Judge Haines recently ruled on the type of notice to which creditors are entitled in bankruptcy in the case of Harvey v. United Technologies. Andrea Bopp Stark from our law firm successfully argued that providing creditors notice by mail at their billing address, when no other address is given to the debtor by the creditor, is sufficient to properly notify the creditor of the bankruptcy proceeding. Once properly notified, the creditor can be liable for violations of the automatic stay if the creditor continues to contact the debtor after the bankruptcy filing.
In the Harvey case, United Technologies sent the debtor billing statements with no address to which the debtor could send correspondence. The only address the creditor gave the debtor was a payment address. After United Technologies continued to contact the debtor after his bankruptcy filing, and received correspondence warnings from debtor's counsel of the automatic stay, litigation was commenced in the Bankruptcy Court to stop the automatic stay violations. United Technologies argued it did not receive adequate notice of the bankrutpcy filing because it had advised the debtor not to write to the only address the debtor had for United Technologies.
Judge Haines concluded that Untied Technologies could not, in essence, "put its hands over its ears to prevent hearing the warnings" of the bankruptcy filing. The case is now set for discovery and further litigation unless it is resolved by settlement.