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Published: Tuesday, 11/1/2005

October s area bankruptcy total rises to 5,540

October s final numbers are in and, as reported previously, filings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Toledo soared to new heights 5,540 cases, a record unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.

The avalanche of filings, fueled by 5,300 submitted before bankruptcy law changes took effect Oct. 17, was more than twice the filings in September, five times higher than those of October a year ago and surpassed the number of cases filed in the entire year of 2000.

So far this year, total filings are 16,756, giving 2005 the most on record by more than 6,000 cases with two months still to go. No month had exceeded 3,000 filings before October.

The bulk of the filings last month were Chapter 7 personal bankruptcies, which are up 92 percent this year. Chapter 13 repayment plan cases so far total 1,081, an increase of 17 percent over last year.

Toledo bankruptcy lawyer Lucinda Weller said that after Oct. 17 she declined to take any appointments.

We have not filed any new [cases]. We are planning to soon because we have clients in various stages of getting ready some are doing credit counseling, others are getting necessary documents together, Ms. Weller said.

I haven t actually been able to talk to anyone who has filed a [new case] yet, she said.

The reforms hold attorneys more responsible for the truthfulness of information that their clients present to the court. As a result, new cases involve a lengthier interview process and more thorough questioning about household goods, income, assets, and previous tax returns.

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