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  • Robert Weed

After Bankruptcy: Suing Navy Federal

We sue debt collectors and creditors a dozen times a month for doing illegal things to our clients–before bankruptcy or after bankruptcy.

We don’t make a lot of money doing that.  But I think big companies can act like small children–they do what they can get away with.   I don’t let them get away with much when it comes to my bankruptcy clients.  That’s part of my job as a lawyer.

Bankruptcy lawyer Mark Sullivan

Bankruptcy Lawyer Mark Sullivan beat Navy Federal in court, when Navy Fed claimed their collection calls were “merely administrative.”

Most times, once we sue them, they apologize, and send us a check; and we agree not to bad mouth them.  (I can’t write about those.)

Last year, March 2011, Navy Federal decided to fight us.  (Navy Federal is my least favorite financial institution; and I may be their least favorite bankruptcy lawyer.)

They had continued to call my client–Jennifer–after she filed bankruptcy the end of February, 2011.

Jennifer never actually talked to them.  They just left messages on her phone.  A total of 16 voice mails over the space of a couple weeks.

Making collection calls after the bankruptcy is filed, violates “the automatic stay.”  The stay tells the whole world to stop “any act…to collect” a debt from the person who just filed the bankruptcy.

I asked Mark Sullivan, the top lawyer in my Sterling office, to go after them.  And he did.

Navy Fed argued that they were not trying to “collect” a debt.  That the “purpose of the calls was merely administrative.”  (The person who claimed the calls were not collection calls was a collection manager at Navy Federal.   I thought that was pretty funny.)

Mark made short work of them at trial last fall.  Bankruptcy Judge Robert Mayer awarded $500 in damages to Jennifer.  (Different judges in different parts of the country would have gone higher.)

After a second fight, the Judge also awarded us $2585 in attorneys fees and costs.  That spilled over into January.

Just last month, Navy Fed wrote us a check.  The check cleared the bank.

The whole fight took 13 months.  It was worth it.

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