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IN RE: RODRIGUEZ | NJ Bankruptcy Court awards debtors counsel 85K fees because Countrywide willfully violated the automatic stay pursuant to § 362(k)

IN RE: RODRIGUEZ | NJ Bankruptcy Court awards debtors counsel 85K fees because Countrywide willfully violated the automatic stay pursuant to § 362(k)


UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

Re: In re Rodriguez (Chapter 13)
Case No. 07-24687 (MBK)

EXCERPT:

D. The Attorneys’ Fees Requested are Reasonable
Having ruled that the Debtors are entitled to attorneys’ fees, the Court must determine whether the requested fees are reasonable. See Miller, supra, 447 B.R. at 434 (“For Debtors to recover attorneys’ fees, however, such fees must be reasonable and necessary”). Indeed, the policy to discourage willful stay violations is tempered by a reasonableness standard. Id. While such policy guards against excessive litigation, however, it was Countrywide’s actions that created such substantial litigation costs to the Debtors in this case. Moreover, Countrywide has voiced no objection to the reasonableness of the fees requested by Debtors’ counsel. The Court has reviewed the documentation in support of the requested attorneys’ fees and regards the fees to be reasonable in light of the work performed in this case.

V. Conclusion
For the foregoing reasons, this Court: (i) finds that Countrywide willfully violated the
automatic stay pursuant to § 362(k), (ii) awards damages to the Debtors in the form of attorneys’
fees in the amount of $85,033.814, and (iii) directs Countrywide to make payment of the award
to “Francisco and Anna Rodriguez, in care of Abelson & Truesdale, LLC” within 30 days of
entry of this ruling. The Court will enter an order consistent with its findings.

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