routing and account numbers.

2. The cardholder name, address, and zip code will be retrieved from your CM/ECF account and copied into the appropriate fields. These fields are mandatory. If they are not correct, please visit the Maintain Your User Account section to learn how to modify your CM/ECF account information.

3. Click ‘Continue With Plastic Card Payment’ or ' Continue With ACH Payment' as appropriate.

 STEP 20:  Payment Summary and Authorization Screen
1. For an email confirmation and receipt, click in the email text box and type the email address where you wish to send a confirmation of payment.

2. Check the ‘Authorizing Payment’ checkbox located directly above the ‘Submit Payment’ button. NOTE: You will not be able to submit your payment until you have checked the box authorizing the payment.

3. Click ‘Submit Payment’ to complete the transaction.

4. When the transaction is complete, you will have the opportunity to print a receipt of the transaction.

STEP 21: Summons
1.  Download and save the summons form (also available on the court’s website under Bankruptcy Information - - > Statutes, Rules, Forms, Guides, etc. -- > Forms - - > Court’s Local Forms).  Use this fillable form each time you docket a summons to the docket.  DO NOT post a non-fillable form to the docket as the Clerk will need to add the date of issuance, etc.

2.  Fill in the bankruptcy case information, the adversary case information, and the name and address of the plaintiff’s attorney in the appropriate fields.

3.  Docket the summons, separate from the complaint, using the Adversary - - > Summons event called “Draft Summons.”  You can link it to the complaint.  A summons must be prepared and docketed for each defendant.

4.  Summons(es) will be issued by the court electronically by the following day with scheduling conference information and court seal added.

5.  You will receive a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) of the issued summons when the Clerk’s Office enters it on the court’s docket.

6.  Use the NEF hyperlink to retrieve the issued summons form to effect service of process.