Nicole LeCann v. Sharon Cobham
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 5:15-cv-00137-FL,14-00002-8-SWH Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. .. [16-1010]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
SHARON J. COBHAM,
------------------------NICOLE LECANN, D.D.S.; JOINT ENTITIES, LLC,
Plaintiffs – Appellees,
SHARON J. COBHAM,
Defendant - Appellant.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of North Carolina, at Raleigh.
Louise W. Flanagan,
District Judge. (5:15-cv-00137-FL; 14-00002-8-SWH)
September 29, 2016
October 14, 2016
Before KING, DUNCAN, and FLOYD, Circuit Judges.
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Joshua H. Bennett, Roberta King Latham, Jasmine M. Pitt, BENNETT
& GUTHRIE, PLLC, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Robert E. Fields III, Samuel Pinero II, OAK CITY LAW LLP,
Raleigh, North Carolina; Jason L. Hendren, Rebecca F. Redwine,
HENDREN & MALONE, PLLC, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees.
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Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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affirming, on alternate grounds, the bankruptcy court’s order
determining that the judgment debt at issue is nondischargeable
in Cobham’s Chapter 7 proceeding.
We affirm the determination
Cobham and Nicole LeCann are both dentists practicing in
Together, they owned five dental practices — all professional
president of the dental practices.
Eventually, LeCann learned
that Cobham had been taking funds from the businesses, either in
expenses, and sued her in North Carolina state court, asserting
both personal and derivative causes of action.
receiver to manage and wind up the affairs.
The court later
awarded judgment in favor of LeCann and the businesses, finding
that “Cobham wrongfully and repeatedly transferred money out of
compensatory damages in the amount of $553,888.
The court also
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found that punitive damages should be entered against Cobham
In October 2013, Cobham filed a Chapter 7 petition.
§§ 523(a)(4),(6) (2012).
The bankruptcy court determined that
the state court judgment was entitled to collateral estoppel
resulted from Cobham’s “willful and malicious injury,” within
the meaning of § 523(a)(6).
57, 61 (1998).
See Kawaauhau v. Geiger, 523 U.S.
The court found it unnecessary to rule on the
On appeal, the district court found that the bankruptcy
court erred in determining that the debt arose out of a willful
and malicious injury.
Therefore, the district court concluded,
§ 523(a)(6) did not apply.
Nevertheless, the court determined
that the debt was incurred as the result of a defalcation while
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standards of review that were applied in the district court.
reviewed for clear error, and legal determinations are reviewed
Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8013; In re K & L Lakeland, Inc.,
128 F.3d 203, 206 (4th Cir. 1997).
We have reviewed the record included on appeal, and the
parties’ briefs, and find that the bankruptcy court correctly
determined that LeCann met her burden of establishing that the
debt at issue is nondischargeable under § 523(a)(6).
v. Garner, 498 U.S. 279, 291 (1991) (holding that the party
challenging the dischargeability of a debt bears the burden of
Accordingly, we affirm on the bankruptcy court’s
In re Cobham (LeCann v. Cobham), Bankr. Ct. No. 14-
00002-8-SWH (E.D.N.C. Mar. 18, 2015).
Because the bankruptcy
court properly concluded that the debt is nondischargeable under
alternative holding with respect to § 523(a)(4).
with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are
argument would not aid the decisional process.
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