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Couple wins $20 million lawsuit, later files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Anybody can run into dire financial straits. This became even more apparent during the recent recession which hurt just about everybody's pocketbooks. Even many wealthy individuals in Texas and across the country were deeply affected financially, while some were even forced to file for bankruptcy. One couple has recently learned this lesson for themselves. Despite winning a multimillion dollar lawsuit, the couple has now filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Eight years ago the couple sued International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. and Bush Boake Allen Inc., which are producers of a butter flavoring utilized at a popcorn plant where the husband was employed. The butter flavoring caused the husband to develop an incurable lung disease through exposure to a chemical used in the flavoring. The couple won $20 million in damages as a result of the litigation.

However, this was not enough to keep the couple from going through financial difficulties. The couple listed $733,000 worth of assets in their bankruptcy petition and reported over $611,000 in liabilities. One of these liabilities included a claim for $107,147, which was filed by the contractor who had constructed the couple's luxury home. The home was estimated to be worth $3.9 million at the time it was originally built. Other assets listed on the petition included two vehicles and a variety of miscellaneous household items.

With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the couple should be able to discharge all unsecured debts owed to creditors. Unsecured debts refers to those not attached to a piece of physical property. However, debts that are attached to a piece of physical property, such as a home mortgage, may not necessarily be automatically discharged in this type of filing. Bankruptcy allows consumers in Texas and elsewhere to start their financial lives over again with a clean slate. Those who are unsure whether this would be a good choice for them may wish to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Source: Press Republican, "Couple that won $20 million lawsuit files for bankruptcy," Oct. 21, 2012

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