Tag Archives: Automatic Stay

If I Do Not Pay My Property Tax Will The County Take My Property?

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If you do not pay your property taxes for quite a few years your county can conduct a tax lien sale to sell your house out from under you to pay back the unpaid property taxes. When does a property owners’ legal and equitable interests in their property terminate so that filing for bankruptcy protection cannot stop a tax lien sale in California? To ask the question a different way, when can a homeowner file bankruptcy and stop the tax lien sale of their home? This article will focus on California property tax law and how real property can be sold to pay unpaid property taxes.

California Property Tax Law

In California real property taxes (land) are secured by and serve as a lien on the real property for which they are assessed. Property taxes that are secured that remain not paid at the end of the fiscal year (June 30 of each year) are deemed to be in default. See California Revenue and Tax Code Section 3436. For residential properties if the property taxes are defaulted and not paid for five years then the county has the right to satisfy the outstanding defaulted taxes by selling the property at a tax lien sale. See California Revenue and Tax Code Section 3691. For a nonresidential commercial property only three years has to go by before the county and sell the real property. The real property will be sold at public auction, which now includes the internet, to the highest bidder.

Homeowners that are behind on their property taxes have a right to redeem the property by paying all prior defaulted taxes in full with penalties, costs and fees. When does the right to redeem terminate? California Tax and Revenue Code Section 3707 governs termination of the redemption period. Section 3707(a)(1) provides the right of redemption terminates at the close of business on the last business day prior to the date of the sale. After the tax lien sale is determined or deemed complete a homeowner’s right to redeem the tax defaulted real property cannot be revived under California Tax and Revenue code Section 3707. After the tax lien sale is completed the county tax collector will execute a deed to the purchaser. This tax deed will convey title to the purchaser free of all encumbrances (loans or other liens) of any kind existing before the sale.

What Is California Law Regarding Voluntary and Involuntary Foreclosure Sales?

This question can is answered by looking further at California law as it relates to the Bankruptcy Code. As soon as a bankruptcy petition is filed the automatic stay takes effect stopping any and all collection activity including tax liens sales if the bankruptcy filer still has the right to redeem the property. Section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code governs what is property of the bankruptcy estate upon the filing of a petition for relief. A bankruptcy filers right to redeem their real property is a distinct property right from the bankruptcy filers legal and equitable interests in the real property. See Harsh Inv. Corp. v. Bialac (In re Bialac), 712 F.2d 426, 431 (9th Cir. 1983). Section 541 provides the definition of property of the bankruptcy estate is very broad. The California Tax and Revenue Code says that legal title to a tax defaulted real property will transfer after the tax sale with the recording of a tax deed by the tax collector. California Tax and Revenue Code unfortunately does not provide when equitable title to the tax defaulted real property transfers to the purchaser during the tax lien sale process.

In an ordinary non-tax lien sale of a piece of real property to a third party under California law provides the transfer of legal title at the time of execution of the contract of sale, the grantee acquires an equitable title to the estate being sold and the person selling the property, the grantor, retains the legal title as security for the purchase price. The legal title passes to the purchaser, grantee, at the time of their completion of the conditions precedent…..

In an involuntary sale like a foreclosure sale equitable title under California law is transferred to the purchaser at the foreclosure auction with acceptance of the highest bid and at the time a trustee’s sale is completed. See In re Richter, 525 B.R. 735, 745 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 2015) (citing Nguyen v. Calhoun, 105 Cal. App. 4th 428, 441 (Cal. Ct. App. 2003). These cases provide the trustee’s sales is completed upon acceptance of the highest bid. Legal title remains with the owner or debtor and if the owner/debtor files for bankruptcy protection after the foreclosure sale there are grounds to not allow the bankruptcy to stop or stay the foreclosure sale process to allow the equitable owner to obtain legal title to the foreclosed real property. Bankruptcy attorneys have to find out the exact sequence of events to determine the debtor’s legal rights at the time the bankruptcy case is filed.

At What Point Can A Homeowner File Bankruptcy But Not Stop the Tax Lien Sale?

So, at what point can a homeowner file bankruptcy but it will not stop the tax lien sale? The Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel on February 3, 2017, published an opinion, In re RW Meridian, LLC; BAP Case No. SC-16-1227-JuFY, that addresses this question. The bankruptcy petition has to be filed prior to the tax lien sale being completed.

