Trost v. Trost (In re Trost)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. June 28, 2017)

The Sixth Circuit B.A.P. affirms the bankruptcy court’s entry of summary judgment, finding the debt owed to the plaintiff nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6). The plaintiff had obtained a judgment against the debtors in state court on a conversion claim. The court holds that collateral estoppel applies and the elements of § 523(a)(6) were satisfied by the state court judgment. Opinion below.

Judge: Delk

Attorneys for Debtors: Schram, Behan & Behan, Michael R. Behan; Eiler Law Firm, Christian Michael Eiler

Attorneys for Plaintiff: Troy Richmond Hendrickson

2017-06-28 – in re trost

Author: Matt Lindblom

Nelson v. Taylor (In re Taylor)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Nov. 28, 2016)

The bankruptcy court enters summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in this 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) nondischargeability action. The plaintiffs had obtained a state court default judgment against the debtor for damages caused to them when the debtor drove to their home and shot one of the plaintiffs and injured the other plaintiff with flying debris. The court holds that collateral estoppel bars the debtor from relitigating the issue of whether the debtor caused a willful and malicious injury to the plaintiffs. Opinion below.

Judge: Wise

Attorney for Plaintiff: Noah R. Friend Law Firm, PLLC, Noah R. Friend

Attorney or Defendant: Jeanne K. Channell

2016-11-28-in-re-taylor

Author: Matt Lindblom

Juett v. Casciano (In re Casciano)

(6th Cir. B.A.P. Jan. 11, 2016)

The B.A.P. reverses the bankruptcy court’s determination that, for purposes of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) the debtor did not “willfully” cause an injury to the plaintiff when he punched the plaintiff in the face. The bankruptcy court incorrectly required that the plaintiff prove that the debtor intended to cause the specific harm that resulted. Further, while self-defense may negate a finding of “malicious” conduct under that Code section, the bankruptcy court failed to analyze the facts under the applicable law on self-defense. Finally, the court holds that references to the Debtor’s conviction by a plea of nolo contendere are inadmissible in the non-dischargeability action. Opinion below.

2016-01-11 – in re casciano

Author: Matt Lindblom

CMCO Mortgage, LLC v. Hill

(Bankr. W.D. Ky. Nov. 2, 2015)

The bankruptcy court grants the creditor’s motion for summary judgment in this nondischargeability action. The creditor had obtained a default judgment against the debtor in state court, after the debtor ceased participating in that litigation. The default judgment contained specific findings of fact that satisfied the elements of 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6), which applies to claims for conduct causing a “willful and malicious injury.” The court holds that collateral estoppel applies and summary judgment is appropriate. Opinion below.

2015-11-02 – cmco mortgage v hill

Author: Matt Lindblom

Smith v. Montgomery (In re Montgomery)

(Bankr. S.D. Ind. Apr. 28, 2015)

The bankruptcy court dismisses the creditor’s complaint objecting to the discharge of her claim under § 523(a)(6). The Chapter 13 debtor was proceeding towards a full-compliance discharge under § 1328(a), and thus would be entitled to a discharge of debts under 523(a)(6). The court reasons that the issues raised by the creditor are not ripe for review unless and until the debtor moves for a hardship discharge, in which case debts described in § 523(a)(6) would not be discharged. Opinion below.

2015-04-28 – smith v montgomery

Author: Matt Lindblom

Gerard v. Gerard

(7th Cir. Mar. 12, 2015)

The Seventh Circuit reverses the bankruptcy court’s decision applying issue preclusion in favor of the plaintiff in this nondischargeability action. Prepetition, the plaintiff obtained a state court slander of title judgment against the debtor. The plaintiff then filed the nondischargeability action under 523(a)(6) and argued to the bankruptcy court that the jury findings precluded the debtor from defending against the claim. The bankruptcy court held preclusion applied and the district court affirmed. The court reverses, holding the jury findings indicate that the jury determined that the debtor either acted with the requisite intent or acted negligently. Thus, issue preclusion should not apply and the plaintiff must prove the requisite intent in the adversary proceeding. Opinion below.

2015-03-12 – gerard v gerard

Author: Matt Lindblom

Sager v. Bennett (In re Bennett)

(Bankr. E.D. Ky. Jan. 7, 2015)

The bankruptcy court had found the debtor liable to her landlord for damage done to the leased property and held that liability nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C § 523(a)(6), because the debtor willfully and maliciously caused the damage. The court had also avoided a preferential transfer to the landlord, granting the debtor’s requested relief in her counterclaim. Here, the court holds that the landlord is entitled to recover its attorney fees as part of the nondischargeable debt. The Kentucky statute permits recovery of reasonable attorney fees when a tenant willfully breaches a lease. The court also holds that the landlord is entitled to set-off the preference liability against the nondischargeability judgment. Because the nondischargeability judgment and the preference judgment were both post-petition mutual obligations, set-off is permitted. Opinion below.

2015-01-07 – sager v bennett