Deborah J. Caruso

Indiana Trustee and Bankruptcy Attorney

Partner Deborah Caruso practices in the areas of bankruptcy, debtors and creditors’ rights, court supervised receiverships, and commercial litigation. She has 37 years of experience representing and advising individuals, businesses, bankruptcy trustees, and court appointed receivers in Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy cases, out of court debt restructuring, receivership actions, and litigation matters.

Ms. Caruso is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy panel trustee for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, where she has served since 1997.  Recently, she was appointed as the trustee in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases of ITT Educational Services, Inc. and its affiliates.  To date, the ITT case is the largest Chapter 7 case filed in Indiana.   Ms. Caruso is over-seeing the liquidation of $100 million of assets, $140 million in benefit plans, along with numerous large litigation matters.

Ms. Caruso’s clients include individuals and small family businesses attempting to reorganize business debt in or outside of a bankruptcy case, large businesses filing Chapter 11, creditors involved in debt reorganization or bankruptcy cases, bankruptcy trustees, court appointed receivers and parties in commercial litigation.  Ms. Caruso has successfully reorganized small family businesses and unraveled complex multi-million-dollar Ponzi schemes.

How I Help

Effectively representing bankruptcy trustees, receivers, creditors, and business related debtors, requires not only an experienced legal skill set, but also the ability to see the big picture to help clients get to effective solutions. This “big picture” ability is especially critical today, as most litigation matters are costly and ultimately are resolved outside of the courtroom and not through trial. If settlement is not possible, Ms. Caruso has tried complex bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters.
I offer clients the dedication and experience developed over more than 35 years of legal practice. By helping clients better understand the big picture and the range of outcomes for their matter, and by employing creative problem-solving and tenacious representation, clients are better able to make informed decisions about their matter so that their objectives can be effectively pursued.

  • ITT Educational Services, Inc. and subsidiaries. Caruso was appointed Chapter 7 Trustee over ITT Educational Services and its subsidiaries.  Ms. Caruso is administering $100 million of assets, $140 million in various benefit plans, over-seeing numerous complex litigation cases and working with state and federal regulatory agencies concerning issues involving student records and educational loans.
  • In re 5 Star Investment Group, LLC. Caruso represents a Chapter 11 Trustee in a large Chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving a $25 million real estate investment scheme sold primarily to Amish people in Northern Indiana.
  • Indiana Securities Commissioner v. CFS, LLC, et. al. Caruso represents a state court receiver in a complex securities fraud case pending in Hamilton County Indiana.  The case involves the sale of over $10 million in fractional interests to the elderly in connection with a Medicaid planning scheme.
  • Fred Meyer, Jr. vs. Ansure Morturiaries of Indiana, LLC. Caruso represented an out-of-state buyer who purchased numerous cemeteries that were involved in a state court receivership involving the pilfering of over $25 million from cemetery burial trust funds.  The sale resulted in the trust funds being fully replenished and the continued operation of the cemeteries.
  • I re. Thomas and Patsy Gibson. Caruso represented the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in a case involving a billion dollar check kiting scheme, causing the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to primarily small cattle dealers throughout the Country.  The Trustee collected in excess of $3 million and was involved in returning an additional $4.2 million to victims.
  • In re Integra Bank Corporation. Caruso was appointed the Chapter 7 trustee over Integra bank, one of Indiana’s oldest bank that was closed by the FDIC during the Great Recession.
  • In re Champ Car World Series, LLC.  Caruso was appointed the Chapter 7 trustee for Champ Car, an open wheel world series racing league, primarily associated with the Indy 500.  Ms. Caryso supervised the liquidation of the Champ Car assets, collecting approximately $8.7 million. .  She is a frequent lecturer for ICLEF, the Indiana State Bar Association, and the Indianapolis Bar Association on bankruptcy and other matters.

She has been widely recognized for her legal abilities, and her awards and recognitions include being named a Fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation, a Distinguished Fellow of the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA), and President of the ISBA.  She has also been named as an Indiana Super Lawyer for each year since 2006 and included on the list of Top 25 Indiana Female Super Lawyers and Top 50 Indiana Super Lawyers for 2018.  She additionally has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America (most recently for 2018).

