U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

In re: Rodriguez, 09-2724

Lender's violation of automatic stay in bankruptcy proceedings

In re: Rodriguez, 09-2724, concerned a challenge to the district court's affirmance of a Bankruptcy Court's determination that Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (Countrywide) did not have a pre-petition claim against the debtors and thus did not violate the automatic stay when it recalculated the debtors' post-petition escrow payments on their mortgage account to include certain pre-petition escrow arrears.

In vacating the judgment, the court remanded the matter in concluding that, the terms of the debtors' mortgage establish that the obligation to pay into the escrow account was enforceable, and as such, Countrywide had a claim for the unpaid escrow for purposes of section 101(5).  The court also held that, whether Countrywide willfully violated the automatic stay and, if so, to the extent, if any, of the debtors' damages, are matters to be resolved on remand.

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