In In re Resendez, No. 06-67436, 2006 Bankr. LEXIS 2574 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. August 31, 2006), the Chapter 13 debtor inadvertently filed her petition in the Atlanta Division, when she resided in the Newnan Division. The mistake was due to the fact that the ZIP code in which Debtor resides crosses two counties, one of which is in the Newnan Division and one in the Atlanta Division, and the Bankruptcy software mistakenly filed the petition in the Atlanta division.
Even though the error was inadvertent and the debtor’s Chapter 13 plan was otherwise confirmable, the Chapter 13 Trustee filed an objection to confirmation and requested dismissal or transfer to the Newnan Division.
The Court denied the motion. Local Rule 1071-1(b) requires that a case be filed in the appropriate Division. However, the Court found that Local Rule 1071-1(c) was somewhat forgiving, and allowed the Court to transfer a case to another Division on the motion of a party or sua sponte. If the Court could transfer a case to another Division without meeting the requirements of LR 1071-1(b), it followed that a Court could retain a case filed in the wrong Division. The transfer of this case would only lead to additional expense for the Court and the new Chapter 13 trustee, who would have to duplicate the work already done. Notwithstanding the ruling, the Court deferred to Judge Drake of the Newnan Division, who had no objection to the case remaining in Atlanta.