The 9th Cir. BAP held that the bankruptcy filer was not divested (lost) of its legal or equitable interests in the underlying real property by operation of law upon the expiration of the bankruptcy filers right to redeem the real property under California law. The Court further held t6hat before a bankruptcy filer (debtor’s) equitable interests in the real property could transfer the tax lien sale process requires the taxing collector to hold an auction, and at the very least accept the highest bid, or at most, the tax collector receive the purchase price before the sale can be considered “complete.” California Tax and Revenue Code Section 3707(c) says that a tax sale is not complete until the purchase price has been paid in full which is a later point in time than in a foreclosure sale when it is acceptance of the highest bid which passes equitable title.

SO, if the auction or there is no acceptance of the highest bid before the bankruptcy petition is filed the tax lien sale was not completed and the bankruptcy filer can stop the tax lien sale. In the RW Meridian, LLC, bankruptcy case the Ninth Cir. BAP held neither the auction or acceptance of the highest bid took place prior to the property owner filing for bankruptcy protection. There was no transfer of the debtors/bankruptcy filers legal or equitable interests in the real property prior to filing the bankruptcy petition by the owners bankruptcy lawyer. The 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel held that there are no provisions of the California Tax and Revenue Code about tax lien sales provides that the expiration of the right to redeem prevents a bankruptcy filer of their equitable or legal interests in the real property upon filing of bankruptcy protection.
The key to all of this is that the alleged tax lien sale took place after the real property owner filed for bankruptcy protection.

County Argued Ministerial Acts Exception to The Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

Given the 9th Cir. BAP concluded the bankruptcy filer had equitable and legal interests in the real property the tax collector county violated the automatic stay that took effect when the bankruptcy case was filed. The county tax collector argues the postpetition sale of the real property falls within the narrow ministerial exception to the automatic stay. The Ministerial Acts exception says the automatic stay does not prohibit ministerial acts or automatic occurrences that entail no deliberate, discretion or judicial involvement on the part of the actor. See McCarthy, Johnson & Miller v. N. Bay Plumbing, Inc. (In re Pettit), 217 F.3d 1072, 1080 (9th Cir. 2000). The Ministerial Acts exception can apply to the simple recording of a tax deed after a tax lien sale was completed after a bankruptcy petition is filed. Completing the actual tax lien sale process by accepting the highest bid is not a ministerial act.

If The Person or Company I Sued Filed Bankruptcy Can I Continue My State Court Lawsuit?

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The greatest grant of power to the bankruptcy court is the automatic stay stopping any and all collection activity including lawsuits. As soon as the petition for bankruptcy is filed the automatic stay takes effect. Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code governs the automatic stay and relief from the automatic stay to continue collection activity with the bankruptcy court’s permission. So what circumstances need to exist to obtain relief from the automatic stay and continue prosecution of a state court lawsuit?

What Is The Automatic Stay?

The automatic stay among other things, prohibits creditors from continuing to prosecute prepetition litigation against the bankruptcy filer. § 362(a)(1); see also In re Conejo Enterprises, Inc., 96 F.3d at 351. This aspect of the automatic stay protects both the debtor and the debtor’s creditors. The entire point is to not allow one creditor to continue collection to the detriment of another creditor. The assets of the bankruptcy filer, once a case is filed, if any assets, are to be distributed equally to creditors at the time the case is filed.

Grounds For Relief From The Automatic Stay To Continue State Court Lawsuit

This issue arises quite a bit under many different circumstances. The most common lawsuit that exists at the time a bankruptcy case is filed is breach of contract lawsuits. Rarely will a breach of contract case satisfy the requirements for relief from stay to continue. Relief from the automatic stay can be obtained for “cause.” The Bankruptcy Code unfortunately does not define what “cause” is though. Courts have had to interpret circumstances and create factors to evaluate. The Ninth Circuit uses the Curtis factors. See In re Curtis, 40 B.R. 795, 799–800 (Bankr. D. Utah 1984).

