Over the years, Bankruptcy Beat has seen plenty of reasons offered as to why individuals and corporations file for bankruptcy. Recently, a peculiar one caught our eye.
In 2012, a New York man, Sultan Soliman, sought Chapter 7 protection in the face of a $110,000 court judgment issued against him following an incident in which he bit a neighbor (yes, bit him) on the nose in an elevator. In bankruptcy, many debts, including some court judgments, can be erased.
But the story didn’t end there. The man who unwittingly found himself in the crosshairs of Mr. Soliman’s teeth, Lev Vyshedsky, since last year has been urging a bankruptcy court judge to rule that Mr. Soliman still needs to pay the $110,000 bill.
In court filings, Mr. Vyshedsky points to a section of the bankruptcy code that prevents the discharge of debts that came about because of “willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another entity.”
So, is biting someone on the nose considered willful and malicious? It’s a question Judge Martin Glenn in New York is still grappling with. In a decision published Thursday, Judge Glenn said he needs to hear more evidence to determine whether Mr. Soliman’s actions were “a deliberate and intentional injury” to Mr. Vyshedsky, and “not merely a deliberate or intentional act that leads to injury.”