The South Bay Law Firm Law Blog highlights developing trends in bankruptcy law and practice. Our aim is to provide general commentary on this evolving practice specialty.
 





 
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    Bankruptcy News and Analysis - Week Ending January 30, 2015
    Insolvency News and Analysis - Week Ending January 16, 2015
    Insolvency News and Analysis - Week Ending January 9, 2015
       

    Bankruptcy News and Analysis – Week Ending January 30, 2015

    Sunday, February 1st, 2015

    Trends

    Expense Puts Lid on Bankruptcy Filings

    The Year in Review: U.S. Bankruptcy and Restructuring Matters

    Rethinking “Small” Business Bankruptcies

    Secured Claims

    Significant Ruling Gives Chapter 11 Debtors New Leverage Over Secured Creditors

    Automatic Stay

    Bankruptcy Court Refuses to Hop Aboard Faulty Subway Directions Excuse for Delayed Petition Filing

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – Week Ending January 9, 2015

    Saturday, January 10th, 2015

    BK Options

    Trends

    Bankruptcy Count Lowest Ever. Uptick Anticipated – Health Care Filings Lead Count

    Bankruptcies Down 12% in 2014, Forecast Predicts the Same Decline for 2015

    Legislation and Reform

    Redemption Option Value: Broad Implications for Secured Lenders

    ABI Chapter 11 Reform Commission Series: Oversight of the Case (Part I)

    Corporate Governance

    APPOINTMENT OF INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS ON THE EVE OF BANKRUPTCY: WHY THE GROWING TREND?

    Secured Claims

    Review Twice, File Once, Review Again; UCC-3 Termination Intent Irrelevant

    Even The “Cleverly Insidious” Lender Cannot Prevent Its Borrower From Filing Bankruptcy

    Common Provisions in a Chapter 11 Plan Prevent Lender from Collecting From the Owner of the Debtor

    Leases and Executory Contracts

    Capital Leases in Bankruptcies – A Lesson from Xchange Technology Group

    It’s Not Purdy, But It’s Not A Per Se Security Agreement

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – Week of December 19, 2014

    Sunday, December 21st, 2014
    English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

    The Nine

    Legislation

    Four Things You Need to Know About Chapter 11 Reform

    Corporate Governance

    Slouching Towards Bankruptcy: Corporate Fiduciaries Escape Liability in Ultimate Escapes

    Secured Credit

    When is a Typo in a Loan Document More Than Just a Typo?

    Avoidance and Recovery

    Good Faith Transferee in a Fraudulent Transfer Action can only Retain Transfers Equal to the Value It Provided to the Debtor

    Confirmation

    SCOTUS To Decide Whether Order Denying Plan Confirmation Is “Final,” Appealable

    Cross-Border

    U.S. Court Asserts its Authority in a Cross-Border Bankruptcy Case

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – Week Ending November 21, 2014

    Friday, November 21st, 2014
    English: The Supreme Court of the United State...

    The Supreme Court of the United States. Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Trends

    Ch. 11s Fall 24 Percent in Week Ended Nov. 14 from Year Ago Pace

    Third Quarter Review

    Legislation and Rules

    A Dozen Reforms the ABI’s Bankruptcy Reform Commission Report Should Endorse

    Amendments Adopted by the Supreme Court to be Effective December 1, 2014

    Jurisdiction

    Thoughts on a New Age of Consent: What Does Consent Mean with Respect to Stern Claims?

    Secured Claims

    ‘Stripping Off’ Mortgage Cases Going To High Court

    Avoidance and Recovery

    NOLs – A Recoverable Transfer?

    Positive Health Of The Fraudulent Transferee’s Good Faith Defense

    Sales

    Buyer Beware: Payment On Assumed Debt In An Asset Sale Could Be An Avoidable Preference

    Confirmation

    Cramdown Hurdles Round 2: Confirmation Can Be An Elusive Prize

    Cross-Border

    Chapter 15 Bankruptcy: Game-Changer or False Dawn?

    Forty-Four Percent of Chapter 15s Filed in S.D.N.Y. in 2014

    Suntech Chapter 15: Moving COMI and Establishing Jurisdiction Held Legitimate and Not Improper Manipulation

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – Week Ending November 14, 2014

    Saturday, November 15th, 2014
    English: The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse...

