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The automatic stay arguably represents the most powerful tool available to a debtor seeking a fresh start through bankruptcy. Not surprisingly, therefore, courts tend to strictly enforce the stay and will often impose penalties, particularly under circumstances where the stay violation was intentional. For that reason, a recent U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Tenth Circuit opinion presents an interesting counterpoint by concluding that a willful violation of the automatic stay did not require the imposition of damages under circumstances where it would be fruitless to do so and contrary to the overall purposes of the Bankruptcy Code. (See Rushton v. Bank of Utah (In re C.W. Mining Co.), Ch. 7 Case Bankr. No. 08-20105, Adv. No. 10-02712, 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 4114 (B.A.P. 10th Cir. Sept. 5, 2012).)

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