Power of Automatic Stay
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Debt Collector Sactioned by Bankruptcy Court

In re Grochowski, 2012 WL 5306047 (Bankr.M.D. Pa. 2012)(per Thomas, J.)
The debtor filed an adversary action against Commonwealth Financial Systems for violating the automatic stay by
attempting to collect a debt 29 times after the debtor filed his bankruptcy.   The debt collector’s CFO’s testimony was detrimental to the defendant as he knew little about  the collector’s current procedures and whether and how they have been changed since the violations occurred. Of interest is that  Commonwealth Financial Systems, the debt collector  reported that its new worth was zero - that its debts exceeded its assets.   Since this was the third time that Commonwealth Financial Systems was cited for violating the automatic stay, the debtor was awarded $4,500 in actual damages plus $7,500 in punitive damages and attorney’s fees.  The punitive damages probably would have been larger if the defendant’s net worth was greater.

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Scott F. Waterman
110 West Front Street
Media, PA, 19063 USA