Richardson et al v. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare et al
ORDER granting 48 MOTION to Reopen Case. The automatic stay this Court entered shall be lifted, and the Clerk of the Court shall withdraw thereference to the bankruptcy case for Bankruptcy Case No. 10-20466-TLM. Upon lifting the stay in this case, the Court will first consider the question of whether Plaintiffs claims are dischargeable. To that end, the Court will set a telephonic scheduling conference to set a hearing and discovery deadlines on this issue. Plaintiffs shall file an Amended Com plaint by 11/23/2011 omitting any negligence claims against the Clark. Signed by Judge B. Lynn Winmill. (caused to be mailed to non Registered Participants at the addresses listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) by cjm)(Emailed to TLM, sh, and aw in the Bankruptcy Court by cjm).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF IDAHO
SAMANTHA RICHARDSON, the natural
mother of decedent KARINA MOORE;
AALIYAH MOORE, sibling of decedent
KARINA MOORE; SHAWN MOORE,
sibling of decedent KARINA MOORE,
and KARIN ROGERS, the Maternal
Grandmother of KARINA MOORE, and
the Estate of KARINA MOORE,
The IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH AND WELFARE, a political
subdivision of the State of Idaho;
STACEY WHITE, personally and in her
official capacity; JENNIFER DUNCAN,
personally and in her official capacity;
JEREMY M. CLARK and AMBER M.
CLARK and the marital community; John
Doe 1 and John Doe 2 and others to be
and the real property located at:
1605 E. 2nd Avenue, Post Falls, Idaho,
legally described as:
Lot 3 Block 6, RIVERVIEW PARK
ADDITION AT POST FALLS, Kootenai
County, State of Idaho, according to the
plat recorded in Book “D” of Plats, Page
161, records of Kootenai County, Idaho,
ORDER - 1
Case No. 2:10-CV-648-BLW
Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion to Reopen (Dkt. 48). For the reasons set
forth below the Court will lift the order staying the case pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362, and
withdraw Bankruptcy Case No. 10-20466-TLM’s reference to the Bankruptcy Court on its
own motion. Upon lifting the stay in this case, the Court will first consider the question of
whether Plaintiffs’ claims are dischargeable.
This is a wrongful death case. In November 2008, Amber and Jeremy Clark
accepted custody as foster parents of Plaintiff Samantha Richardson’s two-year-old
daughter. Plaintiffs allege that Amber and Jeremy Clark caused the death of Ms.
On April 19, 2010, the Clarks filed bankruptcy. The bankruptcy case was noticed
to creditors as a “no asset” chapter 7 case, and the Clarks were granted a discharge on
August 12, 2010. The discharge of the bankruptcy occurred before Plaintiffs filed this
case on December 30, 2010. But the factual circumstances giving rise to the Complaint
arose before the Clarks filed bankruptcy. In April 2011, the Clarks filed a motion to
dismiss, arguing that Plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the bankruptcy discharge. Briefing
on such issues occurred, and on May 27, 2011, the Court entered an order staying this
action due to the bankruptcy issues.
On June 7, 2011, Plaintiffs filed a motion to reopen the bankruptcy case in
Bankruptcy Case No. 10-20466-TLM. In addition, Plaintiffs asked for a ruling from the
ORDER - 2
Bankruptcy Court declaring that Plaintiffs’ claims were not barred by the Clark’s
discharge. Plaintiffs concede that their negligence claims against the Clarks would be
barred, but they contend that they have asserted claims qualifying under Section 523(a)(6)
as a "willful and malicious" injury.
The Bankruptcy Court granted the motion to reopen the Clark’s bankruptcy case,
but declined to decide whether Plaintiffs’ claims would be barred by the discharge.
Bankruptcy Court Decision, Dkt. 49-1. The Bankruptcy Court found that a wrinkle was
created by 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(5). Id. at 11. That section, in addressing the referral of
matters from the District Court to the Bankruptcy Court and the powers of the Bankruptcy
Court, provides that all wrongful death claims shall be tried in the District Court. 28
U.S.C. § 157(b)(5). This creates a problem because the Bankruptcy Court would
necessarily have to consider the wrongful death allegations in deciding whether Plaintiffs’
claims against the Clarks were dischargeable under Section 523(a)(6). To solve this
problem, the Bankruptcy Court recommended that this Court withdraw its reference to the
Bankruptcy Court and consider the dischargeability issue in this case. Bankruptcy Court
at 12, Dkt. 49-1.
Heeding the Bankruptcy Court’s recommendation, the Court, on its own motion,
will withdraw the reference to the Bankruptcy Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 157(d). As
the Bankruptcy Court noted, this action has already commenced and is pending. Id. at 13.
“Judicial economy, if nothing else, suggests that the Civil Action would be the most convenient
and logical place for [Plaintiffs] to attempt to establish, in addition to the threshold matter of [the
ORDER - 3
Clarks’] liability, the basis for a judgment that such liability also falls within the parameters of §
523(a)(6).” Id. The Court will therefore consider whether the Clarks’ alleged liability falls
within § 523(a)(6).
To that end, the Court will lift the automatic stay in this case and withdraw the reference
to the Bankruptcy Court, so it can first consider the § 523(a)(6) issue. Plaintiffs shall amend
their Complaint in this case to only state “intentional” claims against the Clarks. The Court will
then set a telephonic scheduling conference to set new dates in this matter. During the
scheduling conference, the Court will set the matter for hearing with discovery deadlines to
disclose witnesses, documents, and medical data specific to the issue of whether the death of Ms.
Richardson’s daughter occurred by “willful and malicious” actions of the Clarks. Discovery and
dispositive motions can thus be staged in that manner.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion to Reopen (Dkt. 48) is GRANTED. The
automatic stay this Court entered shall be lifted, and the Clerk of the Court shall withdraw the
reference to the bankruptcy case for Bankruptcy Case No. 10-20466-TLM. Upon lifting the stay
in this case, the Court will first consider the question of whether Plaintiffs’ claims are
dischargeable. To that end, the Court will set a telephonic scheduling conference to set a hearing
and discovery deadlines on this issue. Plaintiffs shall file an Amended Complaint by November
23, 2011 omitting any negligence claims against the Clark
DATED: November 8, 2011
B. LYNN WINMILL
Chief Judge U.S. District Court
ORDER - 4
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?