Private citizen claims brought under the Private Attorney General Act are not exempt from the automatic stay in bankruptcy. A private citizen’s suit under PAGA for statutory penalties payable to the state for non-payment of minimum wages or other Labor Code violations is not a government enforcement action that is exempt from the automatic stay in bankruptcy. To fall within the exemption, the government enforcement action must be brought by a governmental unit. Qui tam suits and PAGA suits do not qualify since, absent government intervention, they are brought by private citizens, not governmental units.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Clifton, J.); April 20, 2017; 2017 WL 1404392