Casey Anthony filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case earlier this year. You probably recall that Ms. Anthony was charged with murdering her two year old daughter, Caylee. At first Anthony alleged that her daughter was kidnapped by her nanny, and then she changed her story saying Caylee accidentally drowned in a pool. After a jury found her not guilty on all charges except some misdemeanors, Anthony faced a barrage of lawsuits, including claims for defamation and for reimbursement by private investigators who searched for Caylee in the months before her remains were found. The litigation against Anthony came to a halt when she filed her Chapter 7 petition in Florida. Ms. Anthony listed few assets, but large amounts of unsecured debts including her legal fees of approximately $500,000. ABC News reports that Judge K. Rodney May heard from attorneys representing two people suing Anthony for defamation. The attorneys say that their suits should be exempt from the bankruptcy discharge; Anthony’s attorneys say they should not. Judge May has not decided whether the defamation suits should be resolved in state court, or settled in the federal court system. He set the next court date for May 30, 2013.
If Anthony obtains a discharge, many of those debts arising out of her nationally televised murder trial will be eliminated. However, the defamation claims may be held to be non-dischargeable. Defamatory statements can be considered a “willful and malicious injury” and excluded from discharge pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §523 if Anthony knew the statements were false.
It will be interesting to see how the Casey Anthony bankruptcy plays out. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning how a Chapter 7 filing could benefit you, contact Levitt & Slafkes.
If you are interested in learning more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases or lien stripping, contact Levitt & Slafkes, P.C. We are experienced in handling a variety of bankruptcy issues. Our offices are conveniently located in South Orange, New Jersey. Please call us at 973-323-2953 or online to schedule your free initial consultation today.