Bartenwerfer: Vicarious liability for fraud under Bankruptcy Code ß523(a)(2)(A)



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Original Air Date:
March 8, 2023
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About the Program

On February 22, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its unanimous opinion in Bartenwerfer v. Buckley, 598 U. S. ____ (2023) (honest debtor/business partner/wife could not discharge claim arising from fraud of dishonest partner/husband under 11 U.S.C. ß523(a)(2)(A), even though the debtor did now know of the partner’s fraud). Hear from one of the lawyers (Iain Macdonald of San Francisco) who represented Mrs. Bartenwerfer at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Hon. Barry Russell and J. Scott Bovitz will provide their own views on the future of litigation under 11 U.S.C. ß523(a)(2)(A). What did the opinion resolve? What issues remain?

Meet the Speakers
J. Scott Bovitz


Bovitz & Spitzer

Senior partner, Bovitz & Spitzer (bovitz-spitzer.com, 1991-present).

Board Certified, Business Bankruptcy Law, American Board of Certification (abcworld.org, 1993-present; past chair of American Board of Certification).

Certified Specialist, Bankruptcy Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (californiaspecialist.org, 1993-present; past chair of Board of Legal Specialization).

Rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell (martindale.com, AV rated 1993-present). Selected Southern California “Super Lawyer” in Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights (20 years).

Adjunct Professor of Law: Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (1982-1987); University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law (2022); California Western School of Law (2022-present).

Inductee, American College of Bankruptcy, Class XXXIV (scheduled March 2023) 

Lawyer Representative, U.S. District Court, Central District

of California, Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2018-2023).

Mediator (1995-present) and contributing editor, Bankruptcy Mediation News (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California, 2019 present).

Executive editor, Personal and Small Business Bankruptcy Practice in California (CEB.com, 2003-2006). Past president, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum (labankruptcyforum.org, 2000-2001).

Education co-chair (2001) and conference co-chair (2004), California Bankruptcy Forum.

Information Technology Committee, United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California (2012-present).

Columnist and coordinating editor, American Bankruptcy Institute Journal (abi.org, 2014-2021). Webmaster, bankruptcydog.com (calendar site for bankruptcy professionals). 

Musician, more than 647 songs (bovitz.biz).

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Iain A. Macdonald


Macdonald | Fernandez LLP

Iain Macdonald has practiced bankruptcy law for over 50 years, primarily in the courts of the Northern and Eastern Districts of California. Mr. Macdonald attended the University of San Francisco School of Law and teaches bankruptcy and commercial law at the law school since 1984. Macdonald practiced with the well-regarded firm of Goldberg Stinnett & Macdonald from 1977 to 1993, when he opened his own office, and then partnered with Reno F.R. Fernandez III to form the current firm. Mr. Fernandez, inspired by the grant of certiorari in Bartenwerfer, has left the partnership to pursue a career in complex bankruptcy appellate law. 

Mr. Macdonald’s practice emphasizes: reorganization and business bankruptcy; individual chapter 11; bankruptcy litigation; out of court workout and bankruptcy alternatives; Mediation; expert witness work; appeals; chapter 7 bankruptcy; asset protection planning; and commercial litigation. Mr. Macdonald has been rated by Super Lawyers for more than a decade. Macdonald is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.

Bartenwerfer is the first Macdonald case to make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Hon. Barry Russell


U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Central District of California

B.S. in Engineering and J.D., UCLA.

United States Bankruptcy Judge (1974-present).

Chief Bankruptcy Judge, Central District of California (2003-2006).

Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (1988-2001); Chief Judge BAP (1999-2001).

Faculty, Federal Judicial Center, Washington, D.C., instructing bankruptcy judgesthroughout the United States (1977-present)

Author, Bankruptcy Evidence Manual (1987-present).

American Bar Association’s Franklin N. Flaschner Judicial Award, outstanding judge in the United States in a trial court of special jurisdiction (1987).

Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Services’ Emil Gumpert Judicial ADR award (2000).

Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Outstanding Jurist Award (2004).

Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors Lifetime Achievement Award in the Bankruptcy and Restructuring Field (2008).

San Fernando Valley Bar Association’s Stanley Mosk Legacy of Justice Award (2009).

Thomson Reuters and American Bankruptcy Institute — William L. Norton, Jr., Judicial Excellence Award (2013).

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