Bankruptcy Court Gnaws Whether Dog Bite Non-Dischargeability Claim is De Jure Not A Willful and Malicious Injury

Bankruptcy Court Gnaws Whether Dog Bite Non-Dischargeability Claim is De Jure Not A Willful and Malicious Injury

On May 3, 2019, the Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Mexico ruled on Defendants’ motion to dismiss in a dischargeability adversary complaint. The complaint alleges that the City of Albuquerque determined after notice and administrative hearing that the Defendant’s dog was dangerous, and Defendants were irresponsible owners. After this determination the Plaintiff was attacked and injured by Defendants’ dog. Plaintiff sued Defendants in state court and obtained a judgment in the amount of $25,691.08.

The Defendants then filed for protection under the Bankruptcy Code. The Plaintiff filed her complaint alleging the debt is non-dischargeable under § 523(a)(6). Under that section, a debt “for willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another entity or to the property of another entity” is not dischargeable. 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6). Defendants’ motion to dismiss asserts that Plaintiff’s factual allegations, if taken as true, only amount to negligence, which is insufficient to support a non-dischargeable claim under § 523(a)(6).

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