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Instructions for Retrieving Copies of Closed Case Files

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The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Central Plains Region facility, serves as the storage facility for the majority of the court's closed case files. General bankruptcy case files are retained by the court for 15 years. Currently, most of the 1970-1995 bankruptcy case files have been destroyed in accordance with the approved records disposition authority (N1-578-11-001, in accordance with 44 USC § 3303).

To request copies of court records stored at the archives center, you will first need to obtain Federal Records Center (FRC) information from the bankruptcy court where the case was filed and closed. NARA will not be able to locate the requested case files without the following information: transfer (accession) number, location number, box number, case name and case number. An archive retrieval fee is required for the court to request the archived case file from NARA. The fee is $64.00 for the first box and $39.00 for each additional box.

Access information is not available over the phone. Before staff of the clerk's office can retrieve the requested "access information," a $32.00 search fee per case must be paid to the court. Payment of search fees must be made in the form of a certified check, money order, exact cash (the White Plains and Poughkeepsie offices do not accept cash) or attorney's check. Personal checks cannot be accepted. Attorneys' checks, certified checks and money orders should be made payable to "Clerk, USBC, SDNY."

You can obtain FRC information from the court by mailing your request to the court. In order to expedite your request, be sure to provide the court with as much information as possible about the case, such as, debtor's name, case number, date filed, and social security number or tax identification number. When mailing your request, be sure to enclose payment of the $32.00 fee in the form of a money order, certified check or attorney's check (please do not send cash through the mail). Where the information is urgently needed in an emergency situation, please contact the clerk's office via telephone at (212) 668-2870.

Once you obtain the requested information from the Bankruptcy Court, you are prepared to make your request for copies of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The form used to make such a request is available through NARA’s website at Follow the instructions provided by NARA so that NARA personnel can send you the requested copies.

The cost for copies varies. For the list of options and the associated costs, please refer to the NARA's website at (see "Step 2" under Bankruptcy Case Files -- Access).