Posts Tagged: ‘bankruptcy automatic stay’

Are Lawsuit Judgments Discharged in Bankruptcy?

June 14, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Some filers enter into bankruptcy with collection cases already at judgment level, with the hope that these judgments along with their other debts can be discharged through bankruptcy. However, getting a judgment discharged is not always so simple, and it depends on a number of factors, including:

  • What kind of case the judgment was for; and
  • Whether the creditor who has the judgment over the debtor has already placed a lien on the individual’s property.

Bankruptcy Discharge for Most Judgments

Generally, a judgment from a lawsuit involves unpaid debts. If the bankruptcy filer has not paid his or her medical bills, personal loans or credit cards, the next step for the unpaid creditor is usually filing a lawsuit against the borrower. If a judgment is obtained, the creditor can garnish the borrower’s wages or even go after a personal asset and have a lien placed on it to satisfy the outstanding debt.

Filing for bankruptcy activates what is known as the automatic stay, giving the filer reprieve from further collection calls and attempts.  It can also put a stop to wage garnishment and can wipe out the borrower’s obligation to pay back certain debts, even in a judgment. Once a bankruptcy case is filed, if a collections lawsuit is pending, the automatic stay in the bankruptcy will put a stop to the lawsuit. Even if a judgment has been entered against the borrower, the final discharge in the bankruptcy case will get rid of that judgment for most purposes, except in certain cases. If the judgment is for a debt that is considered nondischargeable, the bankruptcy will not get rid of the debt.

Nondischargeable Judgments

Some debt is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. If the creditor has gotten a judgment against the bankruptcy filer for a debt obligation that includes one of the following debts, a bankruptcy discharge will not get rid of that judgment. These categories include:

  • Judgments connected to domestic support obligations, including child support or spousal support/alimony;
  • Judgments for criminal penalties, fines and/or restitution;
  • Most tax judgments;
  • Most student loan obligation judgments;
  • Judgments for any debts that were acquired under false pretenses or by fraud;
  • Judgments for injuries that were willful and malicious caused by the debtor; and
  • Judgments for any injury or death that was caused by the debtor’s drunk driving.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/lawsuit-judgments-discharged.html

 

Second Landlord This Month Held in Contempt of Court for Willful Violation of the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

May 11, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Miami bankruptcy attorney Timothy S. Kingcade’s Motion Granted by Judge, Creditor Required to Cease and Desist all Eviction Proceedings and Pay Attorney’s Fees and Other Sanctions

MIAMI – (May 11, 2018) This is the second time this month Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade, founding partner of Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken and Attorney Kristina Gonzalez, have successfully obtained an Order for a client in a Chapter 7 case, requiring the creditor to  cease and desist all eviction proceedings and pay attorney’s fees.  The creditor in the case (In re Danny Looney Case No. 17-25332-LMI), Massmar Investments, LLC, was listed in the bankruptcy petition and was advised multiple times that the client was in bankruptcy.

“This is a victory today for our client. The landlord in this case chose to completely disregard the automatic stay put in place that protects bankruptcy clients from harassment and repossession of property. Despite having notice of the bankruptcy, the landlord continued with eviction proceedings, disregarded the law and harassed my client to no end,” Kingcade said. “Unfortunately, this is something we are seeing more of in my practice.”

The Order directs creditor, Massmar Investments, LLC to cease and desist any further eviction proceedings and dismiss the wrongfully filed eviction case, abide by the automatic stay, and pay attorney’s fees to Kingcade Garcia McMaken for having to bring forth the action.

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Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade Garcia McMaken specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

For more information visit, https://www.miamibankruptcy.com/.

Can Debtors Recover Damages for Emotional Distress for Violations of the Automatic Stay?

May 10, 2018 Posted by kingcade

One of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy involves the automatic stay, a measure that goes into effect as soon as the bankruptcy case is filed. This automatic stay puts a halt to any collections proceedings or efforts, giving the filer reprieve from the continually calls and communications from creditors seeking to receive payment on their debts. By law, creditors are bound to abide by the automatic stay, but many creditors do not always abide by the stay. When that happens, the question arises as to what kind of damages the filer is entitled to if a creditor violates the stay.

Actual and Punitive Damages

Under the Bankruptcy code, if an individual undergoing a bankruptcy is injured by a “willful violation of a stay provided by this section shall recover actual damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, and – in appropriate circumstances – may recover punitive damages.” 11 U.S.C. § 362(k)(1).  It is up to the court to determine whether “actual damages” includes damages for emotional distress, and this normally comes down to the question of whether the violation was accidental or intentional.

Was the Violation of the Automatic Stay Deliberate?

In some situations, a creditor can violate the automatic stay accidentally or unintentionally. Other times, the violation can be deliberate , and in complete disregard for the law. The stay is automatic, and many creditors, if they have a registered contact with the court, will find this out as soon as the stay is instituted. However, if the creditor is a smaller company, they may not find out quite so quickly, which means if the creditor continues to contact the debtor, that initial contact could be an accidental violation of the stay.

To seek damages for the violation, the filer needs to show the court that the creditor violated the automatic stay willfully. The creditor must have known that the contact or communication was prohibited but did so in spite of that knowledge. If the filer expressly gave someone employed by the creditor the information regarding the bankruptcy, then he or she has the evidence needed to show that the violation was willful.

