An Adversary Proceeding is Different From the Main Bankruptcy Case - The main bankruptcy case involves a debtor and the creditors of that debtor, and the main bankruptcy case has its own separate electronic docket and case number. An "Adversary Proceeding" in bankruptcy court has the same meaning as a lawsuit in other courts. This means that one or more "plaintiff(s)" file a "complaint" against one or more "defendant(s)." In many situations an adversary proceeding is required if a plaintiff wants to obtain a particular type of relief. Consult Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure Rule 7001 to determine if a particular type of relief requires an adversary proceeding.
When an adversary proceeding is commenced, the clerk's office starts a separate electronic docket to record all activity in the adversary proceeding. Each adversary proceeding has its own "adversary number" which can be found on the first page of the complaint, right below the main bankruptcy case number. An example is 2:AP:12-01501-VZ. This means an adversary proceeding (AP) filed in the Los Angeles division in calendar year 2012 and assigned to the Judge Vincent Zurzolo. After an adversary complaint is filed, the defendant has a specific deadline to file and serve a written response to the complaint, and then a series of pre-trial hearings/conferences take place until the lawsuit is settled, dismissed, or goes to trial.