In re Witham

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Oct. 12, 2017)

The bankruptcy court awards damages to the debtor for the creditor’s willful violation of the automatic stay. The debtor had an agreement with the tanning bed salon in which the salon would deduct a monthly payment from her debit card. Despite numerous notifications of the bankruptcy and the violation of the automatic stay, the salon continued to make the deductions post-petition. The court enters an award for damages that includes attorney fees and punitive damages. Opinion below.

Judge: Wise

Attorney for Debtor: Grant M. Axon

2017-10-12 – in re witham

Author: Matt Lindblom

Springer v. RNBJ RTO LLC (In re Springer)


(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Aug. 16, 2017)

The bankruptcy court enters judgment against the creditor for its violation of the automatic stay. The creditor is a home furnishing leasing company that leased furniture to the debtors prepetition. While the bankruptcy case was pending, the creditor continued weekly withdrawals from the debtors’ account. The creditor then refused to return the funds and attempted to recover the leased furniture from the debtors’ home. The court awards damages for the amount withdrawn from the debtors’ account and attorney fees, and awards punitive damages in the amount of $5,000. Opinion below.

Judge: Stout

Attorney for Debtor: Ross Benjamin Neuhauser

Attorney for Creditor: Brian Kevin Darling

2017-08-16 – in re springer

Author: Matt Lindblom

Waldman v. Stone

(W.D. Ky. Jan. 15, 2016)

On remand from the Sixth Circuit, the district court apportions fault 50/50 between the two defendants (pursuant to KRS 411.182) and reduces the punitive damage award proportionally with the reduction of compensatory damages. The court also finds that the punitive damages should be apportioned 50/50. The two defendants had conspired to defraud the debtor of his interest in his business entity. Opinion below.


2016-01-15 – waldman v stone

Author: Matt Lindblom

Weary v. Poteat

(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.

2015-09-30 – weary v poteat

Author: Matt Lindblom

In re Paschal

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Nov. 5, 2014)

The bankruptcy court awards the chapter 13 debtor attorney fees and punitive damages to be paid by the creditor for its willful violation of the automatic stay. The creditor had made an unauthorized debit transaction of $400 from the debtor’s bank account after the petition was filed. The debtor’s attorney notified the creditor of the stay but the creditor, who was already aware of the bankruptcy filing, refused to refund the payment. Opinion below.

2014-11-05 – in re paschal

In re Polston

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Oct. 21, 2014)

The bankruptcy court awards the debtor $2,369 in attorney fees and punitive damages to be paid by the secured creditor, who failed to appear at the stay violation hearing. Despite the debtor’s attorney telling the creditor to cease communications following the filing of the petition, the creditor continued to contact the debtor by telephone and through written communications. Opinion below.

2014-10-21 – in re polston