Bankruptcy promises a true fresh start for the honest but unfortunate person that invokes bankruptcy’s sacred constitutionally protections. A fresh start means exactly that – free from the debts of the past so you can move on with your and your family’s life. In essence, you get a fresh start by throwing all your cards on the table and declaring I need help. But all you need to do is google what happens after bankruptcy, and you’ll find some stories about what happens when a rogue creditor doesn’t follow the letter of the law.
When bankruptcy is filed, you are granted a stay. This is a FEDERAL COURT ORDER SIGNED BY A JUDGE PROHIBITING THE CREDITOR (DEBT COLLECTOR) FROM BOTHERING YOU. This order is temporary at first, it remains in place for the duration of your bankruptcy case, and is transformed at the end of your case into a COURT ORDER CALLED A DISCHARGE INJUNTION. This is a PERMANENT COURT ORDER eliminating most debts and preventing any creditor subject to it from bugging you about the now eliminated debt. How long does the order stay in place? The order kills the debt.
But sometimes rogue creditors purposefully disobey they order. What is a “rogue creditor”? Well, a rogue is something that is “dishonest or unprincipled”. A creditor is someone you may owe money to. But why would they disobey a FEDERAL COURT ORDER SIGNED BY A JUDGE?
They either don’t care, they don’t follow the law, or their company is set up because they know that in many cases, it’s unlikely they will get caught. After all, after you file bankruptcy, perhaps you think “I only got harassed on one small debt for a few months, so I figured I’d pay it so they would go away.” Don’t do it.
This is outrageous that you may have to go through the emotional ups and downs of bankruptcy, only to still feel you have to pay a debt that was eliminated by a federal court order.
At Daigle Law Office, we routinely fight back on behalf of our clients. If, after your case is filed, creditors continue to harass you, refuse to stop garnishments, keep calling you, or even worse, perhaps you get sued by a debt collector even after you filed bankruptcy against them, I have good news.
For our clients in this situation or perhaps for my clients that fear this situation hear my words:
This is illegal. As part of every bankruptcy case, Daigle Law Office routinely stops these rogue creditors who keep bugging my clients after the case is filed. In many instances, we file lawsuits against these creditors. And the cases we take on we do not charge any additional fees. In fact, the creditors are made to pay additional legal fees for this protection and they are required to pay you money called damages for their ongoing post-bankruptcy harassment. This is included as a part of every case Daigle Law Office files.
Make sure you get the FULL BENEFIT of your true fresh start.
PRE-BANKRUPTCY FILING: Daigle Law Office is your shield. Tell creditors to STOP calling you and to contact Daigle Law Office. They will back off, though perhaps not completely.
POST-BANKRUTPCY FILING: This office is your word and we will often pursue egregious post-petition creditor contact or harassment. Take copious notes as to who is calling and what they want. Make sure they know about your bankruptcy filing and Daigle Law Office contact information.
Email Daigle Law Office at email@example.com regarding any post-bankruptcy filing contact no matter how long after your case was filed. Think of this as money you may be entitled to.
THIS INCLUDES BANKRUPTCY CASES THAT ARE CLOSED, DISCHARGED & LONG FORGOTTEN.
Get the full benefit of your bankruptcy filing and don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights.
Say this when a Creditor or Debt Collector calls you effective after you hire Daigle Law Office:
“My bankruptcy attorney is Peter Daigle. You can reach his office at (508) 771-7444. DO NOT CALL ME. Direct all future contact to Daigle Law Office at (508) 771-7444” or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. Good bye”.
EXPLANATION OF THE STAY VIOLATION PROCESS
What is a stay violation?
Whenever a bankruptcy is filed, you are immediately granted a temporary restraining order against all debt collection activity. This is called the automatic stay. It is served upon each and every creditor in your bankruptcy case via US Mail and often via electronic service by the court as well. It stops virtually all debt collection activity, garnishments, foreclosures, sheriff’s sales, phone calls, creditor harassment, and other issues dead in its tracks. It is the most powerful civil order in the United States legal system. This stay order becomes permanent at the conclusion of a bankruptcy matter and is memorialized in a new order called a disjunction injunction. This is a permanent order that completely eliminates all of the debts the bankruptcy is able to eliminate.
