Once I am hired as an attorney for a debtor, I advise my client to let any creditors who call know that he or she has retained my firm as his or her counsel and that any questions regarding them must be made to my office. Once the bankruptcy case is filed, I advise my clients to let any creditor who calls them know that they filed bankruptcy and give the creditor their case number. Once the creditor knows about the filing and is given a case number, it generally does not contact the debtor again.
In the recent case of Ferrer v. Lou Sobh Automotive of Jax, Inc. (In re Ferrer), 2017 WL 401188 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 1/30/17), a car lender contacted the debtor after he filed for bankruptcy and asked him to stop by to sign a new contract for the purchase of his vehicle. The car was purchased just two days prior to his filing. The debtor advised the lender that he had hired a bankruptcy attorney, and directed the lender to call his attorney. The debtor did not list the lender on his Schedules and the lender did not get notice of the bankruptcy filing. Ultimately, the debtor did enter into a new loan agreement with the lender. The debtor believed that the lender’s contact with him violated the automatic stay and brought an action against it. The court however, found that the lender did not wilfully violate the automatic stay, as just telling a creditor that you hired a bankruptcy attorney is not the same as letting the creditor know that you actually filed a bankruptcy case. Furthermore, the court stated that even if it found that the lender had violated the automatic stay, the debtor presented no evidence that the violation caused him any actual damage.
If you are caught in an endless cycle of debt and are struggling to break free, please call us for a free consultation. Morris Margulies has assisted thousands of clients through the bankruptcy process and is sensitive to their needs. We represent consumers in bankruptcy and litigation matters in Maryland and the District of Columbia.