Whose Hands are Dirtier? A Look at the Unclean Hands Doctrine

By David J. Rashé, Summer Law Clerk for Martha G. Bronitsky, Chapter 13 Trustee in the Northern District of California (Oakland)

In an opinion issued by Judge Friedland on June 5, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Northbay Wellness Group., Inc. v. Beyries,1 that the unclean hands doctrine did not apply to allow the debtor to discharge a debt owed to a California marijuana dispensary. Rather, the debt could not be discharged and the debtor would have to address the debt through bankruptcy.

The debtor, Michael . . .

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