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American Express Travel Related Services Co. v. Hashemi

United States Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit
104 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1230 (1997)


Dr. Hashemi (defendant) filed for bankruptcy after returning from a six-week trip to Europe with his family. Hashemi alleged that the purpose of the trip was to ask his mother-in-law for funds relating to a condominium project in which Hashemi held a one-half ownership interest. Upon his return, Hashemi owed American Express Travel Related Services Co. (Amex) (plaintiff) more than $60,000 for close to 170 credit card charges, which included numerous purchases of expensive meals and luxuries. When the trip began, Hashemi owed more than $300,000 to other credit card companies but only $227 to Amex. He had carried balances exceeding $60,000 with Amex before but had never been in default. His annual income was less than $60,000. While Hashemi was in Europe, a second-mortgage holder for the condominium project commenced foreclosure proceedings. Amex petitioned the bankruptcy court to declare Hashemi’s debt to it nondischargeable on account of fraud pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A). The court granted Amex’s petition, and the district court affirmed the judgment on appeal. Hashemi again appealed, arguing that Amex had failed to prove intent to defraud, the making of a false representation, and justifiable reliance.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, J.)

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