William & Mary Business Law Review


Alyssa Miller


The United States Circuit Courts are currently split on the correct standard for defalcation: that is, they are split on what level of mental culpability a fiduciary must possess before bankruptcy courts exclude debts incurred through misconduct from discharge. The First, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits apply a recklessness standard. The Fourth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits apply a negligence standard. The time has come to resolve the circuit split because the inter-jurisdictional nature of business in the twenty-first century creates a danger that fiduciaries will not have notice of potential liability if standards for liability vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Based on original intent and current policy interests, the correct resolution of the circuit split is for all of the circuits to apply a
negligence standard.