A violation of the automatic stay occurs after a person files bankruptcy and a creditor that is covered by the automatic stay continues to collect a debt owed. If the collection occurs after the discharge, it is called a violation of the discharge injunction.
Of course, if you file your bankruptcy at noon, and someone calls on a debt at 12:30, it is likely not yet a violation of the stay because there just hasn’t been enough time for the creditor to figure out your filed bankruptcy. But if it has been two weeks since filing, and you told the creditor in person you filed bankruptcy, and the creditor acknowledged the bankruptcy but still collects, a violation has occurred. As you can imagine, there are a wide range of circumstances that could occur. In general, the more time after filing and the more opportunities for the creditor to know about the bankruptcy yet not terminate collection efforts, the more likely a violation has occurred.
Why Does It Matter?
By the time a bankruptcy is filed, creditors, or people you may owe money to, often have become belligerent, filing law suits, making repetitive collection calls, garnishing pay checks and bank accounts, and in general making life miserable for those on its receiving end. Further, the decision to file bankruptcy is often one of the hardest, most humbling, and often times the most embarrassing time in a person’s life. No one wants to file bankruptcy. People file because they have to file bankruptcy.
So if you make the big decision to file bankruptcy, the creditors are required under the laws of the United States to leave you alone and move on. Most do. But sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t, they drive bankruptcy filers even deeper into turmoil. They shouldn’t do this. And you are empowered to stop them.
Why Should I Report the Violation?
The rights you have are what I describe as reciprocal. Prior to filing bankruptcy, the creditors are in charge by making life miserable and collecting debts. After filing bankruptcy, you are in charge. Instantly. And if the creditor does not leave you alone, you can enforce these new rights directly against the creditors and their collectors.
What’s In It for Me?
Sadly, justice in our American system or jurisprudence comes down to money. The creditors are not going to jail. But you can stop their harassment towards you and others, get yourself compensated for their harassment, and hopefully send a message that if you have to follow the law, so do they.
Daigle Law Office pursues these creditors in bankruptcy court for these violations. When we win, they pay you money for the harassment, and they pay for the legal costs for the lawyers to stop the
harassment. If this happens enough times, rogue creditors, mean spirited debt collectors, and people who do not respect the law of the country may change their tune.
Examples of Stay Violations
Here are some examples of bankruptcy stay violations. All of these things must occur AFTER the filing of the bankruptcy petition and be perpetrated by creditors whose names and addresses are listed on your bankruptcy schedules. So make sure you are absolutely as thorough as you can be in disclosing this information to Daigle Law Office.
- Collection calls after filing bankruptcy
- Collection letters
- Garnishments or failing to stop garnishments after filing
- Car repossession
- Failing to turn over or return property that is rightfully yours
- Service to your collection lawsuits
- Billing for pre-filing service contracts
- Foreclosing on property without permission from the court
There are many more. If for any reason a creditor tries to collect on a debt after you file your case, be sure to let Daigle Law Office know at: email@example.com
Maintain Realistic Expectations
The money you may receive from these violations range from minor harassment payments to larger settlements in some cases. While Daigle Law Office does it best to obtain larger settlements, there are a variety of factors that go into the valuation of each case. Cases fought and valued on an individual case by case basis. If Daigle Law Office pursues a claim for you, to use a metaphor, do not cash the check until you actually receive it.
How Do I Collect Information and Enforce My Fresh Start Rights?
You should collect as much information as possible for each contact and immediately send this information to Daigle Law Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to get as much of the following information as you can:
- Name, address, and contact information of the debt collector
- Name and balance of the debt
- Date and time of contact. If by phone:
- Take a screen shot if possible
- Save all voice mail messages
- Get the name of the representative that contacted you
- All mailings and correspondence
- All paperwork
- After you collect this information:
- Tell them you filed bankruptcy
- If you have it, give them your case number and Daigle Law Office contact information
- As much information about what was said as possible, including whether they were polite, rude, threatening or demanding payment and whether they knew about the bankruptcy filing.
As soon as you get this information, forward it to Daigle Law Office immediately and we will review the matter. Remember to be as thorough as possible and DO NOT give in to the urge to be rude to the people harassing you. It will not help your case.
Please note that we do not pursue every possible violation.