Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 349

Full-Text Articles in Law

Formalizing Chapter 9'S Experts, Laura N. Coordes Jan 2018

Formalizing Chapter 9'S Experts, Laura N. Coordes

Michigan Law Review

Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code has many shortcomings. One of the most persistent, yet understudied, problems judges face in chapter 9 is also a problem that exists in other areas of bankruptcy law: the sheer difficulty of applying generalized plan confirmation standards to wildly different, highly specialized entities. In practice, judges have turned to experts—individuals well versed in municipal finance, mediation, and the particular debtor com-munity—to help overcome this problem in chapter 9. These experts often per-form critical roles in a municipal bankruptcy case, including conducting mediations, investigating the municipality’s finances, and even helping to craft the municipality’s …


House Swaps: A Strategic Bankruptcy Solution To The Foreclosure Crisis, Lynn M. Lopucki Mar 2014

House Swaps: A Strategic Bankruptcy Solution To The Foreclosure Crisis, Lynn M. Lopucki

Michigan Law Review

Since the price peak in 2006, home values have fallen more than 30 percent, leaving millions of Americans with negative equity in their homes. Until the Supreme Court’s 1993 decision in Nobelman v. American Savings Bank, the bankruptcy system would have provided many such homeowners with a remedy. They could have filed bankruptcy, discharged the negative equity, committed to pay the mortgage holders the full values of their homes, and retained those homes. In Nobelman, however, the Court misinterpreted reasonably clear statutory language and invented legislative history to resolve a three-to-one split of circuits in favor of the minority view …


A Capital Market, Corporate Law Approach To Creditor Conduct, Mark J. Roe, Frederico Cenzi Venezze Oct 2013

A Capital Market, Corporate Law Approach To Creditor Conduct, Mark J. Roe, Frederico Cenzi Venezze

Michigan Law Review

The problem of creditor conduct in a distressed firm—-for which policymakers ought to have the distressed firm’s economically sensible repositioning as a central goal—-has vexed courts for decades. Because courts have not come to coherent, stable doctrine to regulate creditor behavior and because they do not focus on building doctrinal structures that would facilitate the sensible repositioning of the distressed firm, social costs arise and those costs may be substantial. One can easily see why developing a good rule here has been hard to achieve: A rule that facilitates creditor intervention in the debtor’s operations beyond the creditor’s ordinary collection …


Securities Class Actions And Bankrupt Companies, James J. Park Feb 2013

Securities Class Actions And Bankrupt Companies, James J. Park

Michigan Law Review

Securities class actions are often criticized as wasteful strike suits that target temporary fluctuations in the stock prices of otherwise healthy companies. The securities class actions brought by investors of Enron and WorldCom, companies that fell into bankruptcy in the wake of fraud, resulted in the recovery of billions of dollars in permanent shareholder losses and provide a powerful counterexample to this critique. An issuer's bankruptcy may affect how judges and parties perceive securities class actions and their merits, yet little is known about the subset of cases where the company is bankrupt. This is the first extensive empirical study …


The Law Of Ponzi Payouts, Spencer A. Winters Oct 2012

The Law Of Ponzi Payouts, Spencer A. Winters

Michigan Law Review

When a Ponzi scheme collapses, there will typically be net winners and net losers. The bankruptcy trustee will often seek to force the net winners - those who received more money back from the Ponzi scheme than they invested - to disgorge their profits. Courts diverge on whether they should compel disgorgement in this instance. This Note argues that under prevailing fraudulent transfer law, net winners in a Ponzi scheme need not disgorge their profits. This is because the investor's dollar-for-dollar discharge of a preexisting debt constitutes the transfer of value in exchange for the payout. There are two exceptions …


A New Approach To Section 363(F)3, Evan F. Rosen Jun 2011

A New Approach To Section 363(F)3, Evan F. Rosen

Michigan Law Review

Section 363(f) of the Bankruptcy Code provides five circumstances in which a debtor may be permitted to sell property free of all claims and interests, outside of the ordinary course of business, and prior to plan confirmation. One of those five circumstances is contained in § 363(f)(3), which permits such a sale where the "interest is a lien and the price at which such property is to be sold is greater than the aggregate value of all liens on such property." While it is far from certain whether § 363(f)(3) requires a price "greater than the aggregate [face value] of …


