All bankruptcy debtors with cases filed in the Northern District of Georgia from Catoosa, Dade, and Walker Counties will have their 341 Meeting of Creditors heard at The Colonnade Center in Ringgold, GA.
All Confirmation Hearings for cases filed in Northwest Georgia are heard at the Federal Building in Rome, GA. In most cases, debtors are not required to attend their confirmation hearings because most issues get worked out before the hearing takes place.
Many debtors who live in Catoosa and Walker Counties believe that they can legally file their bankruptcy cases in Chattanooga because many Tennessee law firms market themselves in these areas. The truth is that many Georgia debtors may be able to get away with filing their bankruptcy cases in Tennessee as long as no creditor in their case files an objection.
Forum shopping is not allowed according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, if no creditor objects to the case, debtors who live near Chattanooga can go forum shopping between Georgia and Tennessee. While Tennessee may have no problem ignoring the rules, Georgia will not accept Tennessee debtors.
The reason I believe that it is a bad idea for any GA bankruptcy debtor to file their case in Tennessee is because if a creditor files an objection to the venue and cites Thompson vs. Greenwood, the case will be transferred to Georgia. I wonder how many Tennessee bankruptcy attorneys warn their Georgia clients about this possibility before their case is filed?
Filing a bankruptcy case in Chattanooga and then having it transferred to Georgia can spell disaster for some debtors. For example, in Chattanooga, debtors pay their mortgage payment through the Chapter 13 plan. In many cases a significant portion of the first Chapter 13 plan payments are used for administrative costs and attorney fees. In contrast, mortgage payments are not paid through the Chapter 13 plan in GA. Thus, if a case gets transferred to GA because of some creditor objection, the debtor will now discover that they are behind on their mortgage payments.
I believe that it is always best to play by the rules. If you live in Georgia, file your bankruptcy case in Georgia.