An v. Kwon (In re An)

In re An, No. CC-16-1001-KuFKi (9th Cir. B.A.P. July 27, 2016). Not for publication.
A California state-court judgment awarding damages for wrongful possession of real property can support a 523(a)(6) judgment for willful and malicious injury.
Procedural context:
In a 523(a)(6) action, the bankruptcy court ruled for the creditor, Kwon, and against the debtor, An. On appeal, the BAP affirmed.
Kwon, a landlord of An, obtained a judgment against An for possession and damages of $1.6 million based on An’s wrongful possession of the leased premises. Even though An’s entry into possession of the premises was pursuant to a lease, An’s wrongful interference with Kwon’s right to possess the premises violated An’s general, non-contractual duty not to interfere with Kwon’s right to possession of real property and was tortious under California law. Thus, the claim represented by the judgment sounds in tort, not contract, and it could support a claim for willful and malicious injury under 523(a)(6).
Frank L. Kurtz, Robert J. Faris, and Ralph B. Kirscher, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel Judges.

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