Bankruptcy Courts and Cases

About Bankruptcy Courts

Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases are filed with a federal bankruptcy court and heard before a federal bankruptcy judge.  The federal bankruptcy court is an "arm" of the district court, which is the first court in the three tiered federal court system.  

The bankruptcy courts are dedicated to hearing all types of corporate and personal bankruptcy cases, as well as matters which relate to a federal bankruptcy case such as litigation affecting a bankrupt corporation. 

Companies filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy file pleadings with the court seeking "relief" or signed court orders from the bankruptcy judge, allowing them to continue to operate while under the protection of the federal bankruptcy laws.

About Bankruptcy Cases

When a company files for bankruptcy protection, chapter 11 court documents or pleadings are filed with the federal bankruptcy court, a case number is assigned and a court docket is opened with the company name, case number and assigned bankruptcy judge.  Here is a sample bankruptcy court docket for review: Delta Air Lines court docket

A company filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy will file a number of "first day pleadings" with the federal bankruptcy court.  These first day pleadings are legal documents which seek permission for federal bankruptcy protection and approval to continue business as usual from the bankruptcy court judge. 

The first document filed in every bankruptcy case is the "petition for relief" or  voluntary petition in most chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.  The purpose of this document is to petition the court for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the company. Here is a sample filed petition: Delta Air Lines voluntary petition

About Bankruptcy Court Links

Bankruptcy court cases, dockets and filed pleadings are available online, to the general public, at the internet address for the bankruptcy court where the case is being heard.  You will be required to obtain a PACER account to view court dockets and filed pleadings. 

To obtain a PACER account please refer to:

To find a bankruptcy case, please refer to our section on search for a bankruptcy court case.  This section will describe how to search for a bankruptcy case regardless of whether you know which court the case is being heard or if you have a case number. 

Search for a Bankruptcy Court Case

To find a bankruptcy court case if you know the court in which it is being heard, refer to the federal court system national website at: and click on the menu bar for "court links".  More detail is available on searching using the federal court system website on our search for a bankruptcy court case page.

To find a bankruptcy court case if you do not know the court in which it is being heard, refer to the PACER court system at: for more information.

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