§523(a)(9) Exception to Discharge for Damage Caused by Drunk Driving Does Not Apply to Debtor Who Allowed Another Person to Driver her Car

§523(a)(9) Exception to Discharge for Damage Caused by Drunk Driving Does Not Apply to Debtor Who Allowed Another Person to Driver her Car

On June 6, 2006, Defendant was a passenger in her own vehicle, as it was being driven by a non-debtor third party, Clifford Brown. At that time, Plaintiff, an officer with the Police Department, was driving a marked police van. When the Sheriff’s Department attempted to initiate a traffic stop, with Plaintiff on the scene as back-up, Brown tried to evade the police. A collision ensued between Defendant’s vehicle and Plaintiff’s van, injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that both Defendant and Brown were intoxicated at the time. He also claims not only to have incurred medical expenses and lost wages, but to have received permanent injuries from the collision.

On January, 6, 2009, the  County Court of Common Pleas entered a default judgment against both Defendant and Brown, awarding Plaintiff $35,000 in compensatory damages, and $65,000 in punitive damages against Brown. Punitive damages were not assessed against Defendant.

Defendant filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case on February 22, 2017. Plaintiff commenced this adversary complaint on May 17, 2017, seeking nondischargeability under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(9). On June 16, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

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