Former Bears safety Dave Duerson, who filed bankruptcy in September, recently committed suicide according to reports.
Duerson reportedly faced $14.7 million in liabilities, according to the bankruptcy filings. He also claimed $34.6 million in assets, but that was almost exclusively from a judgment in a 2004 lawsuit by his company, Duerson Foods. The judgment still remains uncollected.
Duerson’s ex-wife has accused him of concealing certain assets, failing to list, for example, his two Super Bowl rings and his trophy for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1987, as UPI reports. His bankruptcy lawyer told the Tribune that those had been donated to the Dave Duerson Foundation, and were set to be displayed in a sports hall of fame.
So what will happen to Duerson’s bankruptcy case? It will continue. When a debtor dies during bankruptcy, their bankruptcy case continues so that the court can resolve the case and distribute payments to creditors. If a debtor was in a Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy , the case is likely to be converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
The outstanding disputes in this bankruptcy case will still need resolution, including the accusations that the deceased bankruptcy debtor was hiding assets. The bankruptcy trustee will also have the power to file lawsuits on behalf of the bankruptcy estate to recover assets such as the unpaid judgment worth $34.6 million. The bankruptcy attorney in the case can still fight adversary complaints and continue to work the case. Also, next of kin such as a spouse, may be able to step in and testify at any hearing on behalf of the deceased debtor.