The Curtis factors consist of the following twelve nonexclusive factors:

(1) Whether the relief will result in a partial or complete resolution of the issues;
(2) The lack of any connection with or interference with the bankruptcy case;
(3) Whether the foreign proceeding involves the debtor as a fiduciary;
(4) Whether a specialized tribunal has been established to hear the particular cause of action and whether that tribunal has the expertise to hear such cases;
(5) Whether the debtor’s insurance carrier has assumed full financial responsibility for defending the litigation;
(6) Whether the action essentially involves third parties, and the debtor functions only as a bailee or conduit for the goods or proceeds in question;
(7) Whether the litigation in another forum would prejudice the interests of other creditors, the creditors’ committee and other interested parties;
(8) Whether the judgment claim arising from the foreign action is subject to equitable subordination under Section 510(c);
(9) Whether movant’s success in the foreign proceeding would result in a judicial lien avoidable by the debtor under Section 522(f);
(10) The interests of judicial economy and the expeditious and economical determination of litigation for the parties;
(11) Whether the foreign proceedings have progressed to the point where the parties are prepared for trial, and
(12) The impact of the stay on the parties and the “balance of hurt.”

The burden of proof on a motion to modify or for relief from the automatic stay is a shifting one. To obtain relief from the automatic stay, the bankruptcy attorney and party seeking relief must first establish a prima facie case that “cause” exists for relief under § 362(d)(1). Once a prima facie case has been established, the burden shifts to the debtor to show that relief from the stay is unwarranted. If the\ movant fails to meet its initial burden to demonstrate cause, relief from the automatic stay should be denied.

Unfortunately there are not clear guidelines for what constitutes a prima facie case given the analysis is on a case by case basis. A party’s production of enough evidence to allow the fact-trier to infer the fact at issue and rule in the party’s favor. See Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014); see also In re Planned Sys., Inc., 78 B.R. 852, 860 n.7 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 1987).

Congress’ legislative comments provide their desire to permit an action to proceed to completion in another tribunal may provide . . . cause” for stay relief, and “it will often be more appropriate to permit proceedings to continue in their place of origin, when no great prejudice to the bankruptcy estate would result, in order to leave the parties to their chosen forum and to relieve the bankruptcy court from many duties that may be handled elsewhere.” H.R. Rep. 95-595, 341, as reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5963, 6297

The bottom line is bankruptcy attorneys need to be aware that the bankruptcy court’s focus on whether the continuation of the state court lawsuit screws up the administration of the bankruptcy estate. In some circumstances insurance is liable for any damages if the lawsuit is successful. Therefore, none of the assets of the bankruptcy estate are at risk either way. So why not let the lawsuit continue?

Why Continue With State Court Lawsuit?

To get a judgment and hopefully paid on the judgment. The most common lawsuit that exists at the time a bankruptcy case is filed is breach of contract lawsuits. Rarely will a breach of contract case satisfy the requirements for relief from stay to continue. There are other types of issues though that can continue and not disrupt the administration of the bankruptcy estate.

If You Are Having A Problem With Your Home Loan Payment Call a Bankruptcy Attorney

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One of the most frustrating parts of my job is over and over again talking to people that file Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases to stop a foreclosure or eviction without proper legal advice from an actual bankruptcy attorney. By the time they speak to me there is usually too much water under the bridge for me to get involved and actually obtain them relief under the Bankruptcy Code they are entitled to. I say entitled to because the Bankruptcy Code is the law. You just have to follow it and get relief. Most skeleton Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions should never have been filed to begin with.

Five Steps To Help Prevent Getting Scammed

These five steps cannot guarantee you will not get scammed, but they will limit your risk to getting scammed, losing your house and paying too much for the services provided to you.

1. Never ever wait until the last minute to start getting information; the problem did not come up overnight, so the solution will not come overnight either….
2. Make sure the person helping you signs the documents filed with the court; not you;
3. Only do business with someone that is local in your area and not hundreds of miles away;
4. Only do business with someone you have actually met in person and they have an office you can walk into if you want;
5. Google the phone number, fax number, email address, name of person or business name you are dealing with … basically Google each and every bit of identifying information you are given . . . most likely someone has already complained about them and Google will find it for you.

