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Full-Text Articles in Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics

Bankruptcy’S Uneasy Shift To A Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr., George Triantis Jun 2018

Bankruptcy’S Uneasy Shift To A Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr., George Triantis

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The most dramatic development in twenty-first century bankruptcy practice has been the increasing use of contracts to shape the bankruptcy process. To explain the new contract paradigm—our principal objective in this Article-- we begin by examining the structure of current bankruptcy law. Although the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 has long been viewed as mandatory, its voting and cramdown rules, among others, invite considerable contracting. The emerging paradigm is asymmetric, however. While the Code and bankruptcy practice allow for ex post contracting, ex ante contracts are viewed with suspicion.

We next use contract theory to assess the two modes of ...


The Empty Idea Of “Equality Of Creditors”, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2018

The Empty Idea Of “Equality Of Creditors”, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For two hundred years, the equality of creditors norm—the idea that similarly situated creditors should be treated similarly—has been widely viewed as the most important principle in American bankruptcy law, rivaled only by our commitment to a fresh start for honest but unfortunate debtors. I argue in this Article that the accolades are misplaced. Although the equality norm once was a rough proxy for legitimate concerns, such as curbing self-dealing, it no longer plays this role. Nor does it serve any other beneficial purpose.

Part I of this Article traces the historical emergence and evolution of the equality ...


Bankruptcy On The Side, Kenneth Ayotte, Anthony J. Casey, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

Bankruptcy On The Side, Kenneth Ayotte, Anthony J. Casey, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article provides a framework for analyzing side agreements in corporate bankruptcy, such as intercreditor and “bad boy” agreements. These agreements are controversial because they commonly include a promise by one party to remain silent – to waive some procedural right they would otherwise have under the Bankruptcy Code – at potentially crucial points in the reorganization process.

Using simplified examples, we show that side agreements create benefits in some instances, but parties to a side agreement may have incentive to contract for specific performance or excessive stipulated damages that impose negative externalities on non-parties to the agreement. A promise not to ...


The New Synthesis Of Bank Regulation And Bankruptcy In The Dodd-Frank Era, David A. Skeel Jr. May 2015

The New Synthesis Of Bank Regulation And Bankruptcy In The Dodd-Frank Era, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, U.S. bank regulation and bankruptcy have become far more closely intertwined. In this Article, I ask whether the new synthesis of bank regulation and bankruptcy is coherent, and whether it is likely to prove effective.

I begin by exploring some of the basic differences between bank resolution, which is a highly administrative process in the U.S., and bankruptcy, which relies more on courts and the parties themselves. I then focus on a series of remarkable new innovations designed to facilitate the rapid recapitalization of systemically important financial institutions: convertible ...


From Chrysler And General Motors To Detroit, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

From Chrysler And General Motors To Detroit, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the past five years, three of the most remarkable bankruptcy cases in American history have come out of Detroit: the bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors in 2009, and of Detroit itself in 2012. The principal objective of this Article is simply to show that the Grand Bargain at the heart of the Detroit bankruptcy is the direct offspring of the bankruptcy sale transactions that were used to restructure Chrysler and GM. The proponents of Detroit’s “Grand Bargain” never would have dreamed up the transaction were it not for the federal government-engineered carmaker bankruptcies. The Article’s second ...


Rediscovering Corporate Governance In Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2015

Rediscovering Corporate Governance In Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay on Lynn LoPucki and Bill Whitford’s corporate reorganization project, written for a symposium honoring Bill Whitford, I begin by very briefly describing its historical antecedents. The project draws on the insights and perspectives of two closely intertwined traditions: the legal realism of 1930s, whose exemplars included William Douglas and other participants in the SEC study; and the law in action movement at the University of Wisconsin. In Section II, I briefly survey the key contributions of the corporate governance project, which punctured the then-conventional wisdom about the treatment of shareholders in bankruptcy, managers’ principal allegiance, and ...


The (Il)Legitimacy Of Bankruptcies For The Benefit Of Secured Creditors, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 2015

The (Il)Legitimacy Of Bankruptcies For The Benefit Of Secured Creditors, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper explores the legitimacy—or illegitimacy—of filing and maintaining a case under the Bankruptcy Code when the sole or principal beneficiary or beneficiaries of the case would be a secured creditor or secured creditors. In the situation posited here, the application of the usual distributional priority rules would not produce any distribution for the general, unsecured creditors of the debtor. In the prototypical case virtually all of the assets of the debtor would be subject to secured claims securing obligations that exceed the value of the collateral, i.e., the secured creditor would be undersecured and there would ...


Bankruptcy And Economic Recovery, Thomas H. Jackson, David A. Skeel Jr. Jul 2013

Bankruptcy And Economic Recovery, Thomas H. Jackson, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

To measure economic growth or recovery, one traditionally looks to metrics such as the unemployment rate and the growth in GDP. And in terms of figuring out institutional policies that will stimulate economic growth, the focus most often is on policies that encourage investment, entrepreneurial enterprises, and reward risk-taking with appropriate returns. Bankruptcy academics that we are, we tend to add our own area of expertise to this stable— with the firm belief that thinking critically about bankruptcy policy is an important element of any set of institutions designed to speed economic recovery. In this paper, written for a book ...


