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In re Jones

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
591 F.3d 308 (2010)


David and Kirsten Jones (plaintiffs), residents of West Virginia, purchased a vehicle from DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Americas, LLC (DaimlerChrysler) (defendant) on an installment contract. The contract provided DaimlerChrysler with a security interest in the vehicle to ensure payment and contained a so-called ipso facto clause specifying that the Joneses’ voluntary or involuntary entrance into bankruptcy proceedings would constitute default. David Jones filed a bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7. In the paperwork requiring him to state whether he intended to redeem the vehicle or reaffirm the underlying debt, he indicated neither but simply stated that he would continue making payments. A statutory 45-day period for redemption or reaffirmation expired on July 31, 2006, without any move by Jones to redeem or reaffirm. DaimlerChrysler moved the bankruptcy court to terminate the automatic stay with respect to the vehicle. The court did so, and DaimlerChrysler then repossessed the vehicle pursuant to the ipso facto clause. The Joneses filed an adversary complaint against DaimlerChrysler. The bankruptcy court ordered DaimlerChrysler to return the vehicle on the grounds that Mr. Jones was not legally required to state his intent to redeem or reaffirm and that his decision to continue payments gave him the right to retain the vehicle under the “ride-through” option recognized by the Fourth Circuit. The district court reversed. The Joneses appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Shedd, J.)

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