The Automatic Stay is a Jewel to be Coveted, Not Abused

The automatic stay is the backbone of the bankruptcy process and is the single most important and precious jewel to be coveted, not abused. Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code provides the very lengthy law of how the automatic stay is implemented. A general description is the automatic stay stops almost all collection activity by creditors to give the bankruptcy filer breathing room to figure things out and reorganize or discharge their debts according to the Bankruptcy Code. That includes lawsuits, repossession, foreclosure, wage garnishment, levies, phone calls, letter and on and on. The automatic stay is the most powerful tool for a Bankruptcy Attorney to help people or businesses in financial distress. There are many limits in the automatic stay and for purposes of this article I will focus on the people filing their own cases with advice from the wrong people. What I find is multiple bankruptcy petitions filed by people trying to save a house more often than not. The first petition filed for relief they receive an unlimited automatic stay. There are no timing restrictions as long as the case remains open and not dismissed. This is what everyone should want, the bankruptcy case, whether Chapter 13, Chapter 7 or some other chapter of the Bankruptcy Code, to progress properly and the bankruptcy filer is not in jeopardy of the automatic stay not being in place. The single best way to ensure this is retaining an experienced bankruptcy attorney to file your case. If your home is in jeopardy do not trust a realtor or some other non-bankruptcy professional to help you.

Danger of Multiple Bankruptcy Filings

What I see over and over again with bankruptcy filers getting bad information is there case is just dismissed for not filing the proper documents in the beginning or not timely filing the proper documents after the case is filed. What the unscrupulous realtor, attorney or company will do is tell you or give you the basic forms to file a skeleton bankruptcy petition to obtain the automatic stay. That includes the voluntary petition, statement of social security number, creditor matrix and most likely an application to pay the $310 court filing fee in payments. The really horrible people will not even tell you about the application to pay the court filing fee in payments and make you waste the entire $310 even though they know the case will just be dismissed. They know the case will be dismissed because the forms described above are all they are going to help you with. That is it. You will have 14 days from when the court enters an order for you to file the rest of the documents to actually complete the petition. So the bankruptcy filer is now representing themselves and has only filed the basic forms to get the case started and does not know what to do next…… The bankruptcy filer will have paid whatever the unscrupulous person charge, usually well over a thousand dollars or more, plus the court filing fee of $310 and the Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is dismissed usually within three weeks.

If your first case is dismissed for some reason and you file a second case within a year you only get a 30 days automatic stay unless the stay is extended within that 30 days. There is no guarantee the court will extend the automatic stay and if a creditor objects to the extension it is even less likely the automatic stay will be extended. The third case filed within a year gets absolutely no automatic stay unless the automatic stay is imposed. Again, there is no guarantee the court will impose the automatic stay.

Required Credit Counseling Course Completion Prior to Filing a Bankruptcy Case

Another trap that realtors and unscrupulous people do not tell the bankruptcy filer is that they must complete the credit counseling course prior to filing for bankruptcy. The credit counseling only takes a few hours to complete and should cost less than $10.00 to complete. Skeleton Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition after skeleton bankruptcy petition is filed without the bankruptcy filer completing the credit counseling course prior to the filing of the case. I am a Bankruptcy Attorney that has either filed or been involved in literally thousands of bankruptcy cases and I only know of one or two circumstances in which the court allowed someone to take the credit counseling course after the bankruptcy case was filed or waived the requirement entirely. Since 2005 BACPA changes to the Bankruptcy Code, Section 109(h)(1) requires the completion of credit counseling within the 180-day period prior to the filing of the petition. Section 109(h)(3) provides a temporary exemption from that requirement if the bankruptcy filer submits a certification that: (i) describes exigent circumstances that merit a waiver of the requirements of [section 109(h)(1)]; (ii) states that the bankruptcy filer requested credit counseling services from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency, but was unable to obtain the services referred to in [section 109(h)(1)] during the 7-day period beginning on the date on which the debtor made that request; and (iii) is satisfactory to the court. Section 109(h)(4) provides a total waiver if the Court determined, upon notice and hearing, that the debtor is unable to complete the credit counseling requirement due to incapacity, disability, or active military duty in a military combat zone. If you have in jeopardy of losing your home just complete the credit counseling course before filing the bankruptcy case and do not play around with attempting have the court give you more time or waive the requirement. It is just not worth it.

