Of all the tricks and traps in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), one of the nastiest is the burden-shifting that has gone on with respect to the automatic stay. Once upon a time creditors had to come to Court to put a debtor out of house and home -- now the burden is on the debtor in certain cases to say why they shouldn't, and to do it so that other creditors become aware of it! A pair of cases from Florida and Tennessee say it all.
In re Covert, 355 B.R. 327 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Fla. 2006). (Lewis M. Killian, Jr., Judge).
Debtor"s counsel filed a motion to extend the automatic stay on the 30th day after filing the petition and the Court denied it, noting that
Taken together, this means the Court has no jurisdiction to extend the stay unless a motion is brought within 5 days of filing the case. The Court was particularly moved by the plight of the creditors who would be deprived of due process if notice were not properly given. Due process? How's that for irony?
In re Wilson, 336 B.R. 338 (Bankr. E.D. Tenn., 2005). (Stair, JR., Judge).
Debtors filed their petition Nov. 1 and their motions to extend the stay Nov. 7 giving notice of a hearing on Nov. 23. Court denied the motions based on local rules which required that motions be set for hearing "at least 20 but no more than 40 days after service" unless authorized by the rule [not applicable] or by court order. E.D. Tenn. LBR 9013-1(f). Once more the Court's sympathies lie with the creditors who were not afforded due process.
Are you a Debtor, Debtor"s Attorney, or Case Trustee frustrated by the BAPCPA"s confusing standards and often awkward results? You are not alone. Learn more about the new bankruptcy law at M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C. or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell your story. All contacts are confidential.