How do you know if you have violated the automatic stay in bankruptcy? A debtor filed for Chapter 13 relief, and then later received a mortgage loan statement from Chase Home Finance. The debtor and his wife sued Chase alleging violations of the automatic stay, the Pennsylvania Fair Trade Extension Uniformity Act, the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The bankruptcy court granted Chase's motion to dismiss. Because the debtor's wife was not a debtor, she was not protected by the automatic stay. The court said the statement did not state that the account was past due nor demand immediate payment but did include a disclaimer that did not violate the stay as to the debtor.
The court characterized the Statement as being informative rather than an attempt to collect a prepetition debt. The language of the Statement was unambiguous and makes it aware that the Debtor is protected by the automatic stay and the statement is for compliance and informational purposes only which does not constitute an attempt to collect debt.
The court did not accept that the automatic stay prohibits all communication between a creditor and a bankruptcy debtor. The court granted the motion regarding consumer protection violations based on the court's lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The cause of the action was due to the debtor's property rather than the bankruptcy.
The Law Offices of James V. Sansone is located in Santa Rosa, California and serves clients, debtors and creditors, with their bankruptcy needs throughout the North Bay area of California, including Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Lake County, Santa Rosa, Napa, Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Windsor, Bodega Bay, Ukiah, Willits, Clearlake, Lakeport and Kelseyville.