A recent development in the saga of Casey Anthony has brought to light a question of whether the rights to a person’s life story can be considered an asset that can be liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Earlier this year, Casey Anthony filed for bankruptcy as a result of debts exceeding $792,000. Faced with the challenge of locating assets owned by someone with no income and living off the charity of family and friends, the bankruptcy trustee turned to more unconventional methods of determining assets. The trustee in the case, Stephen L. Meininger, filed a motion with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May for permission to sell “the exclusive worldwide right in perpetuity to the commercialization of Anthony’s life story”. At the time of the creditor’s meeting, Mr. Meininger asked whether Casey Anthony had received any offers or made any efforts to sell her life story to which she replied she had not.
Mr. Meininger relies on the presumption that a person’s ability to sell the rights to their life story is an asset. Because Casey Anthony did not sell those rights at the time of filing, she still held an asset that could be liquidated. If permission for the sale is granted, the proceeds would go toward paying down Casey Anthony’s debts and prevent her from profiting off the sale of the story in the future. A hearing has been set for April 9th to determine the outcome.