By: Sabihul Alam
St. John’s Law Student
American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staff
In In re Moore
, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia found that Novus Law School violated a discharge injunction by refusing to issue a transcript or award a degree to Moore, a law student, until he paid his outstanding tuition balance, which had been discharged in Moore’s chapter 7 proceeding.
Moore successfully completed a two-year juris doctor program at Novus, a non-accredited web-based private law school, yet, at the time of completion, had an outstanding balance from unpaid tuition.
Moore’s obligation did not arise as a result of a government loan program, but instead was part of his tuition bill which he decided not to pay as it came due.
In May 2008, Moore filed for chapter 7 relief on account of his over $400,000 debt, approximately $6,000 of which was owed to Novus.
After receiving notification of Moore’s filing, Novus sent Moore an email stating that the law school would not grant Moore a degree nor certify his graduate status to employers if his debt was discharged through bankruptcy.
Subsequently, the court granted Moore a bankruptcy discharge.
The tuition owed to the law school was among those debts discharged.
In keeping with its prior warning, Novus refused to issue Moore his Juris Doctor degree or a transcript.
Moore then filed a motion seeking contempt sanctions against Novus for violating the discharge injunction for refusing to award Moore a degree or issue a transcript.