In re US Airways, Inc.; Case No. 04-13819-SSM; March 27th, 2008
In a chapter 11 case, a debtor that continues in business following confirmation of a plan or reorganization is discharged from all debts arising prior to confirmation. 11 U.S.C. § 1141(d). However, before such a claim can be discharged, creditors must be afforded adequate notice of the bankruptcy case, as well as of the deadline set for filing claims against the debtor. Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Tessler (In re J.A. Jones, Inc.), 492 F.3d 242, 249(4th Cir. 2007).
They type of notice that is required depends on whether a creditor is “known” or “unknown.” Creditors whose identities are actually known to the debtor or are reasonably ascertainable by the debtor are deemed to be “known creditors” and are entitled to actual notice of the bankruptcy filing. An “unknown creditor,” by contrast, is one whose identity or claim is wholly conjectural, or whose interests or whereabouts cannot be determined by the debtor after exercising reasonable diligence. An unknown creditor need not be given actual notice, and constructive notice, such as by newspaper publication, will suffice.
“Reasonable diligence” by the debtor, in attempting to ascertain the identity of its creditors does not require a level of impracticality and does not require a vast, open-ended investigation; rather, the debtor’s search should be concentrated on its own books and records.