31 Mar Sanctions Victory in Massachusetts
The Bankruptcy Law Network’s Jed Berliner recently scored an impressive victory in the case of In re Panek, No. 03-46692 (Bankr.D.Mass. March 5, 2009). Attorney Berliner, on behalf of his client, Panek, sued Delta Management Associates, Inc. and others for violating the automatic stay and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act for withdrawing money from Panek’s bank account after his bankruptcy case was filed.
After some preliminaries, Attorney Berliner and counsel for the defendant reported to the Court that they had settled the case for $6,000. However, counsel for the defendant subsequently failed to appear at hearings or act to consummate the settlement with Attorney Berliner. Consequently, the Court took up the matter and, citing “arrogant defiance,” increased the punitive damage portion of the award to $10,000, a sizable increase from the negotiated amount of $760. The Court also imposed $1,000 per day penalty on the defendant for each day that the award was not paid, running from the expiration of the appeals deadline. Congratulations to Attorney Berliner.
Nicholas Ortiz, Boston Bankruptcy Attorney
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