I came across this case listed in Thomsonreuters https://legal.thomsonreuters.com This case is interesting. For this reason, I am sharing this bankruptcy case with you.
In this way, you see what happens when you do not wait a day before writing something. The debtor was angry when he wrote a letter. As a result, this one angry letter adversely affects the debtor’s bankruptcy case.
A written document is permanent, A written document is clear as to intentions. Written words adversely affect you in many ways. One of the consequences is not discharging a debt in bankruptcy.
Here is the background of this case:
- A Nurse Practitioner was employed by a Doctor for a period of time.
- During that time, the Doctor spent a considerable amount of time training the Nurse Practitioner.
- With the training given, the Nurse Practitioner gains much knowledge and improves her medical skills.
- As a result of her performance, the Nurse Practitioner is given excellent reviews by the Doctor.
- Even though the Nurse is doing well, she decides to seek employment with another Doctor.
What happened next?
- When the Doctor found out she was leaving his employ, he was furious.
- The Doctor invested a great deal of time grooming the Nurse Practitioner.
- The Doctor immediately lashes out at the Nurse.
- During the period when he was angry, the Doctor writes damaging correspondence.
- This correspondence is sent to the nursing licensing board.
- The Doctor knew that this correspondence is damaging to her career.
- As a result of his correspondence, a full investigation of the Nurse Practitioner took place.
- Although she did not lose her job, she did suffer considerable damage to her career.
- The Nurse sued her former employer, the Doctor, in State Court.
- The Nurse is awarded $150K.
- Seeing the large amount of money he owes, the Doctor has no choice but to file bankruptcy.
- In his bankruptcy petition, he lists the $150K award to gain approval in bankruptcy court to discharge this debt.
Here is the outcome and the effect the letter had on the Debtor’s bankruptcy:
- The Bankruptcy Judge ruled that the $150K could not be discharged in the Doctor’s bankruptcy.
- It was very clear as to the motives of the Doctor.
- The Doctor acted maliciously.
- With this correspondence, it was very clear that he knew his statements would cause harm to his former employee, the Nurse Practitioner.
- The statements were not only exaggerated but also false.
- In this case, the acts of the Doctor were willful and intentional.
Final Effect on the Debtor’s bankruptcy case:
- As a result, the Doctor still owes $150K to his former employee, the Nurse Practitioner, even after bankruptcy.
This debt was not discharged in bankruptcy. You can see that Bankruptcy Code has very specific rules. These rules affect what debts can and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
When you write something, think of the consequences. Look at the long-term effects and totality of your intentions. Take the time to stop, think and wait. Do not convey something in anger. Do not write something when you are angry.
Once you write and publish your words – you cannot take them back. You do not know how even a letter can adversely affect your bankruptcy case.
I am a New Jersey Bankruptcy attorney specializing in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 Bankruptcies.