Bankruptcy Filings Decline Slightly for the First Time in Five Years

During 2011, bankruptcy filings decreased in the Central District for the first time since 2006. A total of 134,702 bankruptcy cases were filed in 2011, a 5.7 percent decrease over the record-breaking 142,789 filings in 2010. Even though filings have decreased, the Central District’s percentage change is lower than the national average reduction of 11.5 percent. The decrease in the number of total filings primarily resulted from the 9.2 percent decrease in chapter 7 filings. Chapter 13 filings, up by 6.2 percent, saw the biggest increase, and chapter 11 filings increased by 4.1 percent.

Court Leads Nation in Filings

For the fourth consecutive year, the Central District led the nation in total bankruptcy filings. At 134,702, filings in 2011 were the second highest in the Court’s history, surpassed only by the previous year’s total (142,789). According to the national filing data released by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the Central District of California received 128 percent more bankruptcy filings than the second largest district, the Northern District of Illinois. Additionally, the Central District of California led the nation with the highest total of chapters 7, 11, 13, business, and non-business filings. Bankruptcy filings in the Central District of California account for nearly 10 percent of the nation’s filings.

Pro Se Filings

The Central District of California led the nation in both the number and percentage of pro se filings in 2011. Of the 134,702 bankruptcy cases filed in the district, 38,098 were filed by self-represented debtors. The Central District’s rate of pro se filings for the year was 28.3 percent, over three times the national average of 8.8 percent and 338 percent higher than the next highest district, the Eastern District of California.

In 2011, the Central District received 30 percent of the 124,000 pro se petitions filed nationally. Concerns about access to justice and recognition of the impact these filings have on our workload have led the Court to prioritize serving this population as a key strategic issue. With the opening of the Joint Federal Pro Se Clinic in Riverside in November, all five divisions now host onsite self-help desks.

United States Bankruptcy Court - Central District of California, Bankruptcy Cases Filed: 1995-2011

United States Bankruptcy Court - Central District of California, Bankruptcy Cases Filed: 2006-2011, By Chapters

United States Bankruptcy Court - Central District of California, Percent of Bankruptcy Filings by Division 2011

Circuit/District: Total <i>pro se</i> Filings

2011 Bankruptcy Filings National Ranking

Total <i>pro se</i> Filings and % of Overall Filings