United States Court of Appeals
F I L E D
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
June 13, 2003
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
Charles R. Fulbruge III
In the Matter Of: HENRY WILLIAM WATERS, doing business as Dusty
Rose Apartments, doing business as DSI, Inc; AMY SUZZANE WATERS,
HENRY WILLIAM WATERS
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Before BARKSDALE, DeMOSS, and BENAVIDES, Circuit Judges.
Henry William Waters appeals from the district court's order
affirming the bankruptcy court's determination that certain debts
owed to Chris Thomason by Waters (her former son-in-law) were
nondischargeable under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A) "" the fraud
exception. Our standard of review is the same as that already
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that
this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except
under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR. R. 47.5.4.
employed by the district court: we review the bankruptcy court's
legal conclusions de novo; its factual findings, only for clear
error. E.g., In re Charrier, 167 F.3d 229
, 232 (5th Cir. 1999).
First, Waters contends the bankruptcy court erred by:
treating Thomason's pro se Exemption Objection as a § 523(a)(2)(A),
adversary complaint; allowing her to amend it; and relating it back
to the timely filing of the objection. Although Thomason's
initial, timely pleading apparently confused the words "exempt" or
"exempting" with "discharge" or "discharging", the bankruptcy court
determined the pleading generally gave Waters fair notice of
Thomason's general claim and the ground upon which she relied.
Based upon our review, the bankruptcy court did not err by applying
the relation-back doctrine and allowing a § 523 complaint.
Waters next challenges two of the bankruptcy court's factual
findings regarding the fraud elements: (1) that a false
representation was knowingly made; and (2) that Thomason was
justified in relying on Waters' statements. Based upon our
review, these findings were not clearly erroneous.
Finally, Waters maintains Thomason pursued the wrong party for
her debt, because Thomason's money went into DSI, Inc.'s, account
rather than directly to Waters (he was an officer in DSI). The
bankruptcy court did not err in holding Waters is obligated to
Thomason and that the obligation is thus non-dischargeable. See In
re M.M. Winkler & Assoc., 239 F.3d 746
, 749 (5th Cir. 2001) (if
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debtor liable to defrauded party for money obtained by fraud,
obligation is non-dischargeable).
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