Pro se creditor filed adversary proceeding seeking a determination that certain property damages caused by the Debtors to a rental home were non-dischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) as debts “for willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another entity or to the property of another entity.” The creditor asked the Court to find that the doctrine of collateral estoppel applied to the action based on the underlying state court judgment. As there was no indication in the state court judgment that findings were made in that court that would form the basis of a collateral estoppel claim in this Court, the Court held that collateral estoppel did not apply. The Court found that the majority of the damages to the home were a consequence of atrocious living habits that did not rise to the level of malicious or willful action. However, certain damages related to sliding shower doors were held to be non-dischargeable because the Debtor knew with objective certainty that his actions, and subsequent inaction to remedy the damage he caused, would injure the creditor’s property.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018