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In re Roth

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 23, 2014

In re JAMES MARVIN ROTH, Debtor.
v.
JAMES M. ROTH, Cross-Appellee. ANICE M. PLIKAYTIS, Cross-Appellant, No. Adversary Proceeding 10-90359 Bankr. Case No. 10-7659-MM11

OPINION

CYNTHIA BASHANT, District Judge.

On January 2, 2014, Cross-Appellant Anice M. Plikaytis appealed a bankruptcy court's decision to discharge a portion of the state court judgment in her favor against Cross-Appellee James Roth. After reviewing the parties' briefing and the bankruptcy court's judgment, this Court affirms the bankruptcy court.

I. Procedural Background

Plikaytis successfully sued Roth in California state court in 2009. She was awarded damages totaling $9.4 million against Roth and other defendants. Roth filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 3, 2010.

Plikaytis then filed a complaint, with attached exhibits, objecting to the dischargeability of the state court judgment as to Roth. Plikaytis alleged the judgment was nondischargeable because it was based on fraud under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2), 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4), and 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6) (counts 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Compl. ¶ 4(a)-(c).

Her initial complaint was improperly served and failed to state a claim, so the bankruptcy court dismissed it with leave to amend.

Plikaytis' amended complaint, filed March 3, 2011, set forth six claims for relief. The bankruptcy court granted partial summary judgment, finding Roth's $52, 000 debt for failure to pay mortgages was precluded from discharge under § 523(a)(6).[1] R. 3421. In its pretrial order, the bankruptcy court noted that the previously-awarded $52, 000 would be credited against any further award for failure to pay mortgages. R. 3434.

After the adversary proceeding, the bankruptcy court found nondischargeable a $90, 000 debt for misuse of mortgage payments owed to Plikaytis, along with other nondischargeable awards for a total of $2, 997, 000. R. 3445. The remaining debts were discharged. Id.

Roth appealed the judgment, and Plikaytis filed a cross-appeal. This Court previously ruled on Roth's appeal, affirming the bankruptcy court's legal and factual findings.[2]

The Court now turns to Plikaytis' cross-appeal. In her appeal, Plikaytis argues seven claims. First, she argues the punitive damages award of $500, 000 in the state court judgment was erroneously discharged. Second, she challenges the discharge of the state court's awards of attorneys' fees and costs. Third, she argues that the $52, 000 liability should not have been subsumed within the $90, 000 award. Fourth, she argues that the bankruptcy court erroneously denied her motion for attorneys' fees for the adversary proceeding. Fifth, she argues the mechanics liens claim related back to the initial Complaint. Sixth, she argues the bankruptcy court erred when issuing the pretrial order. Seventh, she argues she did not waive an award of interest on the debts by failing to move to include it.

The Court finds no merit in Plikaytis' appeal. Therefore the Court affirms the judgment in its entirety.

II. Standard of Review

On appeal, a bankruptcy court's legal conclusions are reviewed de novo, factual findings are reviewed for clear error, and mixed questions of law and fact are reviewed de novo. See Murray v. ...


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