The Allens filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection; during the pendency of that case, they sued Mrs. Allen’s employer for injuries allegedly suffered in the workplace. The Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer, finding the three elements of judicial estoppel satisfied by the Allens’ failure to disclose the personal injury suit in the bankruptcy – (1) inconsistent positions, (2) one of which was accepted by a court, and (3) lack of inadvertence by the Allens. The Court also found that the overall balance of equities weighed against the Allens, given the importance of full disclosure to the bankruptcy process. The Court modified the judgment to be without prejudice so the Allens’ trustee could pursue the suit if he or she so desired (although acknowledging potential limitations issues). Allen v. C&H Distributors, Inc., No. 15-30330 (Dec. 23, 2015). The opinion is of broad interest because of its detailed analysis of judicial estoppel under the general three-part test, rather than a more truncated version sometimes employed in bankruptcy cases.
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