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Adrienne L Butler and Juan J Jackson v. City of Chicago (In Re: Adrienne L Butler)

17 B 25014, 22 A 00189
Debtor/Plaintiff Jackson filed for relief under chapter 13 in 2017.  The City of Chicago seized his car in August 2017, while the case was pending.  Four days later, Debtor/Plaintiff Butler filed her own chapter 13 case.  Jackson had allowed her the possession and use of the car.  Both Plaintiffs demanded the car’s return, which did not occur until they paid a prepetition debt.  Butler sought and obtained dismissal of her case less than two weeks after filing her petition; Jackson’s case was dismissed about six months later.  More than five years after the court dismissed Butler’s case, she and Jackson filed a complaint alleging claims against the City under 11 U.S.C. §§ 362 and 542.  The City filed a motion to dismiss the entire complaint. HELD:  Motion to dismiss granted.  Only Butler sought relief under § 362, and the claims asserted under § 362 are contested matters that must be brought by motion, not by adversary proceeding.  To the extent that Plaintiffs’ claim under § 542 sought damages for failure to turn over the car immediately upon the filing of Butler’s bankruptcy case, it is a contested matter that must be brought by motion.  To the extent that the § 542 count sought an accounting for the value of the temporary loss of the vehicle, it did not state a claim for relief.  Dismissal and closing of the underlying bankruptcy cases did not eliminate Plaintiffs’ ability to seek a finding of contempt for failure to comply with the turnover requirement.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023