Civil court can hear lax suit

Federal Bankruptcy Judge William Stocks ruled that the three wrongly indicted former members of the 2005-2006 men's lacrosse team may pursue their lawsuit outside of bankruptcy court against former Durham district attorney Mike Nifong. Stocks had previously delayed ruling on the matter.

Nifong sought bankruptcy protection at a hearing Jan. 15, citing more than $180 million of debt, including $30 million owed to each of the three players.

Attorneys for Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans, Trinity '06, submitted a complaint April 9 stating that Nifong's debt could not be discharged according to federal bankruptcy law because he intentionally harmed the three players during the proceedings of the lacrosse case.

"Although the allegations of harm are not elaborate, they are sufficient to reflect that the movants are claiming that they suffered bodily injury and emotional trauma as a result of the debtor's actions," Stocks wrote in a memorandum filed Tuesday.

Stocks upheld eight of the 12 personal injury allegations filed by the three men against Nifong, adding that all allegations should be judged in court.

"It is clear that all of the claims should be tried in the same case in the same court in the interest of judicial economy and to avoid an unnecessary and undue burden on the parties," he wrote.

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