In re Mathis (18-10575)

Debtor sought damages for willful violation of the automatic stay under § 362(k) after her vehicle was repossessed post-petition.  The creditor argued it lacked knowledge of the bankruptcy due to a discrepancy between its zip code as listed on the vehicle lease agreement and as listed on the creditor matrix used by the BNC to mail the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case.  Because the creditor challenged the zip code used by the BNC, the court considered evidence regarding the proper zip code.  In doing so, the Court noted that the BNC had corrected the zip code for the creditor’s address and took judicial notice of two government websites indicating the creditor’s zip code.  The Court applied the presumption of receipt to the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case mailed to the creditor and held that the creditor failed to rebut the presumption. The Court also found that the creditor was charged with knowledge of the bankruptcy case through the Debtor’s meeting with the creditor’s employee just after the repossession.  The Court held that the creditor willfully violated the automatic stay and awarded damages for lost wages and transportation expenses.

Monday, January 7, 2019