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Jamie Nichelle Mudd v. United States (In re Mudd), Ch. 7, BK19-40976, A19-4048-SKH (Dec. 9, 2020)

After a trial, the bankruptcy court granted the debtor a discharge of her student loans for undue hardship.

The debtor works two jobs and her future income is unlikely to increase significantly and may even decrease if she is physically unable to continue to perform a second job.

Her living expenses are modest. Although the Department of Education challenged her entertainment and cigarette expenditures, the court found that the debtor will likely have to reduce or eliminate them in light of increased post-petition expenses. The debtor also has additional expenses – with no concomitant income or support – because she cares for her special-needs teenage grandson. The court refused to judge the debtor’s family arrangement, finding it “entirely inappropriate to find or suggest that [the debtor] should not care for her grandson or to weigh undue burden factors against her for doing so.”

Finally, the court found that while the debtor’s failure to avail herself of loan repayment programs offered by the Department of Education was a factor weighing against discharge, it was not dispositive in light of the other facts and circumstances that demonstrate an undue hardship.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Judge Shon Hastings