November 7, 2016Shame on You

Law firm that sued Debtor must pay $50,000 in punitive damages, plus.

Details of Case:

  • Debtor filed bankruptcy.
  • Debtor was a basketball coach and was sued by a former player for sexual contact.
  • Law Firm who represented player dismissed their law suit against the coach.
  • Law Firm was notified of the Bankruptcy.
  • One year later, the Law Firm filed a Complaint in State Court for damages from the Debtor.
  • Debtor (pro se) filed an Answer to the Complaint and copied the Law Firm.
  • Law Firm claimed they did not receive the answer since it was sent to the wrong address.
  • Debtor mailed the notice to the lead associate working on the case.

Court Ruling:

  • Although the Debtor was “not an admirable person”, he was entitled to the protections afforded to Debtors through bankruptcy.
  • Law Firm was very familiar with the bankruptcy code.
  • Law Firm used this re-filing as a tactical maneuver to try to collect from a debtor who received a discharge in bankruptcy.
  • Court found the law firms’ actions to be egregious.
  • Court ordered the law firm to pay the Debtor $50,000.00 in punitive damages as well as actual damages of $23,132.00.
  • Law Firms cannot plead ignorance when try to get around the bankruptcy code and protection to debtors.

This law firm was sloppy and arrogant.  Rather than re-filing a Complaint, they could have filed a Complaint in Bankruptcy Court to determine the dischargeability of this debt.

Hiring a Certified Bankruptcy Attorney affords you the confidence that you will not suffer because of your attorney’s ignorance or lack of fully understanding the bankruptcy code.