(S.D. Ind. Feb. 27, 2015)
The district court affirms the bankruptcy court’s decision dismissing the creditor’s nondischargeability claim. The creditor had paid child support payments to the debtor, his ex-wife, prepetition. He sought reimbursement of payments made after his daughter stopped attending school, and the debtor then filed bankruptcy seeking to discharge the claim. The creditor sought to declare the debt nondischargeable under § 523(a)(2)(A), asserting that the payments were obtained under false pretenses. The debtor and creditor had little to no communications during the relevant time period, and the creditor had not been made aware of the fact that his daughter had stopped attending school. The court holds that the bankruptcy court may have erred in requiring the creditor to put forward evidence of a false statement by the debtor (the Seventh Circuit does not necessarily require such a showing), but it was a harmless error because the debtor failed to prove the debtor had the requisite fraudulent intent in accepting the payments. The bankruptcy court’s decision on that point was not clearly erroneous. Opinion below.
Author: Matt Lindblom