Lampe v. Kash, No. 12-4487 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
In 2004, Lampe won a $25,000 judgment against Kash. Kash could not pay his debts and sought bankruptcy protection in 2012. When he submitted a list of creditors, under Bankruptcy Rule 1007(a) Kash omitted Lampe’s residential address, listing her in care of the law firm that represented her eight years earlier. The firm stopped working for Lampe in 2004, and the notice never reached Lampe, who did not participate in the bankruptcy case, which discharged the judgment debt. After the discharge, Lampe returned to the district court, seeking to revive her judgment. The district court rejected her claim. The Sixth Circuit reversed. A debt is a creditor’s property, and the Due Process Clause entitles her to service of notice “reasonably calculated” to reach her before she is deprived of that property. Notification to a former attorney provides little assurance that the notice will reach the creditor. Lawyers have “no general continuing obligation” to pass information along to people they no longer represent. Nothing in the record suggested that the search for Lampe’s address would have imposed an unreasonable burden on Kash; without further investigation, any belief that the firm still worked for Lampe in 2012 was unreasonable.