11 U.S.C. § 303 : US Code - Section 303: Involuntary cases

      (a) An involuntary case may be commenced only under chapter 7 or
    11 of this title, and only against a person, except a farmer,
    family farmer, or a corporation that is not a moneyed, business, or
    commercial corporation, that may be a debtor under the chapter
    under which such case is commenced.
      (b) An involuntary case against a person is commenced by the
    filing with the bankruptcy court of a petition under chapter 7 or
    11 of this title - 
        (1) by three or more entities, each of which is either a holder
      of a claim against such person that is not contingent as to
      liability or the subject of a bona fide dispute as to liability
      or amount, or an indenture trustee representing such a holder, if
      such noncontingent, undisputed claims aggregate at least $10,000
      more than the value of any lien on property of the debtor
      securing such claims held by the holders of such claims;
        (2) if there are fewer than 12 such holders, excluding any
      employee or insider of such person and any transferee of a
      transfer that is voidable under section 544, 545, 547, 548, 549,
      or 724(a) of this title, by one or more of such holders that hold
      in the aggregate at least $10,000 of such claims;
        (3) if such person is a partnership - 
          (A) by fewer than all of the general partners in such
        partnership; or
          (B) if relief has been ordered under this title with respect
        to all of the general partners in such partnership, by a
        general partner in such partnership, the trustee of such a
        general partner, or a holder of a claim against such
        partnership; or

        (4) by a foreign representative of the estate in a foreign
      proceeding concerning such person.

      (c) After the filing of a petition under this section but before
    the case is dismissed or relief is ordered, a creditor holding an
    unsecured claim that is not contingent, other than a creditor
    filing under subsection (b) of this section, may join in the
    petition with the same effect as if such joining creditor were a
    petitioning creditor under subsection (b) of this section.
      (d) The debtor, or a general partner in a partnership debtor that
    did not join in the petition, may file an answer to a petition
    under this section.
      (e) After notice and a hearing, and for cause, the court may
    require the petitioners under this section to file a bond to
    indemnify the debtor for such amounts as the court may later allow
    under subsection (i) of this section.
      (f) Notwithstanding section 363 of this title, except to the
    extent that the court orders otherwise, and until an order for
    relief in the case, any business of the debtor may continue to
    operate, and the debtor may continue to use, acquire, or dispose of
    property as if an involuntary case concerning the debtor had not
    been commenced.
      (g) At any time after the commencement of an involuntary case
    under chapter 7 of this title but before an order for relief in the
    case, the court, on request of a party in interest, after notice to
    the debtor and a hearing, and if necessary to preserve the property
    of the estate or to prevent loss to the estate, may order the
    United States trustee to appoint an interim trustee under section
    701 of this title to take possession of the property of the estate
    and to operate any business of the debtor. Before an order for
    relief, the debtor may regain possession of property in the
    possession of a trustee ordered appointed under this subsection if
    the debtor files such bond as the court requires, conditioned on
    the debtor's accounting for and delivering to the trustee, if there
    is an order for relief in the case, such property, or the value, as
    of the date the debtor regains possession, of such property.
      (h) If the petition is not timely controverted, the court shall
    order relief against the debtor in an involuntary case under the
    chapter under which the petition was filed. Otherwise, after trial,
    the court shall order relief against the debtor in an involuntary
    case under the chapter under which the petition was filed, only if -
     
        (1) the debtor is generally not paying such debtor's debts as
      such debts become due unless such debts are the subject of a bona
      fide dispute as to liability or amount; or
        (2) within 120 days before the date of the filing of the
      petition, a custodian, other than a trustee, receiver, or agent
      appointed or authorized to take charge of less than substantially
      all of the property of the debtor for the purpose of enforcing a
      lien against such property, was appointed or took possession.

      (i) If the court dismisses a petition under this section other
    than on consent of all petitioners and the debtor, and if the
    debtor does not waive the right to judgment under this subsection,
    the court may grant judgment - 
        (1) against the petitioners and in favor of the debtor for - 
          (A) costs; or
          (B) a reasonable attorney's fee; or

        (2) against any petitioner that filed the petition in bad
      faith, for - 
          (A) any damages proximately caused by such filing; or
          (B) punitive damages.

      (j) Only after notice to all creditors and a hearing may the
    court dismiss a petition filed under this section - 
        (1) on the motion of a petitioner;
        (2) on consent of all petitioners and the debtor; or
        (3) for want of prosecution.

      (k)(1) If - 
        (A) the petition under this section is false or contains any
      materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement;
        (B) the debtor is an individual; and
        (C) the court dismisses such petition,

    the court, upon the motion of the debtor, shall seal all the
    records of the court relating to such petition, and all references
    to such petition.
      (2) If the debtor is an individual and the court dismisses a
    petition under this section, the court may enter an order
    prohibiting all consumer reporting agencies (as defined in section
    603(f) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a(f))) from
    making any consumer report (as defined in section 603(d) of that
    Act) that contains any information relating to such petition or to
    the case commenced by the filing of such petition.
      (3) Upon the expiration of the statute of limitations described
    in section 3282 of title 18, for a violation of section 152 or 157
    of such title, the court, upon the motion of the debtor and for
    good cause, may expunge any records relating to a petition filed
    under this section.