Court Treatment of Violations of the Automatic Stay and Emotional Distress

Four circuits, including the first, third, ninth and 11th circuits, have affirmed that emotional distress damages are available if a creditor violated the stay. In recent cases, the courts have reviewed the legislative history and found evidence that the emotional consequences of the debtor were considered when creating the automatic stay. The history showed that Congress meant to protect not only the financial interests of those filing for bankruptcy, but the non-filing ones, as well. However, the fifth and seventh circuits have not been as strong in their rulings when it comes to emotional distress damages. These courts have been skeptical in the ability the bankruptcy court has to award emotional distress damages in a bankruptcy matter.

Filing a Claim

If a filer believes that he or she has been victim to a willful violation of the automatic stay, it is recommended that the individual consult a bankruptcy attorney before proceeding. The attorney can help determine what the best course of action is, given the circumstances of the case. A motion may be appropriate to request the judge to issue an “order to show cause,” requiring the creditor to provide the reason why the violation occurred. If damages were particularly significant, a lawsuit for these damages may be necessary and justified.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.thebalance.com/your-rights-when-a-creditor-violates-the-automatic-stay-316196

Landlord Held in Contempt of Court for Willful Violation of the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

April 30, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Miami bankruptcy attorney Timothy S. Kingcade’s Motion Granted, Creditor Required to Cease and Desist all Eviction Proceedings and Pay Attorney’s Fees

MIAMI – (April 30, 2018) Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade, founding partner of Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken successfully obtained an Order for his client in a Chapter 7 case, granting Emergency Relief Requested.  Florida Bankruptcy Judge, A. Jay Cristol signed an order holding the landlord / creditor, Jonathan Smith and Delores Smith in Contempt of Court for Intentional Violation of the Automatic Stay (In re Montalvo Case No. 18-11489-AJC). Creditor, Jonathan Smith and Delores Smith are directed to immediately cease and desist all eviction proceedings and pay Kingcade Garcia McMaken $2,250.00 in attorney’s fees for having to bring forth the motion to enforce the automatic stay and protect its client.

“We are extremely pleased with this victory for our client today.  The landlord in this case completely disregarded the automatic stay put in place that protects bankruptcy clients from harassment and repossession of property. Despite having actual knowledge of the bankruptcy and automatic stay protections, this landlord continued to harass and threaten my client, causing them unnecessary distress, even going so far as to serving them with an eviction lawsuit during the case,” Kingcade said.

The Order directs creditor, Jonathan Smith and Delores Smith, jointly and severally, to pay attorney’s fees to Kingcade Garcia McMaken for having to bring forth this action and to cease and desist all eviction proceedings until further order of court.

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Miami-based Kingcade Garcia McMaken was established by managing partner and bankruptcy attorney, Timothy S. Kingcade in 1996. The firm represents clients throughout the State of Florida in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and foreclosure defense cases. The firm is committed to providing personalized service to each and every client, clearly explaining the options according to the unique circumstances of his or her life. The office environment and the service provided are centered on a culture of superior client care for the financially disenfranchised. All partners and associates at Kingcade Garcia McMaken specialize in consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure and have dedicated their practices to this area of the law. Additionally, all attorneys and staff members at the firm are bilingual speaking Spanish.

For more information visit, https://www.miamibankruptcy.com/.

A Consumer’s Rights When a Creditor Violates the Automatic Stay

February 15, 2018 Posted by kingcade

The two most powerful tools in the bankruptcy code are the bankruptcy discharge and the automatic stay.  U.S. bankruptcy law defines the automatic stay as an automatic injunction that halts actions by creditors, with certain exceptions, to collect debts from an individual who has declared bankruptcy. Under section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the “stay” begins at the moment the bankruptcy petition is filed.

Automatic stay violations can be accidental or deliberate.  Most of the time, it is the result of timing issues or lack of understanding of the law. When a bankruptcy case is filed, the automatic stay goes into effect immediately, but sometimes it can take a week or more for the creditor to find out about the case.

When timing is of the essence- for example, when trying to prevent a foreclosure from taking place, it is of extreme importance your attorney notify that particular creditor immediately after the case is filed.

It is not unlikely that you will continue receiving phone calls, collection letters or statements demanding payment in the mail.  Even though these are violations of the automatic stay, in these situations it is best to direct all calls to your attorney.  To prove the violation, you will have to show the court that the creditor acted willfully (i.e. – the creditor must know that the action it is taking is prohibited.)

We advise our clients to keep their filing information readily available, so they can provide the case number, name of the court in which the case is being filed, etc. to creditors who continue to call.  If this is documented, and the calls continue, the creditors can be held accountable for violating the bankruptcy automatic stay.

Penalties for Violating the Automatic Stay

The penalties for violating the automatic stay depend on the nature of the violation and whether it was done with deliberate disregard for the bankruptcy filing. Damages can include out-of-pocket costs (e.g. – renting a vehicle to get to work if your car was repossessed); it can also include attorney’s fees and costs for having to bring the motion before the court, and even pain, suffering and mental anguish.

Our firm works to hold creditors accountable for violating the protections allotted by the U.S. bankruptcy laws.  Just last month, our firm’s motion was granted by a Florida judge in a case that held the creditor in contempt of court for violating the automatic stay in a Miami bankruptcy case. The Order directed the creditor to cease and desist all eviction proceedings until further order of the court.  The creditor in this case was also required to pay attorneys’ fees for our firm having to bring forth the motion to enforce the automatic stay to protect our client.

If you are dealing with a creditor you think may have violated the automatic stay, contact your attorney immediately.  An experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney will know whether the contact was innocent in nature or a willful violation worth pursuing.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: https://www.thebalance.com/your-rights-when-a-creditor-violates-the-automatic-stay-316196