Reversing a federal district court’s judgment that provided a “novel remedy” for judicial estoppel, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held recently that a man’s failure to disclose a more than $1 million judgment in his bankruptcy filings bars the bankruptcy trustee for his estate from collecting the judgment.

In a Sept. 16 decision in Reed v. City of Arlington (pdf), a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit concluded that Kim Lubke, who omitted mention of the judgment in his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, and Diane G. Reed, the bankruptcy trustee, must be “judicially estopped” from pursuing the judgment. The 5th Circuit noted in its opinion that judicial estoppel is a doctrine that protects the integrity of court proceedings by preventing a party from asserting a claim in a legal proceeding that is inconsistent with a claim that party asserted in a previous proceeding.

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