In a recent ruling by Florida bankruptcy judge Arthur B. Briskman, Bank of America was sanctioned for repeated violations of a debtor's bankruptcy discharge in attempts to collect on a mortgage. The bank is now required to pay $12,500 in sanctions, including $2,500 in attorney's fees.
In this case it was clear that Bank of America was fully aware that the debtors had filed bankruptcy, and it had in fact received a copy of the discharge as well. After receiving their discharge, the debtors received approximately thirty-eight (38) phone calls from the bank, in which representatives stated that they didn’t really care about the bankruptcy and that they would keep calling until the computer system was updated!
Their attorney sent several letters to the bank demanding that the calls cease, but to no avail. The debtors finally had to reopen their case and make a motion for sanctions. The judge heard evidence on the debtor’s damages and the amount of attorney’s fees involved in bringing these actions. He ultimately found that Bank of America had willfully and intentionally violated the discharge injunction. He went even further to find that it’s conduct was "vexatious, wanton and oppressive." He even stated that each phone call was a violation of the discharge injunction!
To make matters even more outrageous, this is not even the first time that Bank of America has been sanctioned for this. It happened in a Texas case in 2009 and again in 2010. This sort of behavior has to stop, and hopefully, bankruptcy judges around the country will follow this lead and protect debtors from abusive creditors.