A Houston bankruptcy judge, Hon. Marvin Isgur, recently made it very clear that once a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed, a recovery company or repossession company must return the repossessed truck back to the debtor. And if the vehicle was damaged while the recovery company had it, the recovery company (and in this case the mechanic that had ordered the repossession) must pay damages. Ramirez v. Mr. Transmission, et al, Adversary No. 13-03067, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Texas, Memorandum Opinion of May 6, 2014.

Jimmy Ramirez had his 2001 Ford F250 repossessed for a mechanic's lien held by Mr. Transmission. Ramirez filed chapter 13, and the mechanic and the repo company apparently got cross-ways about returning the truck, so Ramirez sued them both in bankruptcy court.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur ruled after a trial that the mechanic and the repo company both must pay Ramirez's damages, including physical damage to the truck, attorney fees and costs, and punitive damages to be determined at a later hearing.

So if you are in financial trouble and have a vehicle repossessed in Houston or surrounding counties, don't hesitate to hire a good bankruptcy lawyer to file chapter 13. So long as the vehicle has not already been sold, it should be possible to get it back, and quickly. And if it has been damaged, you should also be able to recover the cost of repair as well as your attorney fees.

Do you think the court ruled correctly? Why or why not? Please give your comments below.

If you live or own property in the Houston, Texas area, call our office anytime at 713-772-8037 for an appointment or for free infomation. We accept cases from the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Chambers, Colorado, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller, Wharton.


J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
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