After the filing of a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, a lender secured by Debtor's automobile learned that the vehicle was to be sold to satisfy an alleged mechanic’s lien. The lender notified the mechanic that consummation of the sale was barred by the stay of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a). The mechanic went forward with the foreclosure, purchased the vehicle for a sum less than was owed to the secured creditor, and thereupon sold the vehicle. HELD: A secured creditor may recover actual and punitive damages sustained on account of a willful violation of the automatic stay by a third party.
Restated Opinion docketed November 15, 2004