Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Totally Irrelevant!

Yesterday my esteemed opposing counsel received his comeuppance.

A few months ago, I brought a motion so my client, who was awarded about a million dollars in a case I tried, could be assigned a sizable income stream that the judgment debtor had from a commercial property.

In opposition, the other side argued that the judgment debtor's bankruptcy from 1991 (not a typo) should prevent collection of the 2008 judgment.

I calmly responded by saying that (1) my client was not listed as a creditor on the old bankruptcy; (2) was not discharged; and (3) even if she had been, the judgment awarded damages solely for post-petition claims, so the old bankruptcy did not bar this collection.

As soon as those last words left my mouth, my opponent bellowed (and it still rings in my ears), "TOTALLY IRRELEVANT!", while waving his left arm dismissively in my direction. The state court judge disagreed with him, and signed the assignment order that day.

Fast forward several months, and I found myself in bankruptcy court with the same attorney, who sought an injunction to stop the payments to my client.

The federal judge interrogated my opposing counsel something like this:

1. Mr. Radcliffe's client was not listed as a creditor in the 1991 bankruptcy, correct?
2. Mr. Radcliffe's client's claims were not discharged in that proceeding, correct?; and
3. And if even she had been listed as a creditor and her claims were discharged, the judgment awarded solely post-petition damages, correct?

Since the answer to all three of those questions was "correct", the Court denied the preliminary injunction.

I guess these points weren't so "TOTALLY IRRELEVANT!", unless one views state court and federal court rulings immaterial.