Jordan “JD” Hall has filed a bankruptcy petition in federal bankruptcy court in Montana, stating he is unable to pay mounting attorney fees incurred while fighting a lawsuit filed against him by Adrian Jawort.
The bankruptcy filing also puts an immediate stay to legal proceedings, including the sanctions hearing that was scheduled for Wednesday. Had that hearing proceeded, Hall could have faced hefty fines by the court. The stay is in effect for up to 30 days and Judge Benjamin P. Hursh could ultimately decide how the case will proceed.
On Tuesday, the bankruptcy court issued a deficiency notice to Hall, saying that all but one of the documents required for bankruptcy protection were missing. The court has given Hall 14 days to file the required documents, which includes a statement of monthly income and means testing, pay stubs and others.
Hall was scheduled to appear before Cascade County District Court Judge Elizabeth Best on Wednesday for a hearing on sanction.
Hall is being sued by Adrian Jawort, a transgender native lobbyist who alleges that an article about her damaged her reputation.
Attorneys for Jawort filed the motion for sanctions based on Hall’s behavior, which included a picture showing Hall’s home with hunting mounts on the wall, with one reserved for one of attorney Raph Graybill’s head, who is representing Jawort, and another photo showing Hall with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
The Montana Supreme Court denied an appeal by Hall to take over the case last week. In a motion filed by Hall, his attorney argued that Best had made an error in her partial judgment against Hall in ruling that Jawort was not a “limited-purpose” public figure. The Supreme Court chose not to take up the case stating, “there is no evidence that relief on appeal would be inadequate.”
Matthew Monforton, Hall’s attorney, had argued that Best’s decision amounted to an incorrect legal finding that would instead subject Hall to going through a trial instead of dismissing the charges or determining a different legal standard.
Hall has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a bankruptcy trustee, Joseph Womack of Billings, has been assigned in the case.
Jawort’s attorneys are expected to file a response to the filing in federal bankruptcy court.
In the Chapter 7 filing with the bankruptcy court, he listed assets of less than $50,000 and said that attorneys’ fees were the primary driver of his bankruptcy and those bills ranged between $100,000 and $500,000.