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Saturday Night’s all right for fightin’- except in bankruptcy

Posted by Kevin on August 13, 2011 under Bankruptcy Blog | Be the First to Comment

The object of a consumer bankruptcy is to get a discharge of your debts.  That means that you do not have to pay them back.  The Code, however, has certain exceptions to discharge.  Among them is a debt for willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another person or the property of another person or entity.

In a recent bankruptcy case from Virginia, the debtor was in a bar.  A brawl broke out in the parking lot.  The debtor was not part of the altercation and did not know anyone who was.  But, he had to jump into the fray.  While dispensing justice, the debtor beat down the plaintiff who was on the ground defenseless.  At that point, the debtor could have walked away, but I guess he couldn’t help himself.  So, the debtor jumped back in and kicked the plaintiff two more times as the plaintiff tried to get up.

Plaintiff sued and then brought action in the bankruptcy court to get a ruling that the injury was not dischargeable.  The Judge did not buy debtor’s argument that he was a white knight trying to help out people (that he did not know) that were getting beat up.  The Judge said that the debtor should have minded his own business.  The clincher for the Judge was the double drop kick on plaintiff when he was trying to get up.  Judge said debtor did not need to re-engage and this proved it was willful and malicious.

Lesson- when you see a fight that does not involve you, MYOB and walk on by.

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