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What bankruptcy filing by Antonio Pierce’s wife really means

The immediate impact of the wife of Antonio Pierce filing for bankruptcy will be to help the couple temporarily pause the legal process of addressing substantial debt resulting from judgments against the Raiders coach, experts said.

“It allows you to take a breath and figure out what’s all there,” said Nancy Rapoport, a distinguished professor at UNLV’s Boyd Law School.

Jocelyn Pierce made the petition this month through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Arizona, where she is listed as a resident, after car dealerships in which her husband had invested in and was listed as a guarantor of loans defaulted on amounts of about $28 million.

Pierce’s filing appears to back up the legal opinion that a slowdown was needed.

“Though the Debtor did not sign any personal guaranty herself — nor was she named in any of the lenders’ suits — the lenders are trying to satisfy their judgments from the assets of the marital community,” the filing states.

“Two of the lenders, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (holding a $23 million judgment) and Hyundai Capital America (holding a $4.5 million judgment), recently attempted to garnish Mr. Pierce’s wages. These garnishment actions forced the Debtor to hurriedly file for bankruptcy relief on June 12, 2024, to protect her assets and those of the marital community.”

Jocelyn Pierce was granted extra time to produce required paperwork to go with her filing because of the quick timeline. Those are due July 12, with a status conference scheduled for July 24 in Phoenix.

In the meantime, the collection attempts will have to wait.

“The idea when you file a case is the Bankruptcy Code creates an automatic stay,” Rapoport said. “It says ‘hold on’ if you’re trying to get stuff out of the debtor or the debtor’s estate. The reason we do that is to stop the race to the courthouse.

“It is as the name implies, automatic. Petition gets filed. Boom. Automatic stay. Now they have to go through the court to get any of her stuff.”

The legal proceedings will now begin to take stock of exactly what is owed and what assets Jocelyn Pierce has, a process that could take a substantial amount of time.

Attorneys from the firm Osborn Maledon, which represents Jocelyn Pierce, did not respond to a request for comment. The Raiders organization has declined to comment on the matter.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is what Jocelyn Pierce claimed in her petition, is frequently called a “reorganization bankruptcy” and is more commonly filed by businesses as it allows for them to continue operating while paying off debt over time. Individuals whose debts exceed statutory limits can also go that route. That could potentially give the Pierces a path to holding on to some assets that might have been liquidated under a Chapter 7 filing.

The amount ultimately paid back in the end will likely come down to the viability of the creditors’ claims and what the Pierces can afford to pay back.

“The filing gives debtors a little breathing room to analyze, ‘What do I have, what do I owe and how do I pay?’” Rapoport said. “If she is wealthy enough that when you take an accounting of all the assets, she can afford to pay 100 cents on the dollar, she’s going to pay that. All she’s done in that case is slowed it down. If she can’t afford it, (the creditors) will get a share of whatever she can pay.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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