Federal Bankruptcy Saves Maryland School Bus Driver

Unaware of a brewing legal situation with her former landlord, a Baltimore County bus driver narrowly avoided disaster by filing for bankruptcy, according to an article by The Baltimore Sun.

The bus driver in question was ordered to pay $7,100, after a court rendered a decision for her landlord. When the bus driver failed to appear in court, the judge tacked on additional penalties. Eventually, the judge ordered a body attachment, calling for authorities to detain the bus driver and bring her to court.

The bus driver maintains that she never received notice to appear in court. Moreover, the bus driver challenges the amount claimed by the landlord. She maintains that cleaning and upkeep fees were vastly overstated and that the landlord failed to credit her security deposit.

Before the court case began, the landlord claimed a debt of $4,637.76. After the court decision awarded court and attorney’s fees as well as interest, the judgment totaled $7,100.

I can be Arrested for Failing to Pay a Debt?!

As detailed by the Maryland Courts, a body attachment allows authorities to detain an individual and bring them to court. This rule only applies in three specific situations. Two of those situations involve witnesses. A third situation applies to our present question, involving anyone “who fails to comply with a court order in a civil action.”

Using the school bus driver as an example, her landlord filed a civil action for an original debt of $4,637.76. Notice to appear in court went out to the bus driver and the landlord. But the bus driver did not appear in court. The judge ruled in favor of the landlord, awarding a total of $7,100. The judge also issued a body attachment, ordering authorities to bring the bus driver to court.

That being said, the bus driver claims that after moving she never received any notices to appear in court. The bus driver also claims that the amount of debt is inflated. Overall, the bus driver declared bankruptcy and wiped the slate clean.

Circling back to our original question, yes, you can be arrested for failing to pay a debt. This rule only applies in extreme situations. Judges do not generally issue body attachment orders until a party fails to appear multiple times. This underscores the need to pay attention to any court notices or orders.

Do You Need Legal Counsel from a Seasoned Bankruptcy Attorney?

Whether you face mounting debts or a body attachment, it can be a terrifying experience. The stress can be crippling. But with the advice and counsel of a seasoned bankruptcy attorney, you can navigate toward an effective resolution.

With more than 40 years of experience serving clients, Hassan, Hassan & Tuchman can help you overcome a wide range of debt and bankruptcy issues. If you have questions about wage garnishment, foreclosure and other bankruptcy concerns, please do not hesitate. Contact us today for a free consultation at our Baltimore office. You can reach our attorneys by calling 410.669.5070 or by completing a simple online form.