Theodore Thompson (plaintiff) purchased a 2003 Chevy Impala on an installment contract with General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) in April 2003. Thompson defaulted on the contract, and GMAC repossessed the vehicle on January 24, 2008. A few days later, Thompson filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13. The day after filing for bankruptcy, Thompson requested that GMAC return the vehicle so that he could commute to work. GMAC refused to return the vehicle, because Thompson did not prove that he could provide adequate protection for GMAC’s secured interest. Thompson filed a motion in the bankruptcy court for sanctions against GMAC under the automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code for GMAC's failure to return the vehicle. The bankruptcy court denied the motion. Thompson appealed directly to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.