    The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse, home of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Trends

    Year-Over-Year Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Decline

    Claims

    Recharacterization: When Your “Loan” Becomes a “Capital Contribution”

    Avoidance and Recovery

    The Problem with Preferences

    Executory Contracts and Leases

    When termination is not termination: Bankruptcy Courts views on leases

    Reorganization

    Bankruptcy Court Bars Future Claimant from Seeking to Avoid Effect of Discharge

    Cross-Border

    In re Fairfield Sentry Ltd: Second Circuit Holds Sale of SIPA Claim by Chapter 15 Debtor Subject to Section 363 Review

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – Week of November 7, 2014

    Friday, November 7th, 2014
    English: The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse...

    English: The John Minor Wisdom U.S. Courthouse, home of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Trends

    Year-Over-Year Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Decline

    Current Developments

    Recent Developments in Bankruptcy Law

    Secured Claims

    Recent “Family Farmer” Case Shows How Secured Creditors Can Avoid Being Plowed Down By Unfair Cramdown Provisions

    The Bankruptcy Clause, the Fifth Amendment, and the Limited Rights of Secured Creditors in Bankruptcy

    Lenders take note of recent Fifth Circuit bankruptcy decision

    In re Motors Liquidation: No Intent Required for UCC-3 Termination Statement to be Effective

    Avoiding Collateral Damage: In re Motors Liquidation and the Effectiveness of UCC Termination Statements

    Administrative Claims

    In re World Imports: Court Denies Section 503(b)(9) Claims of Sellers Who Did Not Ship Goods Directly to the Debtor

    Proofs of Claim

    Think Twice: Signing Proofs of Claim for Clients

    Avoidance and Recovery

    Is this Harbor Safe? Second Circuit Set to Explore Limits of Bankruptcy Code Section 546(e)

    New Value Does Not Need to Remain Unpaid

    Give and Take: Delaware Bankruptcy Court Dismisses Trustee’s Turnover and Avoidance Claims Relating to Debtor’s Net Operating Losses

    Ordinary Course of Business Preference Defense Clarified in a Recent SDNY Bankruptcy Court Decision

    Sales

    Opportunistic Acquisitions: Buying Assets Through Bankruptcy

    Liquidations

    Stop in the Name of Equity: Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Appeals in Chapter 11 Liquidation Proceedings as Equitably Moot

    Reorganizations

    Momentive Postscript – Bankruptcy Rule 3018: Vote Changing on Chapter 11 Plans: You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too

    Cross-Border

    Corporate Bankruptcy Tourists Land in U.S.

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – Week Ending October 10, 2014

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    Current Events

    Commercial Restructuring and Bankruptcy News (ReedSmith, LLP)

    Venue

    The Short Case for Venue Reform

    Procedure

    Proposed Bankruptcy Rule and Official Form Changes

    Secured Claims

    Just When You Thought You Were Out, They Pull You Back In

    Credit bidding challenges in bankruptcy

    Administrative Claims

    When Are Goods “Received” by the Debtor? Establishing International Suppliers’ Entitlement to 503(b)(9) Administrative Expense Claim

    Executory Contracts, IP, and Licensing

    Questioning the Executoriness of Trademark Licenses in Integrated Agreements

    Avoidance and Recovery Actions

    Dilution Of Corporate Stock As A Fraudulent Transfer In Antonello

    R-E-C-O-V-E-R: Find Out What It Means to the Third Circuit

    Strong Arm Powers: What Can Be Done With An Avoided Lien?

    Uniform Voidable Transactions Act Approved by Uniform Law Commission to Replace UFTA

    Subordination and Recharacterization

    Focusing on Intent in Recharacterization Analysis, Delaware Bankruptcy Court Ruling Indicates that Creditors Seeking Derivative Standing Face High Hurdle

    Bankruptcy Sales

    Opportunistic Acquisitions: Buying Assets Through Bankruptcy

    Sales Free and Clear: What About Restrictive Covenants?

    Conversion and Dismissal

    Taking a Stand Where Few Have Trodden: Structured Dismissal Held Clearly Authorized by the Bankruptcy Code

    Cross-Border

    Brazilian Reorganization Plan: Fundamentally Fair or Wholesale Trampling of Creditors’ Rights?

