Tag: personal injury

4th Circuit: Jones v. College of Southern Maryland- Only Chapter 7 Trustee Has Standing in Non-exempt Personal Injury Case


Ms. Jones brought suit against the College of Southern Maryland under the Family and Medical Leave Act and subsequently filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, eventually listing the lawsuit as an asset in her schedules. The Trustee then settled the lawsuit with the College of Southern Maryland for $75,000, with $25,000 to the attorney, as she was the only party having standing to pursue the claim. Ms. Jones objected to this settlement.

The Court of Appeal affirmed that the Trustee was the sole party with standing to prosecute and settle the claim.


This would not be an issue in North Carolina, unlike Maryland, where personal injury claims, even for non-bodily injuries, also unlike the federal exemption, such as the FMLA, would be fully exempt.… Read More

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Bankr. E.D.N.C.: Kozek v. Murphy- Bankruptcy Court Authority to Determine Personal Injury Tort Claim


Following the filing of Ms. Murphy’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy, her ex-husband, Mr. Kozek, brought an adversary proceeding against her for malicious prosecution, seeking both monetary damages and a determination that any such award was nondischargeable pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6). After a bench trial, to which both parties explicitly consented, the bankruptcy court found Ms. Murphy liable to Mr. Kozek in the amount of $8,274.94, which was nondischargeable. While the written judgment was pending, Ms. Murphy brought a Motion to Dismiss, alleging that the bankruptcy court lacked subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(5) to decide the malicious prosecution claim, as a personal injury tort.… Read More

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Bankr. E.D.N.C.: In re Rouse- Exempt Personal Injury Award is not Disposable Income


Around the time of the Confirmation of the Debtors’ plan, the Male Debtor was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Subsequently, he amended his schedules to disclose the personal injury claim and his exemptions to claim the d claimed the full $10,379.35 settlement as exempt property per N.C.G.S. § 1C-1601(a)(8). The Trustee failed to object to the exemption but did seek to have this amount determined to be disposable income.

Relying heavily on In re Graham, 258 B.R. 286 (Bankr. M.D. Fla. 2001), the bankruptcy court disagreed, holding that had “Congress intended ‘disposable income’ to include post-petition exempt personal injury proceeds, Congress could and should have explicitly said so in §§ 1306 and 1325.… Read More

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Bankr. E.D.N.C.: In re Dickerson- Settlement of Civil Lawsuit by Trustee


Dickerson filed Chapter 7 pro se, initially failing to disclose and exempt a pending lawsuit against Bell Partners for personal injuries and pecuniary losses.  The Debtor eventually claimed the lawsuit as fully exempt, but the Trustee objected to the exemption of an pecuniary losses

Dickerson, the Trustee and Bell Partners subsequently agreed, both on the telephone and in emails, to settle the lawsuit for $15,000, consisting of $10,000 in exempt personal injury proceeds and $5,000 for pecuniary losses, that would be available for the bankruptcy estate.  Dickerson then withdrew her consent to this settlement, partly on the basis of her own alleged mental incompetency.… Read More

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