The court of first instance number 6 of Lleida (mercantile) has applied the Second Chance Law to forgive a debt of 1.012.000 euros to a lorry driver who personally guaranteed loans in 2008 to a transport company of which he was a partner. The affected person had fallen into a situation of total insolvency after the non-payment caused the banks to demand that he make all the payments.
According to the order, the court grants the exoneration of the unsatisfied liabilities to the affected person, who explains that “he did not understand why he had to face the totality of the debt” in spite of wanting to pay his part, a situation that caused him “years of suffering” and a “constant restlessness”, for what he expresses that “this news has supposed a very big relief”.
Marta Bergadà, lawyer and founding partner of Bergadà Asociados, who handled the case, points out that the firm has noticed an increase in the number of cases in which entrepreneurs in a state of imminent insolvency have applied for the Second Chance Law, partly due to the end of the ICO guarantees granted after the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also highlights factors such as electricity rises, the rising cost of supplies, interest rate rises and the drought, which particularly affect restaurateurs, farmers, stockbreeders and winegrowers. In the case of the lorry driver, he points out that he “did not trust [the Second Chance Law] due to lack of knowledge”, but that he called the firm at the beginning of 2022.
THE CRISIS AND THE BANKS’ CLAIMS
The lorry driver, who already had a company, had decided to become a partner in the above-mentioned company, in which four partners each held 25 % and personally guaranteed the banking and financial transactions.
The real estate and financial crisis meant that the company was unable to meet its obligations, and in 2012 he left the transport company and transferred his shares, after receiving the first legal claims.
In 2013, the first seizure was notified to the affected party by the court. As Bergadà explains, “the seizure was derived from the debts incurred by the company of which he was a partner, for having lent his guarantee to it”. All attempts to negotiate with various entities failed because they all demanded that he pay the full amount of the debt “and it was impossible for him to cover the total amount of the liabilities”, according to the lawyer.
The Lleida-born man points out that the bank that took the lion’s share of the debt had offered him a restructuring that he considered “totally unfeasible”. “During this time I have continued to work as a lorry driver, as an employee, and so we have barely managed to get by, because the repossessions have not stopped,” he says, adding that, “in addition, during this period of time there were also threats from the banks”.
After initial contact, the affected party provided the relevant documentation to the office. After being informed of the decision, he says he was “stunned”, but now he has the opportunity to “live in peace” with his family, “without being on the fringes of society”. “We will have to go step by step to get used to this new situation,” he says.