66 East Main Street, 3rd Floor Little Falls, NJ 07424

Neighbors Fight – Knife and Stun Gun – Debtor’s Act Intentional

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Background

    • Debtor and Plaintiff were neighbors
    • Owned adjoining properties
    • Plaintiff kept pipes and a trailer on his side to keep people off his property.
    • Debtor did not like this and moved the Plaintiff’s trailer
    • Plaintiff moved the trailer back on his own property
    • Later that day, Plaintiff saw the Debtor moving his trailer again, he confronted him with a stun gun to stop him.
    • Debtor pulled out a knife and used it to injure the Plaintiff
    • Debtor claimed self-defense
    • State Court jury in a civil action awarded the Plaintiff $10,000 in damages.
    • Debtor filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy to avoid paying the Plaintiff
  • Plaintiff filed with Bankruptcy Court for a ruling not to allow this debt to be included in the Debtor’s Bankruptcy.

Court Ruling:

  • Debtor’s argument was that the jury did not find that he acted willfully and maliciously and relied on jury verdict indicating “and/or” in their ruling.
  • Court looked at the entirety of the verdict and ruled against the Debtor. Assault and battery are intentional acts and cannot be included in the Debtor’s bankruptcy.
  • You cannot stab someone and look to the Court to grant you relief in bankruptcy.