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Mitchell v. BankIllinois (In re Mitchell)

United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas
316 B.R. 891 (2003)


Facts

Georgina Mitchell (plaintiff) purchased a vehicle with financing from BankIllinois (defendant). BankIllinois repossessed the car when Mitchell failed to make payments. Immediately after the car was repossessed, Mitchell filed a petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Mitchell notified BankIllinois that she had filed for bankruptcy, and provided BankIllinois with proof that the car was insured. Mitchell also demanded that BankIllinois return the car to her. When BankIllinois refused, Mitchell filed a complaint for damages in bankruptcy court. BankIllinois argued that the car did not belong to Mitchell’s bankruptcy estate, because the car was repossessed prior to her filing for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court disagreed with BankIllinois and concluded that the car was the property of Mitchell’s bankruptcy estate. The bankruptcy court also found that BankIllinois had violated an automatic stay that was created when Mitchell filed for bankruptcy. Accordingly, the bankruptcy court ordered BankIllinois to return the car to Mitchell. BankIllinois appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rosenthal, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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