LEO: Bankruptcy Practice - Representing a  LE Op. 1327


Bankruptcy Practice - Representing a Client Within the

Bounds of the Law: Representing Creditor in a Default

Judgment Against Co-Debtor when Debts have been

Discharged Pursuant to Chapter 7 of the

Bankruptcy Code.


February 27, 1990


You have asked the Committee to consider the propriety of an attorney

representing Creditor in seeking a default judgment against Co-Debtor. You

have indicated, however, that all of the Co-Debtor's debts were discharged

pursuant to Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Furthermore, you state that

the Co-Debtor was solely or contributorily liable on the Creditor's debt.


The Committee believes that the appropriate and controlling Disciplinary

Rules relative to your inquiry are DR:2-107(A)(1) and (2). They provide

that a lawyer shall not file a suit or take other action on behalf of his

client when he knows or when it is obvious that such action would serve

merely to harass or maliciously injure another, nor shall a lawyer

knowingly advance a claim, or defense, that is unwarranted under existing

law, unless such claim or defense can be supported by a good faith

argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. (See

also DR:7-102(A)(1) and (2))


Thus, the Committee opines that the filing of a civil suit in the hopes

of obtaining a default judgment against a debtor on a debt discharged by a

prior bankruptcy court order would be violative of the Code of

Professional Responsibility when the lawyer knows of the prior discharge. (

See DR:7-102(A)(2) and LE Op. 224 and LE Op. 1224) The Committee is

of the opinion that LE Op. 491 is inapplicable to the circumstances you

have described.


Committee Opinion February 27, 1990