Assessing The Chrysler Bankruptcy, Mark J. Roe, David Skeel Mar 2010

Assessing The Chrysler Bankruptcy, Mark J. Roe, David Skeel

Michigan Law Review

Chrysler entered and exited bankruptcy in forty-two days, making it one of the fastest major industrial bankruptcies in memory. It entered as a company widely thought to be ripe for liquidation if left on its own, obtained massive funding from the United States Treasury, and exited via a pseudo-sale of its main assets to a new government-funded entity. The unevenness of the compensation to prior creditors raised concerns in capital markets, which we evaluate here. We conclude that the Chrysler bankruptcy cannot be understood as complying with good bankruptcy practice, that it resurrected discredited practices long thought interred in the …


The Success Of Chapter 11: A Challenge To The Critics, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Lawrence Westbrook Jan 2009

The Success Of Chapter 11: A Challenge To The Critics, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Lawrence Westbrook

Michigan Law Review

Although Chapter 11 has served as a model for bankruptcy reform around the world, the conventional wisdom has been that it is characterized by a relatively low success rate and endless delay. The data from large samples of Chapter 11 cases filed in 1994 and 2002 demonstrate that this characterization is wrong. Nearly all troubled companies choose Chapter 11 over Chapter 7 liquidation, which means that the system serves a critical screening function to eliminate hopeless cases relatively quickly. Almost half the unsuccessful cases were jettisoned within six months and almost eighty percent were gone within a year The cases …


Categorizing Categories: Property Of The Estate And Fraudulent Transfers In Bankruptcy, Michael R. Cedillos May 2008

Categorizing Categories: Property Of The Estate And Fraudulent Transfers In Bankruptcy, Michael R. Cedillos

Michigan Law Review

11 U.S.C. § 541 defines "property of the estate" in bankruptcy, but courts have not interpreted that section uniformly. The Fifth Circuit has read the term broadly to include both interests in property that the trustee recovers under § 541(a)(3) and legal or equitable interests under § 541(a)(1) that have purportedly been fraudulently transferred but which the trustee has not yet recovered. The Second Circuit, however, has taken a more restrained approach, holding that fraudulently transferred property that the trustee has not yet recovered does not constitute property of the estate. This Note argues that courts should adopt the Second …


Bankruptcy Vérité, Lynn M. Lopucki, Joseph W. Doherty Feb 2008

Bankruptcy Vérité, Lynn M. Lopucki, Joseph W. Doherty

Michigan Law Review

In the empirical study we report in Bankruptcy Fire Sales, we compared the recoveries from the going-concern bankruptcy sales of twenty-five large, public companies with the recoveries from the bankruptcy reorganizations of thirty large, public companies. We found that, controlling for the asset size of the company and its presale or pre-reorganization earnings ("EBITDA"), reorganization recoveries were more than double sale recovenes. We are honored that Professor James J. White has chosen to comment on our study. White is an eloquent defender of the status quo, pulls no punches, and always has something interesting to say. Bankruptcy Noir is …


The Debt Dilemma, Katherine Porter Jan 2008

The Debt Dilemma, Katherine Porter

Michigan Law Review

Part I describes the nature of credit card spending and explores the usefulness of Mann's comparative approach to studying credit cards. Part II evaluates Mann's findings on the overall relationships between individual credit card transactions and aggregate levels of spending, borrowing, and bankruptcy. It also briefly analyzes the relationship between his findings and policy recommendations. Part III explores data on families who refrain from credit card use and struggle with serious financial distress. Part IV revisits Mann's policy recommendations in light of this new data. I conclude that implementing credit card reform would offer families only partial, albeit valuable, protection …


Bankruptcy Fire Sales, Lynn M. Lopucki, Joseph W. Doherty Oct 2007

Bankruptcy Fire Sales, Lynn M. Lopucki, Joseph W. Doherty

Michigan Law Review

For more than two decades, scholars working from an economic perspective have criticized the bankruptcy reorganization process and sought to replace it with market mechanisms. In 2002, Professors Douglas G. Baird and Robert K. Rasmussen asserted in The End of Bankruptcy that improvements in the market for large public companies had rendered reorganization obsolete. Going concern value could be captured through sale. This Article reports the results of an empirical study comparing the recoveries in bankruptcy sales of large public companies in the period 2000 through 2004 with the recoveries in bankruptcy reorganizations during the same period. Controlling for company …


Contract As Statute, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati Mar 2006