    U.S. Causes of Action and Attorney Retainer Fund Sufficient Assets for Chapter 15 Recognition

    A “Second Bite” from the Second Circuit: Revisiting Section 363 Review of Transfers in Chapter 15 Bankruptcy Cases

    Second Circuit Holds That a Sale by a Chapter 15 Debtor in a Foreign Main Proceeding of a Claim Against an Obligor Located in the U.S. Must Be Reviewed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code

    Related articles

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    Paid in Full

    Sunday, August 10th, 2014
    American National Bank AD

    American National Bank AD (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    One of the fundamental functions of any bankruptcy proceeding is the establishment of an amount and priority for each creditor’s claim against the debtor. A short, 5-page decision issued late last month by the Nebraska Bankruptcy Court in two related Chapter 11 cases (Biovance and Julien) serves as a reminder that although creditors are not permitted a “double recovery” on their claims, they are nevertheless permitted to assert the full value of their claims until those claims are paid in full.

     
    In the US, it is common for creditors to mitigate credit risk through two primary means: Taking a security interest in the debtor’s collateral, and/or securing a guaranty of payment from a [non-debtor] third party. Further, and in the event of a payment default, courts frequently recognize a creditor’s right to pursue simultaneous collection activity for the entirety of the debt against the debtor, the collateral, and the guarantor. In a recent decision involving two related Chapter 11 debtors, a Nebraska Bankruptcy Court was asked by the debtors to limit the amounts claimed by a creditor as the creditor had already received a portion of the payments owed to it.

     
    In this case, a business debtor (Biovance) had leased equipment from American National Bank (ANB), collateralizing one of the leases with a certificate of deposit held by that debtor.  The other lease was protected by a guarantee issued by the individual debtor (Julien) to ANB.  ANB had obtained permission to collect its collateral with respect to the first lease, and to liquidate its claims in Nebraska state court with respect to the second (which claims were subsequently settled).  The debtors argued, among other things, that as the confirmed bankruptcy plan provided for payment in full of all claims, the creditor was therefore obligated to immediately credit the amounts it had received.  ANB argued that a proof of claim filed under 11 U.S.C. § 502 need not be reduced by amounts recovered from a third party unless it stood the chance of a double recovery.

     
    The Bankruptcy Court of Nebraska agreed with ANB, noting that the confirmed plan is neither a recovery nor payment in full. It is only a promise to pay. The Court went on to hold that until such time as ANB had actually received its payment in full, it was entitled to assert the balance due against all concerned parties – including the debtors.

     
    Establishing the amount and priority for each creditor’s claim against the debtor fixes the limit of recoveries available to a creditor from the debtor’s estate. Such claims are, in the aggregate, an important factor in the creditors’ assessment of the feasibility of a debtor’s proposed reorganization – and in determining whether liquidation offers them a preferable recovery.

     
    The Biovance decision, though not surprising, nevertheless reminds creditors and their counsel to preserve all of the value of their claims, even if paid partially, until the claims are paid in full.

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    The Little Things

    Friday, June 27th, 2014

    O to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm const...

    In the confirmation of a Chapter 11 plan – as in life – it is often the little things that count.

    Late last month, a Houston Bankruptcy Court provided helpful guidance on a very seldom-discussed, and often-overlooked, confirmation issue:  Whether the reorganized debtor’s management make-up and structure is consistent with “public policy.”  A copy of that decision is available here.

    Barring an outright sale of assets, the confirmation of a plan of reorganization is typically the centerpiece of any Chapter 11 case.  Chapter 11’s confirmation provisions – set forth in section 1129 – impose a broad variety of requirements on the debtor, all of which must be met or legitimately excused under recognized exceptions.  Though many of these requirements have been extensively litigated and discussed by Bankruptcy Courts, several – including those pertaining to the governance and ownership structure of the reorganized debtor – have not enjoyed nearly as much review or discussion.  Before the Bankruptcy Court in In re Digerati Technologies, Inc. was the issue of whether the debtor’s proposed management structure was appropriate in light of the Code’s requirement that post-confirmation management be appointed on terms “consistent . . . with public policy” under § 1129(a)(5)(A)(ii).

    Digerati Technologies filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in May 2013.  The plan submitted by Digerati proposed that the CEO and CFO of the company, who were also stockholders and creditors of Digerati, continue as the officers and directors of the reorganized debtor entity, positions which they had occupied within the two years prior to Digerati’s Chapter 11.  Digerati was a publicly-traded holding company for an operational subsidiary.  Thus, the plan’s proposed ongoing “officer and director” capacity also left Digerati’s CEO and CFO effectively in control of Digerati’s subsidiary.

