- Marshall v. Honeywell Technology Systems Inc. No. 14-7190 (July 12, 2016)
- The district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that the Debtor's non-disclosure of the underlying discrimination complaint on the ground of judicial estoppel, stemming from her failure to disclose the lawsuit and related administrative proceedings on the schedules she filed with the bankruptcy court.
- Procedural context:
- Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No.1:05-cv-02502)
- Debtor, a resident of the District of Columbia, did not disclose several administrative actions in her September 2005 Chapter 7 petition. Debtor did not list or disclose the proceedings but did make an oral statement in response to a direct inquiry at her meeting of the creditors. Her attorney in the discrimination claims did have a telephone conversation with the trustee, but no schedules were updated or amplified. Debtor also made other misrepresentations of fact with regard to the paid petition preparer and other aspects of her schedules. Post-filing for relief, she received a "right to sue" letter from the EEOC and filed the age discrimination Complaint in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The Trustee filed a "Notice of Possible Dividends" without specifically identifying the legal claims. In 2007, the Debtor expanded her lawsuits to include additional charges. The Debtor did not reflect any of these matters in her schedules or filings. The District Court dismissed the legal action in 2009 as the claims "became the property of the estate when she filed her" petition. Debtor then attempts to amend her petition and the Trustee had the matter reinstated, but was unable to have an attorney takeover the discrimination action on a contingency. The action then reverted to the Debtor. The defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis of judicial estoppel, arguing that the Debtor's deception barred her from pursing the action. The district court granted the summary judgment. Under an abuse of discretion standard, the appellate court found no error in the trial court's granting of summary judgment. A dissent was filed noting that the matter should have survived summary judgment on the intent of the debtor and whether the non-disclosures were inadvertent.
- Before Karen LeCraft Henderson and Thomas B. Griffith, Circuit Judges, and Senior Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph. Senior Circuit Judge Randolph filed the opinion of the Court, with a reasoned dissent by Circuit Judge Griffith.
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