Rule No.1: Don't Bribe The Bankruptcy Judge

Thinking About Bribing a Bankruptcy Judge?

In a recent bankruptcy dispute, a bankruptcy attorney found himself facing a possible ban on practicing law, after he allegedly sent an “unprofessional and disrespectful” court filing to the bankruptcy court and then tried to resolve the dispute by sending the bankruptcy judge a bottle of wine.

Hyman also spoke of how Gleason dropped off a bottle of wine at Olson’s chambers with a handwritten note: “Dear Judge Olson, a Donnybrook ends when someone buys the first drink. May we resolve our issues privately?” Olson returned the bottle, interpreting it as an effort to influence a judge without the other parties knowing – a big no-no.

But making bankruptcy court gaffes isn’t just in the domain of bankruptcy attorneys, many bankruptcy debtors engage in behavior that could hurt their case.

Let’s take a look at a few:

  • Trying or appearing to bribe the bankruptcy judge or trustee. Attempting to give money or gifts to a bankruptcy judge or trustee could be interpreted as a bribe — don’t do it.
  • Sending angry and belligerent correspondence to the bankruptcy judge or trustee. This includes unprofessional filings and even letters and handwritten notes.  While we all have a right to express our feelings it must be done in a civil tone.
  • Becoming disruptive or violent in the bankruptcy court. This one has been popping up quite often. A recent example was when a debtor’s “advocate” threatened the bankruptcy trustee in the courtroom and was arrested. His threats to the bankruptcy trustee landed him in jail and damaged the debtor’s credibility.