Other Nationally Significant Cases

In re Majestic Star Casino, LLC, F.3d 736 (3rd Cir. 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit broke from other courts by holding that S corporation status (or “qualified subchapter S subsidiary” or “QSub” status) is not property of the estate of the S corporation’s bankruptcy estate. Other Circuits have routinely held that entity tax status is property of the estate.
Continue Reading Equityholder’s Strategy for Shifting Tax Burdens to Creditors Upheld by Third Circuit

One of the quintessential principles of the Bankruptcy Code is that when a debtor assumes an executory contract, it must assume the contract as a whole – a debtor cannot cherry pick the contract provisions it wants to assume while rejecting others. Two recent bankruptcy court decisions – In re Hawker Beechcraft, Inc. and In re Contract Research Solutions, Inc. – demonstrate a growing trend among debtors to test the parameters of this general rule. But they also provide guidance to parties on how they can structure their agreements to limit or expand a counterparty’s ability to selectively assume contract provisions in bankruptcy.
Continue Reading Cherry Picking Contract Provisions in Bankruptcy: Not so Taboo After All?

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the “Court”) recently upheld a $23.7 million make-whole payment (the “Make-Whole Payment”) in In re School Specialty (Case No. 13-10125), denying the assertion by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the “Committee”) that the fee is unenforceable under the United States Bankruptcy Code and applicable state law.
Continue Reading Committee’s Attack upon Lender’s Make-Whole Premium Denied

Secured lenders often resort to non-judicial foreclosure sales of personal property upon a borrower’s default. Article 9, Part 6 of the Uniform Commercial Code requires that every aspect of such a sale must be commercially reasonable. However, the courts have historically provided little guidance as to what exactly constitutes a commercially reasonable sale. Fortunately, the Delaware Chancery Court recently issued a decision, entitled Edgewater Growth Capital Partners, L.P. v. H.I.G. Capital, Inc., C.A. No. 3601-CS (Del.Ch. Apr. 18, 2013), in which the court analyzed the meaning of this “commercial reasonableness” requirement and provided helpful guidance to borrowers and secured creditors alike.
Continue Reading Delaware Court Provides Critical Guidance as to the Commercial Reasonableness of a UCC Article 9 Foreclosure Sale

Judge Christopher M. Klein’s decision to accept the City of Stockton’s petition for bankruptcy on April 1, 2013 set the stage for a battle over whether public workers’ pensions can be reduced through municipal reorganization.

Stockton’s public revenues tumbled dramatically when the recession hit, leaving Stockton unable to meet its day-to-day obligations. Stockton slashed its police and fire departments, eliminated many city services, cut public employee benefits and suspended payments on municipal bonds it had used to finance various projects and close projected budget gaps. Stockton continues to pay its obligations to California Public Employees’ Retirement System (“CalPERS”) for its public workers’ pensions. Pension obligations are particularly high because during the years prior to the recession, city workers could “spike” their pensions—by augmenting their final year of compensation with unlimited accrued vacation and sick leave—in order to receive pension payments that grossly exceeded their annual salaries.


Continue Reading The Stockton Saga Continues: Untouchable Pensions on the Chopping Block?

By Danielle Kennedy

Round one of the fight between the City of Stockton, California and its creditors is finally over. On April 1, 2013, Bankruptcy Judge Christopher M. Klein held that Stockton satisfied the eligibility requirements for a Chapter 9 debtor.

Back on June 28, 2012, Stockton filed a petition seeking to adjust its debts under Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.


Continue Reading Judge Rules In Favor Of Stockton And Accepts Chapter 9 Petition

By Eugene Kim 

In a recent Fifth Circuit decision, Western Real Estate Equities, LLC v. Village at Camp Bowie I, L.P., No. 12-10271 (5th Cir. 2013), the court held that the acceptance vote from a minimally and “artificially impaired” class of claims meets the 11 U.S.C. § 1129(a)(10) requirement for the confirmation of a non-consensual “cramdown” chapter 11 plan.


Continue Reading Lenders Beware — Fifth Circuit has lowered the bar for cramdown plan confirmation

By Reed Mercado 

In a recent decision from the California Court of Appeals entitled Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, the Court severely curtailed lenders’ ability to dispose of lender liability claims on summary judgment, thereby adopting a marked departure from existing law. In so doing, the Court admonished lenders that the “world [has been] dramatically rocked in the past few years by lending practices colored by short-sighted self-interest.”


Continue Reading Lenders Beware — California decision may ignite next wave of lender liability litigation

By Christine Swanick, Carren Shulman, Wilda Wahpepah, and Shawn Watts

On March 4, 2013, ‘SA’ NYU WA, Inc., a tribally-chartered corporation wholly owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona. This is a very important case for tribes and any party conducting business with tribes because the petition will raise a question of first impression for the Bankruptcy Court. The Bankruptcy Court will have to decide whether a tribal corporation is eligible to be a debtor under the Bankruptcy Code.


Continue Reading Tribal Corporate Bankruptcy Petition Raises Issues of First Impression for Bankruptcy Court

By Michael M. Lauter 

On May 29, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that a debtor could not confirm a plan over a secured creditor’s objection if the plan provided for the sale of the secured creditor’s collateral free and clear of liens, but did not provide the secured creditor with the option of credit-bidding at the sale. RadLAX Gateway Hotel, LLC v. Amalgamated Bank, No. 11-166, 2012 U.S. LEXIS 3944 (U.S. May 29, 2012). Such a plan, the Supreme Court held, does not meet the statutory requirements for “fair and equitable” treatment of an objecting secured class in 11 U.S.C. § 1129(b)(2)(A).


Continue Reading Canonized Credit-Bidding: The Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Secured Creditor’s Right to Credit-Bid at Free and Clear Sale in Plan