  • 2017 IBJ Women of Influence
  • Fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation
  • Distinguished Fellow of the Indiana State Bar Association
  • Former Counsel to the President of the Indiana State Bar Association
  • Former Counsel to the President for the Indianapolis Bar Association
  • Lecturer and Published Author for American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Frequent Lecturer for ICLEF
  • Editorial Board for the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees Magazine
  • Seminar Chair for the Annual ICLEF Advanced Consumer Roundtable
  • Named as an Indiana Super Lawyer for each year since 2006
  • Included on the list of Top 25 Indiana Female Super Lawyers and Top 50 Indiana Super Lawyers, most recently in 2018
  • Administering LLC Interests in Bankruptcy, ABI, 25th Annual Central States Workshop (2018)
  • Arising Claims and Secret Liens: Dealing with the Maze of Personal Property Taxes in Bankruptcy, American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, June 2018 Vol. XXXVII, No. 7
  • Extraterritorial Application of Chapter 5 Avoidance Statutes, Sigmund J. Beck Advanced Bankruptcy Roundtable (2018)
  • Where Did the Bankruptcy judge Go: Post Sale Jurisdication?, Sigmund J. Beck Advanced Bankruptcy Roundtable (2018)
  • Class Claims in Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy rule 7023, Sigmund J. Beck Advanced Bankruptcy Roundtable (2018)
  • Exemptions:  Selected Recent Developments in the Law, Neil Shook Advanced Consumer Roundtable (2018)
  • WARN Act Claims in Chapter 7 Cases, 2017 Steven H. Ancel Annual Bankruptcy Institute
  • LLC Interests and Bankruptcy: The Trustee’s Ability to Operate or Liquidate the LLC and Other Recent Developments, Indianapolis Bar Association (2015) Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Roundtable (2015)
  • The Advantages of a Short Sale In Bankruptcy: Is The Debtor Entitled To An Exemption?, Indianapolis, Bar Association 2015 Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Round Table (2015)
  • Application of Collateral Estoppel In Section 523(a) Dischargeability Proceedings, Indianapolis Bar Association 2015 Advanced Consumer Bankruptcy Roundtable (2015)
  • Conversion From Chapter 11 or Dismissal, ICLEF Annual Bankruptcy Institute (2015)
  • “It Aint’s Over Till It’s Over”: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Denial of a Debtor’s Effort to Automatically Appeal Denial of Plan Confirmation”, Sigmund J. Beck Bankruptcy Roundtable – the Master Series (2015)
  • Credit Bidding After Radlax: Limiting Credit Bids of Loan-to-Own Creditors And in Re Adkins Corp., Sigmund J. Beck Bankruptcy Roundtable – The Masters Series (2015)
  • Wasting D&O Policies: Are They Property of the Bankruptcy Estate?: Can the Stay Be Lifted to Fund Defense Cost?; Should the Bankruptcy Court Police the Amount of Distributions to Pay Defense costs?, Sigmund J. Beck Bankruptcy Roundtable – The Masters Series (2015)
  • Exemptions And Property Of The Estate:  Selected Current Developments, ABI, 21st Annual Central States Bankruptcy Workshop (2014)
  • The Mechanics Of Real Estate Sales in Bankruptcy and Receiverships, ICLEF (2013)
  • Absolute-Priority Rule Dead or Alive:  Applicability of the Absolute Priority Rule to Individual Chapter 11 Debtors, Indianapolis Bar Association (2012)
  • Damages for Contempt Violations of Automatic Stay and Discharge Injunction, Indianapolis Bar Association. (2012)
  • How to Get Engaged and Paid Using Flat Fee Agreements, Indianapolis Bar Association (2012)
  • The Impact of Bankruptcy on Owners of Jointly Held Property: § 363(h) Sales of Co-Owned Property, Indianapolis Bar Association (2011)
  • The Challenges of Representing the Complex Individual Debtor, Indianapolis Bar Association (2011)
  • LLC Interests and Bankruptcy The Trustees Ability to Operate or Liquidate the LLC and Other Recent Developments, Indianapolis Bar Association (2011)
  • Produce the Note Defense: Does the Structure of MERS Allow for a Trustee to Potentially Avoid the Assigned Mortgage?, Indianapolis Bar Association (2010)
  • Options for Creditors of Non-Consumer Debtors: Conversion under § 706(b) or Dismissal under § 707(a), Indianapolis Bar Association (2010)
  • Is Exemption of Life Insurance Available Where Beneficiary is a Non-Dependent Spouse or Child?, Indianapolis Bar Association (2010)
  • Professional Earnings: Are the Debtor’s Rights to Future Payments Exempt from Property of the Bankruptcy Estate under § 541 (a)(6)?, Indianapolis Bar Association (2010)
  • Prebankruptcy Exemption Planning· The Pitfalls of Advising the Debtor Client-How Far is too Far, Indianapolis Bar Association (2009)
  • Judicial Estoppel: Debtor’s Failure to Schedule a Cause of Action May Be Fatal to the Trustee’s Future Pursuit and Recovery, Indianapolis Bar Association (2009)
  • Which Trusts are Excluded from the Estate?: A Review of the Law of Spendthrift Trusts in Indiana and Other States and the Application of Section 541, Indianapolis Bar Association (2009)
  • In Pari Delicto Defense May or May Not Bar A Trustee’s Claim: An Update on the Application of the In Pari Delicto Defense Against a Trustees’ Claim, Indianapolis Bar Association (2009)
  • Trustee’s Rights to Search & Seizure, Indianapolis Bar Association (2008)
  • Spoliation of Electronic Evidence – Attorney’s Duties, Indianapolis Bar Association (2008)
  • Non-Compete and Personal Services Contracts – Property of the Estate, Indianapolis Bar Association (2008)
  • Exemption of Out-Of-State Property Held as Husband and Wife, Indianapolis Bar Association (2008)

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking the way you do it.

Maya Angelou
  • J.D., cum laude, Indiana University Law School, Indianapolis (1981)
  • A.B., cum laude, Indiana University (1978)
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Chapter 7 Panel Trustee for Region 10
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Chapter 7 Panel Trustee for Region 10
  • American Bar Association
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • Indianapolis Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees