(6th Cir. Sep. 30, 2015)
The Sixth Circuit affirms the lower courts, holding that the creditor willfully violated the automatic stay and punitive damages were appropriate. The creditor had been the debtor’s landlord. After the petition was filed, the creditor sent a letter to the debtor threatening to pursue criminal charges against the debtor. The lower court determined that the purpose for sending the letter was to coerce payment for rent owed and that the creditor was aware of the bankruptcy stay. The creditor argued that the criminal prosecution exception to the automatic stay applied, but the court held it did not. The creditor never pursued criminal charges and the letter would not have been necessary to do so. Opinion below.
Author: Matt Lindblom