Do Not Fall For the Mortgage Litigation Scam

The mortgage litigation scam is only a ploy for criminals to get around the laws making it a criminal act to take money upfront to do a loan modification and a ploy to get around only charging you $150 as a bankruptcy petition preparer. I keep writing about this and it keeps happening. I do not know what the solution is. I try and educate people to enforce their rights and apparently they do not take my advice. Or there are just more and more of these unscrupulous people replacing the ones that go away. If you missed mortgage payments and owe thousands and thousands of dollars because you did not make the mortgage payments rarely are there issues for you to litigate. Especially if you are a consumer and this is regarding your home. We keep finding people in the Bay Area doing business with businesses in Southern California to litigate mortgage issues that appear to be purely scams. If you are litigating a mortgage problem that is legitimate you should not be directed to file a skeleton bankruptcy petition that you sign and file yourself. That makes no sense. When an attorney takes your money to do something they are supposed to sign and file the documents on your behalf because they are representing you and take on the liability for their work. That is how it is supposed to work. Also, why do business with someone that is hundreds of miles away that will most likely never give you your money back when you figure out it was a scam? Are you going to sue them for the $1,000 – $4,000 you gave them already? I seriously doubt it and I have yet to see it.

Is A Car Loan Company Violating The Automatic Stay If They Disable My Car While I Am In Bankruptcy?

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Do you know anyone that has a disabling device in his or her car or do you yourself have a disabling device in your car? These devices are showing up in more and more states. The disabling device is installed in your car when you purchase a car, most likely at dealerships that act as the finance company as well. The dealerships normally install these devices on buyers who have low credit scores to protect the dealership/lender’s investment. These disabling devices act as an anti-theft device but also have GPS capabilities. What normally happens is that the consumers who purchase the car will have to pay on time each month to get a code from the lender. This code will allow the buyers to keep the car running another month. If the buyer misses a payment the lender will disable the device and the buyer will not be able to start the car and the GPS will provide the lender with the location of where to pick up the car to repossess it. This sounds incredibly dangerous. What if you were driving in the middle of the freeway and your car is disabled? If you have one of these devices on your car you need to know what your rights are after you file for bankruptcy.

In the case of In re Hampton (Hampton v. Yam’s Choice Plus Autos, Inc.), 319 B.R. 163 (Bankr. E. D. Ark. 2005), Toni Hampton purchased a car from Yam’s Choice Plus Autos, Inc. (“Yam’s”). There was a PayTeck device installed on the car. Ms. Hampton thought that it was only an anti-theft device and only learned that she would need a new code to start the car each month after she made her first payment. She made her payments on time and had no issues with her car. She filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection on October 8, 2002. Ms. Hampton’s Chapter 13 plan included payments to the lender for her car. Her plan was confirmed and she made her Chapter 13 payments on time. After she filed for bankruptcy Ms. Hampton indicated she was barely able to get her car working for more than 2 weeks at a time. In the beginning, her bankruptcy lawyer’s employee tried to call Yam’s to get the correct codes. Yam’s indicated Ms. Hampton would need to call in to get the code. Ms. Hampton called in every month to get the code but most of the codes were incorrect and her car was shut off. It made her constantly late for work and there were times when she had to get rides from co-workers and friends and family because her car just would not start. Yam’s was aware of the issues but did nothing to help Ms. Hampton. The bankruptcy court in this case concluded that Yam’s violated the automatic stay. Under 11 U.S.C. §362(a)(3) filing bankruptcy acts as a stay of “any act… to exercise control over property of the estate…” Installing a device in a car which prevents the bankruptcy filer from starting the car is an exercise of control over the estate property which violates the automatic stay. The court awarded Ms. Hampton damages she incurred during this period but did not award punitive damages. The court clarified that while Yam’s violated the automatic stay in this situation, the existence of the disabling device would not in itself violate the automatic stay if Yam had taken proper precautions and provided Ms. Hampton with the correct codes every month. If there were issues with the device itself, Yam’s should have fixed it.