A Dialogue On The Costs And Benefits Of Automatic Stays For Derivatives And Repurchase Agreements, Darrell Duffie, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2012

A Dialogue On The Costs And Benefits Of Automatic Stays For Derivatives And Repurchase Agreements, Darrell Duffie, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For nearly two years, the two of us have had a running discussion of the costs and benefits of automatic stays in bankruptcy for qualified financial contracts (QFCs) such as derivatives and repurchase agreements, particularly those held by systemically important major dealer banks. Under current U.S. bankruptcy law, these contracts are exempted from the automatic stay. The advantages and disadvantages of this treatment have been a matter of significant debate for the past decade, particularly since the 2008 crisis.

After some background on AFCs and automatic stays, we provide our joint analysis of the costs and benefits of stays ...


The New Financial Deal: Understanding The Dodd-Frank Act And Its (Unintended) Consequences, David A. Skeel Jr. Oct 2010

The New Financial Deal: Understanding The Dodd-Frank Act And Its (Unintended) Consequences, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Contrary to rumors that the Dodd-Frank Act is an incoherent mess, its 2,319 pages have two very clear objectives: limiting the risk of the shadow banking system by more carefully regulating derivatives and large financial institutions; and limiting the damage caused by a financial institution’s failure. The new legislation also has a theme: government partnership with the largest Wall Street banks. The vision emerged almost by accident from the Bear Stearns and AIG bailouts of 2008 and the commandeering of the bankruptcy process to rescue Chrysler and GM in 2009. Its implications for derivatives regulation could prove beneficial ...


Bankruptcy Phobia, David A. Skeel Jr. Jul 2009

Bankruptcy Phobia, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As the recent economic crisis has unfolded, bankruptcy has offered possible solutions at several key junctures. The first of these solutions, often referred to as mortgage modification, was geared toward homeowners who faced the loss of their homes in the months—now several years—since the start of the subprime crisis On the corporate side, Chapter 11 was an obvious alternative when large nonbank financial institutions like Bear Stearns and AIG stumbled in 2008. But regulators repeatedly balked, and the one exception to the avoidance of bankruptcy at all costs—Lehman Brothers—was anomalous. This aversion to bankruptcy, which seems ...


Bankruptcy Or Bailouts?, Kenneth M. Ayotte, David A. Skeel Jr. Mar 2009

Bankruptcy Or Bailouts?, Kenneth M. Ayotte, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The usual reaction if one mentions bankruptcy as a mechanism for addressing a financial institution’s default is incredulity. Those who favor the rescue of troubled financial institutions, and even those who prefer that their assets be promptly sold to a healthier institution, treat bankruptcy as anathema. Everyone seems to agree that nothing good can come from bankruptcy. Indeed, the Chapter 11 filing by Lehman Brothers has been singled out by many the primary cause of the severe economic and financial contraction that followed, and proof that bankruptcy is disorderly and ineffective. As a result, ad-hoc rescue lending to avoid ...


Competing Narratives In Corporate Bankruptcy: Debtor In Control Vs. No Time To Spare, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2009

Competing Narratives In Corporate Bankruptcy: Debtor In Control Vs. No Time To Spare, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When a company like Chrysler or United Airlines files for bankruptcy, it offers narrative explaining the way out of its predicament. In support of its claim that the business is worth saving, the company may argue that it simply needs time to renegotiate its obligations with its creditors. Alternatively, it may say that asset values are deteriorating rapidly and it is imperative that the bankruptcy court immediately approve a sale of the company, or some other rapid disposition. These two possibilities correspond to the principal resolution narratives in current Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice, which I refer to as Debtor in ...


Bankruptcy Boundary Games, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2009

Bankruptcy Boundary Games, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For the past several decades, Congress has steadily expanded the exclusion of securities market operations from core bankruptcy protections. This Article focuses on three of the most important of these issues: the exclusion of brokerage firms from Chapter 11; the protection of settlement payments from avoidance as preferences or fraudulent conveyances; and the exemption of derivatives from the automatic stay and other basic bankruptcy provisions. In Parts I, II and III of the Article, I consider each of the issues in turn, showing that each has had serious unintended consequences. Both Drexel Burnham and Lehman Brothers evaded the brokerage exclusion ...


Sovereign Debt Reform And The Interest Of Creditors, William W. Bratton, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2004

Sovereign Debt Reform And The Interest Of Creditors, William W. Bratton, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Enron And The Dark Side Of Shareholder Value, William W. Bratton Jan 2002

Enron And The Dark Side Of Shareholder Value, William W. Bratton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Lockups And Delaware Venue In Corporate Law And Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2000

Lockups And Delaware Venue In Corporate Law And Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


The Genius Of The 1898 Bankruptcy Act, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 1999

The Genius Of The 1898 Bankruptcy Act, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Bankruptcy Judges And Bankruptcy Venue: Some Thoughts On Delaware, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 1998

Bankruptcy Judges And Bankruptcy Venue: Some Thoughts On Delaware, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


A Property-Based Theory Of Security Interests: Taking Debtor's Choices Seriously, Steven L. Harris, Charles W. Mooney Jr. Jan 1994

A Property-Based Theory Of Security Interests: Taking Debtor's Choices Seriously, Steven L. Harris, Charles W. Mooney Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Bargaining And The Division Of Value In Corporate Reorganization, Howard F. Chang, Lucian A. Bebchuk Jan 1992

Bargaining And The Division Of Value In Corporate Reorganization, Howard F. Chang, Lucian A. Bebchuk

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Developments In Law - Toxic Waste Litigation, Howard F. Chang Jan 1986

Developments In Law - Toxic Waste Litigation, Howard F. Chang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.