National Archives Decision on Case Destruction Could Have Longterm Impacts

The National Archives and Records Center (NARA) has completed an exhaustive review of its collection of federal bankruptcy and US District Court cases and opted to destroy over 10 million bankruptcy and several million additional federal court cases that haven't been digitized but that NARA can no longer afford to store.  So, cases that are here today, will literally be gone tomorrow. Researchers should expect confusion over what has and has not been destroyed as not every case that gets marked for destruction will actually be sent to the shredder.  Likewise, it is inevitable that some cases marked for retention will be destroyed.  We also anticipate a little regional unevenness in terms of what will be getting destroyed.  In other words, since NARA is running out of space, it is likely that regional NARA centers that house records for courts that handle a lot of cases will purge the most cases.  So, the odds of getting a case from Chicago or New York for the years covered by the decision (1970-1995) will probably go down.

As the destruction process is implemented, the procedure for requesting retired cases from NARA will remain the same -- contact the Bankruptcy or US District Court where the case you want was filed and get the accession, box and location number that was assigned.  Call or e-mail NARA with these identifiers and make a request.

Read the AP story on the planned destruction here.