Contract As Statute, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati

Michigan Law Review

The traditional model of contract interpretation focuses on the "meeting of the minds." Parties agree on how to structure their respective obligations and rights and then specify their agreement in a written document. Gaps and ambiguities are inevitable. But where contract language exists for the point in contention and a dispute arises as to the meaning of this language, courts attempt to divine what the parties intended. Among the justifications for deferring to the intent of the parties is the assumption that parties know what is best for themselves. Deference also arguably furthers autonomy values. Not all contracts and contract …


The Past, Present, And Future Of Bankruptcy Law In America, Todd J. Zywicki May 2003

The Past, Present, And Future Of Bankruptcy Law In America, Todd J. Zywicki

Michigan Law Review

As this Review was being written, Congress once again failed to pass the bipartisan bankruptcy-reform bill, although many expect it to be enacted at some point in the near future. At the same time, WorldCom, Enron, Global Crossing, and their ignominous peers continue to set records for the size, expense, and public attention drawn to business bankruptcy. For the first time, consumer bankruptcies surpassed the 1.5 million per year mark, continuing an irresistible upward trend. Meanwhile, law firms announce layoffs and salary freezes in most departments, and bankruptcy professionals prosper amidst the despair, billing $1 million per day on the …


Rejection Versus Termination: A Sublessee's Rights In A Lease Rejected In A Bankruptcy Proceeding Under 11 U.S.C. § 365(D)(4), Vivek Sankaran Feb 2001

Rejection Versus Termination: A Sublessee's Rights In A Lease Rejected In A Bankruptcy Proceeding Under 11 U.S.C. § 365(D)(4), Vivek Sankaran

Michigan Law Review

When a party files for bankruptcy under chapter 11 of the United States Code, the court typically appoints a trustee to handle all of the party's financial obligations. The trustee's responsibilities include investigating the financial condition of the debtor, the operation of the business, the desirability of continuing the business, and any other matter relevant to the disposition of the bankrupt estate. If a bankrupt party holds a commercial lease, the trustee possesses two options for dealing with the lease. One option is to reject the lease, which ends the bankrupt party's obligation to adhere to the provisions of the …


A Global Solution To Multinational Default, Jay Lawrence Westbrook Jun 2000

A Global Solution To Multinational Default, Jay Lawrence Westbrook

Michigan Law Review

A new world is slouching toward New York and London, Beijing and Bangkok, to be born. If our planet and our values survive the secondary effects of that emergence, we may look forward to a humanity more prosperous and more integrated than at any time in human history. The force that drives us to that future is free-market capitalism constrained in the vessel of democratic institutions. One important element in its progress is the fashioning of an international system for managing the financial crises that are one of the free market's inevitable consequences. In this symposium, we debate which is …


International Bankruptcy: In Defense Of Universalism, Andrew T. Guzman Jun 2000

International Bankruptcy: In Defense Of Universalism, Andrew T. Guzman

Michigan Law Review

The globalization of business activity is rightfully celebrated as one of the triumphs of the second half of the twentieth century. The benefits stemming from the globalization of commerce are substantial, but international transactions also bring with them important challenges for the world's legal systems. Traditionally, national governments could focus on their domestic economies without undue attention to international issues. Today, however, a country's policymakers must respond to the growth in international business activity with appropriate legal changes. Failure to do so will cause their legal regimes to fall further and further out of step with the needs of the …


The Case For Cooperative Territoriality In International Bankruptcy, Lynn M. Lopucki Jun 2000

The Case For Cooperative Territoriality In International Bankruptcy, Lynn M. Lopucki

Michigan Law Review

Universalism - the idea that a multinational debtor's "home country" should have worldwide jurisdiction over its bankruptcy - has long had tremendous appeal to bankruptcy professionals. Yet, the international community repeatedly has refused to adopt conventions that would make universalism a reality. In an article published last year, I proposed an explanation. Universalism can work only in a world with essentially uniform laws governing bankruptcy �nd priority among creditors - a world that does not yet exist. Because it is impossible to fix the location of a multinational company in a global economy, the introduction of universalism in current world …


Resolving Transnational Insolvencies Through Private Ordering, Robert K. Rasmussen Jun 2000

Resolving Transnational Insolvencies Through Private Ordering, Robert K. Rasmussen

