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Of all the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, Section 362 pertaining to the automatic stay appears more straightforward than most. In spite of the apparent simplicity of the statutory language, however, bankruptcy courts continue to referee disputes regarding the boundaries of the stay, and 2017 saw two Third Circuit decisions and one reported New Jersey Bankruptcy Court decision involving the stay. The lesson: be cautious before engaging in post-petition conduct. As the cases below illustrate, violations of the stay can result in damages, including damages for emotional distress and punitive damages.

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