Although courts are reluctant to shift attorneys' fees in legal matters, Congress has made special exceptions to protect individuals in unique positions or to discourage certain undesirable behavior. With § 362(k)(1), Congress made an express exception to allow debtors to recover attorneys' fees after a creditor willfully violates the automatic stay. For nearly twenty-five years, courts have interpreted § 362(k)(1) to allow debtors to recover attorneys' fees incurred by seeking damages against the automatic stay violator. However, in Sternberg v. Johnston, the Ninth Circuit created a split in authority when it refused to allow a debtor to recover the full extent of his attorneys' fees under § 362(k)(1).
To Include or to Not Include: Examining When Attorneys' Fees May Be Awarded Under § 362(k)(1),
Emory Bankr. Dev. J.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/ebdj/vol29/iss2/7