May 9, 2017

Background:

  • Debtors borrowed money from a creditor to purchase a 41” John Deere Riding Lawn Mower.
  • Debtors filed for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and wanted to file a Motion to Avoid the Lien on the John Deere Mower.
  • Debtors felt the lien on the mower impairs their exemptions and it is personal property not a recreational vehicle, motor vehicle or tractor.
  • Creditor presented that the John Deere Riding Lawn Mower was a motorized vehicle which attachments could be placed on the mower and thus is a motor vehicle/tractor which cannot be exempted.
  • Creditor also stated that it was not a personal item that could be used only for cutting grass but also could be used to haul or power implements.

Court Ruling:

  • Court noted that the John Deere in question had one main function – to cut grass. Any other function would be a secondary, less efficient use of the machine.
  • As such, it was a lawn mower, not a lawn tractor.
  • The Court ruled that the John Deere was primarily used to cut grass not for short trips/transportation by the Debtors and could not be considered a motor vehicle/tractor.
  • Debtor was able to keep mower and avoid lien because it was a mower and not a vehicle or tractor.

Bankruptcy can be complicated and technical and you should always seek the advice or presentation by a Certified Bankruptcy Attorney when filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.