Morton v. SchlotzhauerAnnotate this Case
Almost three years after her involvement in a motor vehicle accident with Petitioner, Respondent brought a personal injury action against Petitioner and his employer (together, Petitioners). Between the time of the accident and the filing of this action, Respondent filed personal bankruptcy and was discharged from her debts. By operation of bankruptcy law, Respondent’s claim became the property of her bankruptcy estate. Issues regarding the claim were litigated in both the circuit court and the bankruptcy court. Eventually, the bankruptcy court granted Respondent’s request to re-open and re-vested her with the claim as of the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Meanwhile, the circuit court awarded summary judgment to Petitioners, ruling that Respondent lacked standing. The court of special appeals reversed, concluding that, because of the bankruptcy court’s ruling, Respondent was an appropriate plaintiff on a timely-filed complaint. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) summary judgment was inappropriate where the circuit court failed to take into account the legal effect of the bankruptcy court’s decision to re-vest Respondent with her claim against Petitioners; and (2) as a result of the bankruptcy court’s decision, Respondent had standing to prosecute the complaint.