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cfortunato
cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
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If a renter caused sever water damage to my home then tells

Resolved Question:

If a renter caused sever water damage to my home then tells me it was my fault because of a drain pipe however I can prove without a doubt that her story couldnt possibly be true. Can this prove intentional damage to property? I have her statement in writing numerous times how she claimed the damage occurred. She claimed bankruptcy after I recieved a judgement so I must now prove intent. Im hoping by proving her story couldnt possibly be true will show intent. Will the judge let her change her story after she has said for 3 years this was how it occured?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.

cfortunato :

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Bankruptcy attorney here to assist you.

cfortunato :

Are you asking if a Bankruptcy judge would allow your tenant (or ex-tenant) to change her story?

Customer: I was wondering that buts only need to know if I can prove the damage couldnt have possibly happened as she has continued to state does that prove intentional distruction of property. I have to prove intent and need to know if this will prove intent
cfortunato :

Thank you for your response,

cfortunato :

To have this judgment determined to be non-dischargeable, you have to prove the damage was caused intentionally and maliciously.

cfortunato :

It is not enough if the damage was her fault - you have to prove the damage was intentional - perhaps because of spite.

cfortunato :

The Bankruptcy judge will make this determination based on the facts of the case that resulted in the judgment.

cfortunato :

The Bankruptcy judge will not allow her to change her story, and will not allow you to offer anything additional to try to convince the judge of intent.

Customer:

it was a default judgement so I have to prove intent. So If I can prove her story couldnt possibly be true than will that prove intent.

Customer:

If I prove the damage couldnt have happened as she says it does that would show she lied and would that prove intent? Because why would she lie if she didnt do it intentionally? Is that how the judge will look at it?

cfortunato :

No - being able to prove the damage did not occur in the manner she said it occurred does not prove she intentionally damaged your property.

Customer:

how do I prove intent then?

cfortunato :

Since intent is a state of mind, and your ex-tenant is the only person who knows for sure whether or not she caused the damage on purpose (with intent), it is difficult to prove intent if the debtor will not admit intent.

cfortunato :

Do you think the tenant caused the damage on purpose?

Customer:

Im not sure I can prove through emails she didnt like me. I can prove it didnt happen the way she said. its 12,000 worth of damage

Customer:

she wasnt suppossed to have a dog and the dog caused some of the damage. She does state in an email that she understands I dont want the dog in the house yet she allows the dog in and it created damage. would that be intend because she knew I didnt want it yet her actions resulted in damage?

cfortunato :

No - that is not intent.

cfortunato :

Intent means the damage was done on purpose.

cfortunato :

It means the tenant intended to cause the damage - that she wanted her dog to damage your property.

Customer:

in emails she slanders me by calling me a slumlord and states numerous times she has no reason to lie about how it happened

Customer:

how could anyone possibly prove intent if we dont know how she did it yet we know she did it and her version isnt true

cfortunato :

If she did not cause the damage on purpose, then you cannot prove intent, because there was no intent if she did not cause the damage on purpose.

cfortunato :

You cannot prove something that does not exist.

cfortunato :

I am really sorry I cannot give you better news, but that is the way the law works.

Customer:

If I can prove she lied in her 341 creditors meeting under oath that that be a better way to go about it so maybe they will throw out her bankruptcy all together? She states nobody lives with her and she doesnt have over 1500 in household goods? I have 2 people that I won the judgement on and the one didnt claim bankruptcy so I have a creditor hearing on tuesday. If I ask him questions and he answers in a manner that will show the other is lieing would that work for getting the bankruptcy thrown out?

cfortunato :

Yes - if you can prove the tenant lied under oath, you can contact the Bankruptcy trustee, who can dismiss her case for lying under oath.

cfortunato :

If her case is dismissed, it will be as if she never filed a case, and your judgment will not be discharged.

cfortunato :

That would be far easier than trying to prove intent - which would involve filing a motion in the Bankruptcy court.

Customer:

so by proving her boyfriend lives with her when she states he doesnt or I can prove she owns more than she stated that should work? I think I might be able to prove she is getting state assistance and telling the state he doesnt live there yet if he states he lives there in another court under oath that should be sufficent?.

cfortunato :

It may not be enough to only be able to prove she lied in the trustee meeting, but if you can show the trustee the lies on her Bankruptcy petition, that would be sufficient to dismiss the Bankruptcy.

cfortunato :

Especially if she has income that she did not disclose in the Bankruptcy papers.

cfortunato :

You can go to the clerk at the Bankruptcy court and ask for a copy of her entire Bankruptcy paperwork - so you can look it over to see anything else that is wrong.

cfortunato :

Bankruptcies are public information, so anyone with a leitimate purpose can get a copy of anyone

cfortunato :

's Bankruptcy papers.

Customer:

I already filed the adversary and my initial disclosures are due in a week. So I should focus on catching her and submit that for my disclosures. Should I at least submit the emails which shows she lies about everything. If the case gets dismissed can I then go sue her for other intentional torts like slander, misuse of legal procedure, abuse of process etc? she destroyed my home and I found this out when she was living in the home. She lived there another 3 months stating she didnt do anything it was my faulty plumbing etc. then she filed a false police report on me when I entered the home. its been very bad. Its crazy someone can live there and destroy it while abusing me and then actually possibly get away with it. Even our police department hung up on her

cfortunato :

...anyone with a legitimate purpose...

cfortunato :

If her case is dismissed, you can proceed against her in any manner as if the Bankruptcy was never filed.

Customer:

well she states she has assistance from friends of 1600 a month however stated under oath it was from her mother and that her boyfriend didnt give her any money nor did he live there. Thats probably because thats what she told the state in order to get assistance. If her boyfriend states under oath he pays rent, utilities etc. that would show she has someone help pay the bills she claims she pays. Or if she stated only 1500 worth of stuff and I can prove she has 3 large 60" flatscreens, 2 sets of furniture, fireplace, 2 laptops etc. value is higher than she stated

Customer:

can I go back and ask for punitive damages on a case where I won from a default judgement?

cfortunato :

Do you mean to go back to the court that issued the default judment?

Customer:

yes

cfortunato :

Thank you for your response.

cfortunato :

You would have to be able to prove intent to get punitive damages.

cfortunato :

In other words, again, you would have to prove the tenant damaged your property on purpose.

Customer:

ok youve been helpful. Unfortunately she may get away with it. One more questions please. Will they dismiss her bankruptcy if they find out she is frauding the state by saying someone dont live in the home that does in order to get food stampsa

cfortunato :

Her Bankrupty case will not be dismissed for defrauding the state to get food stamps, but her case can be dismissed if she did not include her food stamps in her Bankruptcy paperwork.

Customer:

what if he lives there and she states he doesnt? If he states me pays rent and utilities that would mean she doesnt pay all of them hersel

cfortunato :

Yes - her case can be dismissed if someone is helping her pay rent and utilities (or anything else), and if she did not show this on her Bankruptcy papers.

cfortunato :

A Bankruptcy filer must show all of their income, and a Bankruptcy case can be dismissed if any income is left out - and if the Bankruptcy trustee finds out about it.

Customer:

thanks for your help

cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 8023
Experience: Bankruptcy professor.
cfortunato and 2 other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  cfortunato replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome!
And thank you for providing a positive rating!

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