Date of Filing, Not Date of Conversion, is used to Measure the 4-year Period for Discharge Eligibility when Converting from Chapter 13 to 7

Date of Filing, Not Date of Conversion, is used to Measure the 4-year Period for Discharge Eligibility when Converting from Chapter 13 to 7

Before commencement of this Chapter 13 case, Debtors had previously filed a Chapter 13 case on September 29, 2010. The case was converted to a Chapter 7 case on July 22, 2014. Debtors received a Chapter 7 discharge in that case on November 19, 2014. They filed a petition for relief in this Chapter 13 case on March 1, 2017. The Trustee timely filed her Motion to Deny Discharge on March 9, 2017. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4004(a).

The Trustee argues that Debtors are not entitled to a Chapter 13 discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 1328(f)(1), which provides as follows: Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), the court shall not grant a discharge of all debts provided for in the plan or disallowed under section 502, if the debtor has received a discharge – (1) in a case filed under chapter 7 . . . of this title during the 4-year period preceding the date of the order for relief under this chapter. . . .

The date of the order for relief in this case is March 1, 2017, the date Debtors’ Chapter 13 petition was filed. See 11 U.S.C. § 301 (providing that a voluntary case is commenced by filing a petition and “commencement of a voluntary case . . . constitutes an order for relief. . . .”). However, the parties disagree on when the clock began running with respect to the four-year period set forth in § 1328(f)(1). According to the Trustee, it began running on July 22, 2014, the date that Debtors’ prior case was converted to Chapter 7, which date occurred during the four-year period preceding March 1, 2017. Debtors, on the other hand, argue that the clock began running on September 29, 2010, when their prior case was originally filed and well before the four-year look-back period.

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