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Harass your Neighbor – Non-Dischargeable in Bankruptcy

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You may want to be nice to your neighbors for many reasons – consider this:

A case ruling recently involved a debt to a neighbor who was continually harassed and endured emotional distress.   From the civil case transcript, the Bankruptcy Court Judge determined that this was a long and continuing action that the Debtor took against his/her neighbor.

The goal of the Debtor was to drive the neighbor out of their home.   The Court also noted that, although the Debtor stated that the neighbor continually broke town ordinances, there were no records of the township issuing any complaints for violations of city or state regulations.

In the State Court non-jury trial, the Debtor was ordered to pay the neighbor $217,100.00.  What did the Debtor do following this Court ruling?  – Filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy assuming this debt would be dischargeable.   Wrong….

The Bankruptcy Court ruled that it was clear from the evidence that the Debtor intended to harm their neighbor.    The Debtor’s conduct was found to malicious and, based on the trial records, the debtor’s actions were wrongful and met the requirement of malice under the Bankruptcy Code.  Therefore, the Debtor was liable to pay this debt since it was non-dischargeable.

Being malicious is not only wrong but also hard to run from in Bankruptcy Court.