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Law Firm Called Sloppy and Arrogant – $50K+ punitive damages to Debtor

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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 the right attorney affords you the confidence that you will not suffer because of your attorney’s ignorance or lack of fully understanding the bankruptcy code.