    Two Digerati stockholders objected to the plan on the grounds that Digerati’s pre-petition self-dealing established that continuation of Digerati’s pre-petition management was “not in the best interest of the estate, the creditors, the equity security holders and fail[ed] to satisfy public policy.”  On the basis of the evidence adduced at the confirmation hearing, the Bankruptcy Court denied confirmation of Digerati’s plan for its inability to satisfy the requirements of section 1129(a)(5)(A)(ii).  In the process, the Court formulated a nine-point checklist of essential factors relevant to determining whether appointment of an individual to serve as an officer of a reorganized debtor is consistent with public policy:

    (1) Does the proposed plan, if confirmed, keep the debtor in existence as an ongoing company, or is the debtor extinguished?

    (2) Is the debtor a publicly- or privately-held company?

    (3) Does continued service of the individual(s) proposed for officers and directors perpetuate incompetence, lack of direction, inexperience, or affiliations with groups inimical to the best interests of the debtor?

    (4) Does the continued service of the proposed individual(s) provide adequate representation of all creditors and equity security owners?

    (5) Does the retention of the proposed individual(s) violate state law in any respect?

    (6) Is each proposed individual a “disinterested person”?

    (7) Is each proposed individual capable and competent to serve in the proposed capacity assigned to him or her?

    (8) Are the salaries and benefits that the proposed individual(s) will receive reasonable based upon the size of the debtor’s operations, the complexity of these operations, and the revenues to be generated?

    (9) Are there any new independent outside directors being appointed under the proposed plan?

    Digerati Technologies‘ review of applicable case law further highlights the following:

    - Such little case law as exists on section 1129(a)(5)(A)(ii) suggests that a consistent focus is on whether management and the board of directors is “disinterested.”  Here, Digerati’s management was not.

    - At least one decision reviewed by the Bankruptcy Court suggests that, where present management will continue, management’s track record is relevant:  Though Bankruptcy Courts are often reluctant to “second-guess” a debtor’s management, they will not reward or perpetuate incompetence and gross mismanagement where it clearly exists.

    - Still another decision reviewed by the Bankruptcy Court focused on management’s level of compensation, relative to its experience and the demands of managing the debtor.

    - Finally, the Bankruptcy Court’s helpful list of summarized factors, digested from all of the decisions, offers practitioners a useful “road map” to consider in drafting a Chapter 11 plan.

    The Digerati decision serves as a reminder that all of Chapter 11’s requirements, no matter how seemingly arcane, must be met prior to a plan’s confirmation.  In hotly-contested matters, these requirements can often be a source of contention and – on occasion – tactical advantage.  In addition to this important reminder, Digerati offers both debtors’ and creditors’ counsel a helpful checklist for assessing their relative positions on the question of the debtor’s proposed corporate governance.

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    Insolvency News and Analysis – June 20, 2014

    Friday, June 20th, 2014
    Alphabetical by Author

    Alphabetical by Author (Photo credit: woohoo_megoo)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bankruptcy and Insolvency News and Analysis – Week of June 16 – 20, 2014:

    Confirmation:

    Prevalence and Utility of Roadmap Decisions in Mega-Cases

    No Confirmation Without Representation: New Test Is Proposed for Approval of a Debtor’s Proposed Slate of Post-Confirmation Officers and Directors

    Bankruptcy Sales:

    Bankruptcy Sale: No Stay Pending Appeal, Then No Appeal?

    Secured Lending and Claims:

    An L of a Mess: Perfecting Against LLP’s

    Equity Begets Flexibility: Valuing a Secured Creditor’s Claim in Bankruptcy and Allocating Post-Petition Interest

    Avoidance Actions:

    Seventh Circuit Reads Bankruptcy Safe Harbor Broadly

    Defending Preference and Claw-Back Actions in the Wake of the Supreme Court’s Bellingham Decision

    Executory Contracts and Intellectual Property:

    Contract Remedies in the Face of Imminent Default – What Happens to State Law Adequate Assurance and Anticipatory Breach in Bankruptcy?

    Eighth Circuit reconsiders trademark licenses in bankruptcy

    Cross-Border:

    Comity and drama: current trends in cross-border insolvencies

    Jurisdiction and Bellingham Analysis:

    Supreme Court’s decision in Bellingham leaves key Stern v Marshall questions unanswered

    And Still More:

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