Case Number, What Does It Mean?
When a bankruptcy case is filed, the clerk’s office starts an electronic docket to record all activity in the case and assigns the bankruptcy case a unique case number (combination of letters and numbers). Sometimes the Clerk’s Office will use a longer sequence of numbers and letters, and sometimes the clerk’s office will use a shorter sequence. A debtor, trustee, and other parties should use only the shorter sequence.
A) Shortened Number of a Bankruptcy Case – A debtor, trustee, and other parties should use a shortened number when filing subsequent documents such as amended forms, motions, responses, adversary proceedings, proofs of claim, etc. The shortened number contains only the division, the year the bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding was filed, the five digit number of the bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding, and the two letters for the judge assigned to the case. When the court prepares orders after a judge makes a ruling, the shortened number will be found on the first page of the order. An example of a Shortened Number is 2:12-98751-VZ – This means that the bankruptcy case was filed in the Los Angeles Division in 2012 and was assigned to the Honorable Vincent Zurzolo.
B) Complete Number of a Bankruptcy Case - The Complete Number is inserted by the clerk’s office on the electronic docket, the Notice of Bankruptcy Case, and Notice of Electronic Filing (“NEF”) receipts that CM/ECF users receive when a document is filed on the electronic docket. A complete bankruptcy case number consists of the court division in which the case was filed, the year of filing, the type of case, five additional digits, and the initials of the judge assigned to the case. An example of a Complete Number is: 2:11-BK-12345-SK, which indicates that the case was filed in the Los Angeles Division in 2011, is a bankruptcy case (not an adversary proceeding), is number 12345 in that year’s sequence, and is assigned to the Honorable Sandra R. Klein.