Law School Case Brief
Thorp v. Thirtyacre - 154 B.R. 497 (Bankr. C.D. Ill. 1993)
For a court to notice facts judicially, if they are not matters of general knowledge, the sources of those facts must be placed before the court. If a party places the source before the court and requests judicial notice, the court must take it if the facts are susceptible of judicial notice.
Defendant Marvin Thirtyacre the sheriff of Mercer County, Illinois, suspected that his wife was having an affair with Jim Brokaw, the boyfriend of plaintiff Judy Thorp. Defendant was suffering from depression, and as part of his treatment, the drug "Pamelor" was prescribed. He was instructed not to drink alcoholic beverages while taking the drug. Defendant wanted to tell plaintiff of his suspicions about the affair so he went to plaintiffs home; however, no one was present. In the process, defendant kicked in the back door. Plaintiff returned to her home and found the damage. Brokaw called the police department and a telephone conversation between Brokaw and defendant occurred. In that telephone conversation, defendant told Brokaw that he was going to return to plaintiff's home to physically attack him. Thereafter, defendant returned to plaintiff's home. Plaintiff attempted to intercede, and an altercation ensued between plaintiff and defendant, with the latter striking the former. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against defendant in Illinois state court and obtained a default judgment for $25,000. Defendant then filed a Chapter 7 case in bankruptcy court; plaintiff then filed an adversary proceeding to have the judgment debt declared non-dischargeable as a willful and malicious injury under 11 U.S.C.S § 523(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code. Defendant contended that because he was taking Pamelor and drinking alcoholic beverages at the time, his mental capacity to form an intent to act in a willful and malicious manner was impaired.
Taking into consideration the circumstances of the case at hand, was defendant's mental capacity to form an intent to act in a willful and malicious manner impaired?
The bankruptcy court found that defendant's debt to plaintiff was nondischargeable under § 523(a)(6) in the amount of $ 25,000.00, together with costs and interest at the statutory rate from the date of entry in the state trial court, less any amounts previously credited toward the judgment. The court rejected defendant's argument because it was clear from the evidence that he knew what he was doing and that he intentionally went after Brokaw and assaulted plaintiff when she got in his way. He also admitted he drank although he had been cautioned about drinking while taking the drug. There was no question that at the specific time in question defendant was under the influence of the drug and alcohol. Nor was there any question that he was a man who had lost his temper and resorted to force. However, the court found that he was a man with a temper who would resort to force when not under the influence as well, and his actions on that day showed that he knew what he was doing.
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