Area on course to top 10,000 bankruptcies in year


U.S. Bankruptcy Court officials in Toledo have known for some time that 2003 is likely to be a record year for filings in the 21-county northwest Ohio area, perhaps topping 10,000 cases for the first time.

Now, based on August filings, it appears as many as 10,500 bankruptcies could be filed this year, up nearly 19 percent from the previous record of 8,853, set last year, said David Fickel, clerk in charge of the Toledo Bankruptcy Court.

The court received 891 new bankruptcy petitions last month, up 12 percent from 794 in the same month a year earlier, figures released yesterday show.

“This represents an unprecedented period of six months in a row with filings in excess of 850 cases,” said Mr. Fickel. “Recently, we have experienced six of the eight highest-volume months on record in the Toledo Bankruptcy Court.”

Filings through the first eight months of 2003 equal the third busiest year for bankruptcies, with four months remaining, he added. So far, the bankruptcy petitions are blamed on several factors, including high consumer debt, job losses, divorces, and medical bills.

Through August, the bankruptcy court processed 6,301 Chapter 7 liquidation cases, up 18 percent from a year ago; eight Chapter 11 reorganizations, down from 11 in the first eight months of 2002; three Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies, compared with none a year ago, and 598 Chapter 13 wage-earner repayment plans, up 35 percent.