Michigan Law Review

There is no international bankruptcy law. No question, there are international insolvencies. Transnational firms, just like domestic ones, often cannot generate sufficient revenue to satisfy their debt obligations. Their financial distress creates a situation where assets and claimants are scattered across more than one country. But there is no international law that provides a set of rules for resolving the financial distress of these firms. The absence of any significant free-standing international bankruptcy treaty means that a domestic court confronted with the domestic part of a transnational enterprise has to decide which nation's domestic bankruptcy law will apply to which …


Judicial Abuse Of "Process": Examining The Applicability Of Section 2f1.1(B)(4)(B) Of The Federal Sentencing Guidelines To Bankruptcy Fraud, Hideaki Sano Feb 2000

Judicial Abuse Of "Process": Examining The Applicability Of Section 2f1.1(B)(4)(B) Of The Federal Sentencing Guidelines To Bankruptcy Fraud, Hideaki Sano

Michigan Law Review

The proliferation of bankruptcy filings over the past decade has coincided with a comparable increase in the incidence of bankruptcy fraud. In response to this growing problem, the United States Department of Justice has placed greater emphasis on federal prosecution of bankruptcy fraud. As a result, federal judges are increasingly applying the Federal Sentencing Guidelines ("Guidelines") to bankruptcy fraud and have begun to implement uniform standards for sentencing defendants convicted of this crime. Congress enacted the Guidelines pursuant to the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984. In instituting the Guidelines, Congress sought honesty, reasonable uniformity, and proportionality in sentencing. Congress attempted …


The Political Economy Of The Bankruptcy Reform Act Of 1978, Eric A. Posner Oct 1997

The Political Economy Of The Bankruptcy Reform Act Of 1978, Eric A. Posner

Michigan Law Review

These are the goals of this article. In particular, this article analyzes the legislative history of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 19783 and related materials, in the hope of describing the influence of interest groups on the final statute. It has, of course, long been assumed that certain narrow provisions of the 1978 Act reflect the influence of interest groups - for example, the section that gives special protection to security and lease interests in aircraft. This article goes farther and argues that fundamental elements of the 1978 Act reflect political compromises among competing interest groups. In particular, I claim …


The Immovable Object Versus The Irresistable Force: Rethinking The Relationship Between Secured Credit And Bankruptcy Policy, Lawrence Ponoroff, F. Stephen Knippenberg Jun 1997

The Immovable Object Versus The Irresistable Force: Rethinking The Relationship Between Secured Credit And Bankruptcy Policy, Lawrence Ponoroff, F. Stephen Knippenberg

Michigan Law Review

The last leaf in O. Henry's classic short story was hanging by a delicate thread, but it never fell. It never fell, of course, because it wasn't real; Old Behrman had painted it (and caught pneumonia for his trouble) in order to give Johnsy the will to live. The Supreme Court's decision in Dewsnup v. Timm is also hanging by a thread, following a barrage of scholarly criticism and more than four years of limiting case law and legislative incursions on the case's core conceptual rationale. But the holding in Dewsnup, unlike the last leaf, is very real. It has …


The Equal Access To Justice Act--Are The Bankruptcy Courts Less Equal Than Others?, Matthew J. Fischer Jun 1994

The Equal Access To Justice Act--Are The Bankruptcy Courts Less Equal Than Others?, Matthew J. Fischer

Michigan Law Review

This Note argues that the bankruptcy courts have authority under the BAJA to shift fees against the federal government. Part I discusses the relevant caselaw and examines the basis of the current controversy. Part II examines the statutory language, the legislative history, and the stated purposes of the BAJA and concludes that each of these aspects of the statute demonstrates a congressional intent to grant fee-shifting authority to the bankruptcy courts. Part III considers alternatives to finding bankruptcy court jurisdiction over BAJA disputes, rejecting each as inefficient and unnecessary. This Note concludes that courts should construe the BAJA consistently with …


Bankruptcy Policymaking In An Imperfect World, Elizabeth Warren Nov 1993

Bankruptcy Policymaking In An Imperfect World, Elizabeth Warren

Michigan Law Review

This essay is about bankruptcy policy. It attempts to articulate a comprehensive statement about the various and competing goals that underlie the bankruptcy system. The essay offers both a positive observation, drawn from the Code and its operation, and a normative evaluation, designed to outline the difficult value judgments that comprise the bankruptcy system. It also serves warning: before commentators propose any sweeping changes or policymakers take seriously any suggestions to scrap the system, they must consider the impact of such proposals on a number of competing normative goals.


