Now Updating
In re: LTL MANAGEMENT, LLC

Summarizing by Bradley Pearce

Wendy Adelson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC

Summarizing by Amir Shachmurove

In re Hayley Marie Robinson

Case Type:
Consumer
Case Status:
Affirmed
Citation:
WW-21-1042-TLB (9th Circuit, Aug 12,2021) Not Published
Tag(s):
Ruling:
The Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel upheld the bankruptcy court's findings that the debtor had defamed creditor and that the defamation constituted willful and malicious injury under section 523(a)(6) such that the debt was non-dischargeable in the debtor's bankruptcy.
Procedural context:
Prior to the debtor's bankruptcy, creditor had sued debtor in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington seeking $2 million in damages for alleged false statements. After debtor filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditor filed an adversary proceeding seeking to have debtor's debt to him declared nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(6) based on his state law claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The bankruptcy court held a two-day trial and then ruled that creditor had established the elements for defamation under Washington law and for a declaration of nondischargeability of the resulting damages under section 523(a)(6). The court also granted relief from the automatic stay for the parties to return to the district court for a determination of damages, where the district court assessed general damages against the debtor for $15,000. Debtor appealed the bankruptcy court rulings.
Facts:
Debtor had flown to Washington, D.C. with her then-boyfriend to appear in an erotic photoshoot run by creditor through his business. Creditor was also a United States Marine. Debtor and her boyfriend stayed at creditor's house with another model. While there, debtor and creditor had various disagreements. Subsequently, an incident occurred between creditor and the other model, and several days later debtor and her boyfriend moved out of creditor's house. Debtor then posted a video on Facebook in which she stated that creditor sexually assaulted the other model. Many models saw the video and commented that they would no longer work with creditor. Creditor was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service ("NCIS") and discharged from the military due to the incident (initially under other than honorable conditions but later changed to "General Under Honorable Conditions"). Debtor later posted another video on Facebook gloating that creditor was being investigated by NCIS and that he was "done" as a photographer. Several months later, debtor apologized to creditor for accusing him of sexual assault and believing the other model's assertion that a sexual assault occurred. Debtor also posted a statement on Facebook referencing her earlier video posts and explaining that the sexual assault allegation was false.
Judge(s):
Taylor, Lafferty, and Brand

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