On September 19th, the Ninth Circuit considered whether the exception to Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge for debts resulting from a violation of state or federal securities laws applies when the debtor himself is not culpable for the securities violation that caused the debt. The case involved an attorney who was required by court order to return the unearned retainer paid by a company that engaged in securities fraud. The attorney filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy before he was technically required to return the money. The court held that the discharge exception applies only to those who have themselves violated the securities laws, so the disgorgement debt in this case could be completely discharged. In the Matter of Sherman.