Bankruptcy Creditor’s Proof of Claim that a Lawn Mower is considered a motor vehicle/tractor did not hold up. Proof of Claims are tricky, at times, in bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Asset is a John Deere Riding Mower https://www.deere.com/en/mowers/lawn-tractors/:
- Debtors borrowed money from a creditor to purchase a 41” John Deere Riding Lawn Mower.
- The Debtors file for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and wanted to file a Motion to Avoid the Lien on the John Deere Mower.
- The lien on the mower impairs their exemptions.
- It is personal property not a recreational vehicle, motor vehicle, or tractor.
- The Bankruptcy Creditor presents 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.
- The creditor also stated that it was not a personal item that could be used only for cutting grass.
- The bankruptcy asset had another use to haul or power implements.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Court Ruling on Bankruptcy Creditor’s Position.
- The court notes that the John Deere in question has one main function – to cut grass. Any other function would be a secondary, less efficient use of the machine.
- As such, it was a lawnmower, not a lawn tractor.
- The Court rules that the John Deere is primarily used to cut grass not for short trips/transportation by the Debtors.
- The court disagrees with Bankruptcy Creditor’s position.
- The asset could not be considered a motor vehicle/tractor.
- The debtor was able to keep the mower and avoid the lien because it was a mower and not a vehicle or tractor.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Creditor’s claim on this asset was denied.
Bankruptcy can be complicated and technical, Bankruptcy Creditor’s Proof of Claims must be evaluated carefully. They have a major impact on a Debtor’s case.
Seek the advice or representation by a Certified Bankruptcy Attorney when filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.