The Fantastic Wisconsylvania Zero-Bureaucratic-Cost School Of Bankruptcy Theory: A Comment, James W. Bowers Jun 1993

The Fantastic Wisconsylvania Zero-Bureaucratic-Cost School Of Bankruptcy Theory: A Comment, James W. Bowers

Michigan Law Review

In two recently published articles, Wisconsin Law Professor Lynn LoPucki and Pennsylvania Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, nearly simultaneously, fired the latest shots in one of academia's hottest ongoing debates: whether any good reason for having bankruptcy law exists. Justice Holmes once opined that the future belonged to the lawyer skilled in statistics and economics. LoPucki and Warren apparently agree about statistics but argue that, in a world with positive transaction costs, economic theory has little to contribute to our understanding about the justifications for bankruptcy law.

I write to highlight what one might easily overlook in LoPucki's and Warren's pieces. …


The Outer Fringes Of Chapter 11: Nonconsenting Senior Lenders' Rights Under Subordination Agreements In Bankruptcy, David Kravitz Nov 1992

The Outer Fringes Of Chapter 11: Nonconsenting Senior Lenders' Rights Under Subordination Agreements In Bankruptcy, David Kravitz

Michigan Law Review

This Note focuses on the options a senior creditor in Frugal's position may have when a reorganization plan provides for payments in violation of a subordination agreement that the creditor wishes to enforce. Part I explains the different types of subordination agreements and discusses their treatment under pre-Code bankruptcy law and under the Bankruptcy Code. Because of the dearth of case law regarding nonconsenting senior lenders and subordination agreements, Part II considers a question in a related area of bankruptcy law where more authority exists: whether a reorganization plan may release a nonbankrupt guarantor from its obligations under the guaranty …


Strange Visions In A Strange World: A Reply To Professors Bradley And Rosenzweig, Lynn M. Lopucki Oct 1992

Strange Visions In A Strange World: A Reply To Professors Bradley And Rosenzweig, Lynn M. Lopucki

Michigan Law Review

Much about chapter 11 is in need of improvement. But, as is so often the case, the resonant themes are not the right ones. All three legs of Bradley and Rosenzweig's argument for repeal are seriously flawed. The heart of their empirical argument is their claim to have shown that financially stronger companies reorganizing under chapter 11 have been paying less to both their creditors and their shareholders than did weaker companies reorganizing under prior law. In Part I below, I present several more plausible explanations for the stock and bond price phenomena they observed. In all likelihood, their data …


Down Bankruptcy Lane, John D. Ayer May 1992

Down Bankruptcy Lane, John D. Ayer

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Strategic Bankruptcy: How Corporations and Creditors Use Chapter 11 to Their Advantage by Kevin J. Delaney and Corporate Welfare by Laurence H. Kallen and A Feast for Lawyers/Inside Chapter 11: An Exposé by Sol Stein


A Rule Unvanquished: The New Value Exception To The Absolute Priority Rule, Clifford S. Harris Aug 1991

A Rule Unvanquished: The New Value Exception To The Absolute Priority Rule, Clifford S. Harris

Michigan Law Review

This Note examines whether the new value exception remains part of the revised Bankruptcy Code. Part I discusses the background of the new value exception. Part II traces the development of the conflict concerning the survival of the new value exception subsequent to the adoption of the Code. It then discusses the Supreme Court's opinions in Mid/antic National Bank v. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and its progeny, which established the methodology for determining the impact of the revised Bankruptcy Code on preexisting bankruptcy law. Based on an analysis of the Midlantic doctrine, Part II concludes that Congress did …


Groping And Coping In The Shadow Of Murphy's Law: Bankruptcy Theory And The Elementary Economics Of Failure, James W. Bowers Jun 1990

Groping And Coping In The Shadow Of Murphy's Law: Bankruptcy Theory And The Elementary Economics Of Failure, James W. Bowers

Michigan Law Review

Part I briefly examines the conventional explanation for bankruptcy's defining characteristic, its default distributional rule. It concludes that the conventional explanation is insufficiently informative for us to tell whether the Bankruptcy Code (Code) is actually working or not. Part II argues that the only existing systematic attempt to explain bankruptcy law, the so-called "Creditors' Bargain" Theory, is inadequate for two reasons. First, the predictions it generates are belied by real-world events. Second, it is mistaken on theoretical grounds, primarily because it ignores how debtors are likely to manage their assets. Part III presents the Murphian theory of failing behavior, the …