Houston, TX asked in Bankruptcy for Arizona

Q: If a debtor files bankruptcy, what is the likelihood of my property damage judgement being non-dischargeable?

A roommate and I had a disagreement and he severely damaged my vehicle and home after making threats against me. He signed a promissory note before moving out and then avoided me. I won a judgement against him and he still refuses to pay anything. I am concerned that if/when I garnish his wages that he may file bankruptcy. If this happens, what would be the likelihood of making my debt non-dischargeable based on malicious intent of injury to property? Would fraud be a likely defense considering he never had intent to pay me back before signing the note? Would it be easy for him to file bankruptcy if I am his only real creditor? Is there any other defense that may be at my disposal?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Leonard Sominsky
Leonard Sominsky
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: It is impossible to accurately answer if your ex-roommate can file for bankruptcy without asking him a lot of questions about his income and expenses, liabilities and how long he has resided in Arizona. (the # of creditors is not really a limiting factor) However, your judgement against him will be presumed non dischargeable, unless in his hypothetical case, you file a motion to allege otherwise based on willful and malicious conduct per 11 U.S.C. §523(a)6. The fact that you already have a judgement for the alleged conduct may complicate matters and limit your case because your claims have been reduced to the judgement and if the judgement does not allege the intentional, willful and malicious nature of the conduct, you may be prevented from reasserting those claims in his bankruptcy case. Hope this helps. You may consider bringing in your judgement to an experienced Bankruptcy lawyer for a review.

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