Give Me Back My Car! Recent Cases Highlight Circuit Split over Whether Failure to Return Repossessed Property Violates the Automatic Stay

By Glenn Huether, Senior Counsel Consumer Banking Division, Wells Fargo Legal Department (Charlotte, NC)

One of the hallmarks of the Bankruptcy Code is the automatic stay - and gaining the protection of the automatic stay is one of the primary factors driving debtors into bankruptcy. For some debtors, protection of the automatic stay means getting back their vehicles that were repossessed prepetition.

Whether a lender is required to turnover repossessed property immediately after a debtor files a Chapter 13 petition – and whether the failure to return that property is a violation of the automatic stay – is an issue that . . .

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