A customer walks into a Circuit City store in Chicago. The nation's second-largest consumer electronics retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 10 and plans to close 155 of its stores and cut 17% of its workforce
CHRIS USHER FOR TIME
A VIEW FROM THE BENCH: Judge A. Jay Cristol, the colorful, outspoken chief U.S. bankruptcy judge in Miami sympathizes with the people who appear before him. "Day after day, we see decent, honest, hardworking people who have suffered one type or another of financial misfortune," says Cristol. "We also occasionally see the person trying to perpetrate a fraud. But in most instances the system deals with them. The problem is not in the evil debtors. It's in the stupidity of lending to people who are not creditworthy."
Spencer Platt / Getty
Traffic passes the Lehman Brothers building September 15, 2008 in New York City. Lehman Brothers filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after attempts to rescue the storied financial firm failed.
Has your credit card made you broke? Better declare bankruptcy now
Justin Sullivan / Getty
As the economy continues to falter, Circuit City, the nation's second largest consumer-electronics retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close 155 of its stores and cut 17% of its workforce
STEVE WEWERKA FOR TIME
Divorced after 18 years, Martha Pouliot moved into a mobile home in
Minnesota with her two sons. An office administrator, she
couldn't pay the bills. In March she filed for bankruptcy,
$16,000 in debt
AP / Brian Blanco
FILE - In this Monday, March 4, 2013 file photo, Casey Anthony leaves the federal courthouse in Tampa, Fla., after a bankruptcy hearing.
Bebeto Matthews / AP
Air America radio host Al Franken is seen during a news conference in New York. Air America Radio, a progressive radio network founded in April 2004 that once aired commentary from Franken and Rachel Maddow, ceased operations Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, and will soon file to be liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Franken, who is now a U.S. Senator, hosted his show until 2007
STEVE LISS FOR TIME
After 13 years with a Fayetteville, Ark., law firm, Marilynn Curry lost
her job as a secretary. The single mother found another job, but
it pays $15,000 less. Now she's in bankruptcy court
David Goldman / Getty Images
People enter the Manhattan U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City
BURK UZZLE FOR TIME
Charles and Lisa Trapp met as mail carriers in Plantation, Fla.
When Annelise, 8, developed a muscular disorder, she needed
round-the-clock nursing care. Lisa had to quit her job. With
$124,000 in doctor bills that insurance won't cover, paying off
credit cards is the least of their worries. They've filed for
Chapter 7 bankruptcy
Seth Wenig / AP
Hoping for a fresh beginning, debtors and creditors line up at a bankruptcy court in New York City.
James Leynse / Corbis
Employees of Lehman Brothers exit the company headquarters in midtown Manhattan on the day that the company filed for bankruptcy