In a similar case, In re Crawford (Crawford v. Credit Acceptance Corporation), 2008 WL5427713 (Bankr. S.D. Ill. December 2008), Ms. Crawford’s finance company repossessed her car. She filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and the car was returned to her but she started having problems with her car immediately after because of the malfunction of the disabling device on her car. She sued the finance company for violation of the automatic stay for not repairing the disabling device and the courts agreed with her. The court held that the finance company violated the automatic stay because they failed to ensure the car “operated free from any interference from the disabling device.”

So the bottom line is this: you have the right to drive your car free from worry that it will stop at any time and to also drive your car without having to worry that your car will not start so long as you continue making your payments on time either on your own or through your Chapter 13 plan. If your lender deliberately provides you with the wrong start codes or does not help you if there is a malfunction of the disabling device they are violating the automatic stay and your bankruptcy lawyer will be able to file a motion or adversary proceeding for violating the automatic stay.

Damages for the Willful Violation of Automatic Stay

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The general rule is that once you file for bankruptcy protection you are free from creditor harassment and collection activity. This is because once you file bankruptcy there is the automatic stay. This automatic stay stops all collection activity including creditor calls, letters, wage garnishments, levies, and/or continuation or start of any lawsuit in an attempt to collect a debt. There are some exceptions to the automatic stay as listed in Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code. So before threatening a creditor with sanctions make sure one of the exceptions does not apply. The automatic stay is one of the most powerful tools in the bankruptcy arsenal. But what happens if creditors ignore the automatic stay and continue to try to harass you and attempt to collect a debt from you anyway? What rights do you have?

This is what happened in In The Matter of Rupanjali Snowden (No. 13-35291, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, September 2014). In this case, Ms. Snowden, the bankruptcy filer, took out a payday loan from Check Into Cash of Washington (“CIC”) in the amount of $575. She was unable to make the payment and advised CIC that she was thinking of filing for bankruptcy and provided her bankruptcy attorney’s contact information to them. Despite having this information, CIC would constantly contact Ms. Snowden at work (she is employed as a nurse at a hospital). Every time she heard her name over the intercom she thought she was being called regarding an emergency with her daughter and she became very stressed out. CIC is the original creditor and may contact someone at work, but they cannot harass her. If CIC was a collection agency Ms. Snowden may have a claim under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Ms. Snowden filed for bankruptcy protection shortly after with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer. CIC was listed as a general unsecured creditor in the bankruptcy petition. A little over a month after her bankruptcy filing, CIC cashed her post-dated check causing Ms. Snowden’s bank account to become overdrawn and charged additional bank fees as well. Ms. Snowden became panicked and was crying and feeling miserable. Her good bankruptcy lawyer filed a motion for sanctions against CIC for violation of the automatic stay, seeking return of the funds, overdraft fees, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney fees. CIC disputed the fact that they violated the automatic stay. Ms. Snowden offered to settle the case for $25,000 which CIC rejected. CIC proposed to pay her $1,445, which Ms. Snowden rejected. The bankruptcy court found that CIC willfully violated the automatic stay and awarded Ms. Snowden $12,000 for emotional distress, $12,000 in punitive damages, $575 for the loan amount, $370 in bank fees, and $2,538.55 in attorney fees, totaling $27,483.55. CIC appealed the case to the district court. The district court remanded the case back to the bankruptcy court to determine emotional distress damages and reevaluate punitive damages based on change in the emotional distress damages. The bankruptcy court did not change its judgment after reconsideration. CIC appealed the case again and Ms. Snowden cross-appealed.

The Ninth Circuit upheld Ms. Snowden’s emotional distress award and punitive damages. The court also rejected CIC’s argument that the attorney fees stopped accruing once CIC offered to settle the case with Ms. Snowden for $1,445. The court indicated that CIC never admitted to the violation of the automatic stay and therefore the stay was not cured. The court determined the proper date the violation of the automatic stay ended on December 10, 2009 when the bankruptcy court determined that the automatic stay was violated. Of course, Ms. Snowden would not receive all of the attorney fees up to that date. She would only receive the fees that are related to curing the stay violation itself. Since some of the attorney fees were related to recovering damages, those attorneys’ fees would be disallowed.

This case provides a guideline of what damages can be obtained when there is a willful violation of the automatic stay. As with each case, however, the rulings are heavily dependent on the specific circumstances of each case. You have to provide facts to prove you are eligible for actual damages, emotion distress damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and other damages.