A creditor may withdraw a claim as of right by filing a notice of withdrawal, except as provided in this rule. If after a creditor has filed a proof of claim an objection is filed thereto or a complaint is filed against that creditor in an adversary proceeding, or the creditor has accepted or rejected the plan or otherwise has participated significantly in the case, the creditor may not withdraw the claim except on order of the court after a hearing on notice to the trustee or debtor in possession, and any creditors’ committee elected pursuant to §705(a) or appointed pursuant to §1102 of the Code. The order of the court shall contain such terms and conditions as the court deems proper. Unless the court orders otherwise, an authorized withdrawal of a claim shall constitute withdrawal of any related acceptance or rejection of a plan.
(As amended Apr. 30, 1991, eff. Aug. 1, 1991.)
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1983
This rule is derived from former Rules 305 and 10–404.
Since 1938 it has generally been held that Rule 41 F.R.Civ.P. governs the withdrawal of a proof of claim. In re Empire Coal Sales Corp., 45 F. Supp. 974, 976 (S.D.N.Y.), aff’d sub nom. Kleid v. Ruthbell Coal Co., 131 F.2d 372, 373 (2d Cir. 1942); Kelso v. MacLaren, 122 F.2d 867, 870 (8th Cir. 1941); In re Hills, 35 F. Supp. 532, 533 (W.D. Wash. 1940). Accordingly, the cited cases held that after an objection has been filed a proof of claim may be withdrawn only subject to approval by the court. This constitutes a restriction of the right of withdrawal as recognized by some though by no means all of the cases antedating the promulgation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See 3 Collier Bankruptcy, 57.12 (14th ed. 1961); Note, 20 Bost. U. L. Rev. 121 (1940).
The filing of a claim does not commence an adversary proceeding but the filing of an objection to the claim initiates a contest that must be disposed of by the court. This rule recognizes the applicability of the considerations underlying Rule 41(a) F.R.Civ.P. to the withdrawal of a claim after it has been put in issue by an objection. Rule 41(a)(2) F.R.Civ.P. requires leave of court to obtain dismissal over the objection of a defendant who has pleaded a counterclaim prior to the service of the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss. Although the applicability of this provision to the withdrawal of a claim was assumed in Conway v. Union Bank of Switzerland, 204 F.2d 603, 608 (2d Cir. 1953), Kleid v. Ruthbell Coal Co., supra, Kelso v. MacLaren, supra, and In re Hills, supra, this rule vests discretion in the court to grant, deny, or condition the request of a creditor to withdraw, without regard to whether the trustee has filed a merely defensive objection or a complaint seeking an affirmative recovery of money or property from the creditor.
A number of pre-1938 cases sustained denial of a creditor’s request to withdraw proof of claim on the ground of estoppel or election of remedies. 2 Remington, Bankruptcy 186 (Henderson ed. 1956); cf. 3 Collier, supra 57.12, at 201 (1964). Voting a claim for a trustee was an important factor in the denial of a request to withdraw in Standard Varnish Works v. Haydock, 143 Fed. 318, 319–20 (6th Cir. 1906), and In re Cann, 47 F.2d 661, 662 (W.D. Pa. 1931). And it has frequently been recognized that a creditor should not be allowed to withdraw a claim after accepting a dividend. In re Friedmann, 1 Am. B. R. 510, 512 (Ref., S.D.N.Y. 1899); 3 Collier 205 (1964); cf. In re O’Gara Coal Co., 12 F.2d 426, 429 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 271 U.S. 683 (1926). It was held in Industrial Credit Co. v. Hazen, 222 F.2d 225 (8th Cir. 1955), however, that although a claimant had participated in the first meeting of creditors and in the examination of witnesses, the creditor was entitled under Rule 41(a)(1) F.R.Civ.P. to withdraw the claim as of right by filing a notice of withdrawal before the trustee filed an objection under §57g of the Act. While this rule incorporates the post-1938 case law referred to in the first paragraph of this note, it rejects the inference drawn in the Hazen case that Rule 41(a) F.R.Civ.P. supersedes the pre-1938 case law that vests discretion in the court to deny or restrict withdrawal of a claim by a creditor on the ground of estoppel or election of remedies. While purely formal or technical participation in a case by a creditor who has filed a claim should not deprive the creditor of the right to withdraw the claim, a creditor who has accepted a dividend or who has voted in the election of a trustee or otherwise participated actively in proceedings in a case should be permitted to withdraw only with the approval of the court on terms it deems appropriate after notice to the trustee. 3 Collier 205–06 (1964).
Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1991 Amendment
This amendment is stylistic. Notice of the hearing need not be given to committees of equity security holders appointed pursuant to §1102 or committees of retired employees appointed pursuant to §1114 of the Code.