This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
A claim in tort or in the nature of tort, which has not been reduced to judgment and is not liquidated is not a fixed liability nor does it arise on contract; and therefore it is not a provable debt and is therefore not barred by a discharge in bankruptcy.1 The fact that section 17 of the bankrupt act2 excepts certain liabilities which arise in tort, from the operation of the discharge, does not show that the legislature intended that tort liabilities should be included with provable debts, since such exception is inserted so as to include tort liabilities which had been reduced to judgment before bankruptcy proceedings were instituted.3 The fact that the creditor has proved a claim for a tort liability, and that such claim has been allowed, does not make it a provable claim within the meaning of the statute relating to discharge.4 A right of action for death by a wrongful act,5 or for deceit,6 or for injury to property through negligence,7 or for injury to property by the commission of a nuisance,8 is not a provable debt and is not barred by a discharge in bankruptcy. An action in trover for the recovery of personalty is not barred by a discharge in bankruptcy though a money verdict may be taken, and in the particular case is taken.9 A claim for double rent for withholding rented premises unlawfully from a landlord is not a debt ex contractu, and is therefore not barred by a discharge in bankruptcy.10 The statutory liability of a director of a corporation imposed for failure to file the report required by statute is in the nature of tort and is not discharged by bankruptcy.11
North Dakota. John Leslie Paper Co. v. Wheeler, 23 N. D. 477, 42 L. R. A. (N.S.) 292, 137 N. W. 412 (obiter).
Vermont. In re Grout, 88 Vt. 318, 02 Atl. 646; Jefferson Transfer Co. v. Hull, 166 Wis. 438, 166 N. W. 1.
2 In re Putman, 103 Fed. 464; In re Grout, 88 Vt. 318, 92 Atl. 646; Jefferson Transfer Co. v. Hull, 166 Wis. 438, 166 N. W. 1.
3 Throop v. Griffin, 180 Pa. St. 452, 36 Atl. 866.
4 See Sec. 3133 et seq.
5 See Sec. 3137.
6 In re Crescent Lumber Co., 164 Fed. 724.
1 United States. Schall v. Camors, 261 U. S. 239, - L. ed. -; Brown v. United Button Co., 149 Fed. 48, 8 L. It A. (N.S.) 961; Talcott v. Friend, 179 Fed. 676, 43 L. R. A. (N.S.) 649.
Iowa. Bever v. Swecker, 138 la. 721, 116 N. W. 704.
Massachusetts. Hapgood v. Blood, 77 Mass. (11 Gray) 400.
New Hampshire. Imbriani v. Anderson, 76 N. H. 491, 84 Atl. 974.
New York. Hun v. Gary, 82 N. Y. 66, 37 Am. Rep. 646.
Pennsylvania. Weisfield v. Beale, 231 Pa, St. 39, 79 Atl. 878.
Rendition of judgment is necessary to liquidate a claim in tort so as to make it a provable debt. Even if a claim in tort has been the basis of a verdict, but judgment has not been rendered, it is not a provable debt.12 Further discussion of this topic is unnecessary, as it concerns the law of tort and not the law of contract. If a liability in tort is reduced to judgment before bankruptcy proceedings are begun, a judgment is a fixed liability and is a provable debt.13
Virginia. Winfree v. Jones, 104 Va. 30, 1 L. R. A. (N.S.) 201, 51 S. E. 153.
2 See Sec. 3131.
3 Brown v. United Button Co., 149 Fed. 48, 8 L. R. A. (N.S.) 961.
4 Talcott v. Friend, 179 Fed. 676, 43 L. R. A. (N.S.) 649.
5 In re New York Tunnel Co., 159 Fed. 688; Imbriani v. Anderson, 76 N. H. 491, 84 Atl. 974.
6 Talcott v. Friend, 179 Fed. 676, 43 L. R. A. (N.S.) 649.
7 Brown v. United Button Co., 149 Fed. 48, 8 L. R. A. (N.S.) 961.
8 Brown v. United Button Co., 149 Fed. 48, 8 L. R. A. (N.S.) 961.
9 Berry v. Jackson, 115 Ga. 196, 90 Am. St. Rep. 102, 41 S. E. 698.
10 Hamilton v. McCroskey, 112 Ga. 651, 37 S. E. 859.
11 Old Colony Boot ft Shoe Co. v. Parker-Sampson-Adams Co., 183 Mass. 557, 67 N. H. 870.
12 In re Ostrom, 185 Fed. 988; Hodges, v. Chace, 2 Wend. (N. Y.) 248.
13 See Sec. 3135.