Tripodi v. Welch, No. 14-4084 (10th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Debtor-Appellant Nathan Welch appealed a district court’s order denying his motion for judgment on the pleadings and determining that a default judgment was nondischargeable in bankruptcy. This case arose from the failure of the Talisman project, a high-end real estate development project in Wasatch County, Utah. Appellee Robert Tripodi was one of these investors, eventually putting $1 million into Talisman. To secure Tripodi’s investment, Welch issued three promissory notes to Capital Concepts, which in turn, assigned the notes to Tripodi. Welch ultimately defaulted on the notes. In January 2009, Tripodi filed a complaint against Mr. Welch in federal district court, alleging violations of state and federal securities laws. For seven months, Welch did not respond. In March 2010, Tripodi filed a motion for entry of default. The court granted the motion for entry of default and issued an order to show cause as to why a default judgment should not be entered. Receiving no response, the district court entered an order granting the entry of default judgment against Welch. Welch filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in August 2011. Nearly two years later, Tripodi sought relief from the automatic stay. In his defense, Welch opposed Tripodi's proof of damages and costs, and attempted to have the default judgment set aside. The district court denied Welch's request to set aside the judgment, ruling the judgment was nondischargable. Finding no reversible error on the district court's judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed.