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Full-Text Articles in Law

Bankruptcy Fiduciary Duties In The World Of Claims Trading, John A.E. Pottow Oct 2018

Bankruptcy Fiduciary Duties In The World Of Claims Trading, John A.E. Pottow

Articles

In earlier work, I explored the role of fiduciary duties in the bankruptcy trustee's administration of a debtor's estate, noting the absence of any explicit demarcation of those duties in the Bankruptcy Code. In this piece, I report the highlights of that analysis and see to what extent (if any) fiduciary duties can inform policy prescriptions for the issue of bankruptcy claims trading, colorfully referred to by some as the world of "bankruptcy M&A." My initial take is pessimistic. Fiduciary duties, at least as traditionally conceived in bankruptcy, are unlikely to provide much help. But there is ...


Rethinking Criminal Contempt, John A.E. Pottow, Jason S. Levin May 2017

Rethinking Criminal Contempt, John A.E. Pottow, Jason S. Levin

Articles

It is of course too early to tell whether we are in a new era of bankruptcy judge (dis)respectability. Only time will tell. But this Article performs a specific case study, on one discrete area of bankruptcy court authority, based upon a particular assumption in that regard. The assumption is this: certain high-salience judicial events-here, the recent Supreme Court bankruptcy judge decisions, coupled with earlier constitutional precedents involving the limits of Article III-can trigger overreaction and hysteria. Lower courts may read these Supreme Court decisions as calling into question the permissibility of certain bankruptcy court practices under the Constitution ...


What Bankruptcy Law Can And Cannot Do For Puerto Rico, John A. E. Pottow Jun 2016

What Bankruptcy Law Can And Cannot Do For Puerto Rico, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

This article is based on a February 2016 keynote address given at the University of Puerto Rico Law Review Symposium “Public Debt and the Future of Puerto Rico.” Thus, much of it remains written in the first person, and so the reader may imagine the joy of being in the audience. (Citations and footnotes have been inserted before publication ‒ sidebars that no reasonable person would ever have inflicted upon a live audience, even one interested in bankruptcy law. Rhetorical accuracy thus yields to scholarly pedantics.) The analysis explains how bankruptcy law not only can but will be required to remedy ...


Inside Safe Assets, Anna Gelpern, Erik F. Gerding Jan 2016

Inside Safe Assets, Anna Gelpern, Erik F. Gerding

Articles

“Safe assets” is a catch-all term to describe financial contracts that market participants treat as if they were risk-free. These may include government debt, bank deposits, and asset-backed securities, among others. The International Monetary Fund estimated potential safe assets at more than $114 trillion worldwide in 2011, more than seven times the U.S. economic output that year.

To treat any contract as if it were risk-free seems delusional after apparently super-safe public and private debt markets collapsed overnight. Nonetheless, safe asset supply and demand have been invoked to explain shadow banking, financial crises, and prolonged economic stagnation. The economic ...


Pensioners, Bondholders, And Unfair Discrimination In Municipal Bankruptcy, Andrew B. Dawson Jan 2014

Pensioners, Bondholders, And Unfair Discrimination In Municipal Bankruptcy, Andrew B. Dawson

Articles

Detroit recently confirmed its plan of debt adjustment under which the city has endeavored to adjust its pension obligations. The court's confirmation order and oral opinion on the record present what is perhaps the most significant decision regarding a key question facing any city attempting to adjust pensions in bankruptcy: can a city propose to pay its pension claimants significantly more than its other unsecured creditors? This question involves interpreting the Bankruptcy Code's unfair discrimination rule.

The Detroit bankruptcy court applied a novel interpretation of unfair discrimination, eschewing the relatively thin body of case law interpreting this rule ...


Detroit's Real Challenge, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2014

Detroit's Real Challenge, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

When Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, it was a bad thing—unless you have the unique world-view of a bankruptcy lawyer, in which case it was marvelous news, worthy of celebration.


Cars In Chapter 13: Does Negative Equity Destroy The Jurisdiction Of The Hanging Paragraph, David Gray Carlson Jan 2012

Cars In Chapter 13: Does Negative Equity Destroy The Jurisdiction Of The Hanging Paragraph, David Gray Carlson

Articles

Roughly speaking, the “hanging paragraph” to Bankruptcy Code 1325(a), enacted in 2005, requires that a debtor pay the full debt on any automobile acquired within 910 days before bankruptcy – a boon for car financiers. Prior to 2005 the debtor had to pay only the appraised value of the car – usually a lesser amount. But the privilege bestowed on car financiers by the hanging paragraph depends on the financier providing “purchase money” credit. About one-third of the time, however, the financier advances funds to repay a prior car loan as part of the “trade-in” of an old vehicle for a ...


Financial Literacy Or Financial Castigation?, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2011

Financial Literacy Or Financial Castigation?, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

This year, the Canadians- through their government-convened Task Force on Financial Literacy - have proudly produced, "Canadians and their Money: Building a Brighter Financial Future." Armed with 30 recommendations, its most dramatic innovation is to recommend the creation of a Financial Literacy Leader. I have been asked to provide an American perspective on this report specifically and the broader agenda of "financial literacy" more generally as a consumer welfare intervention. Let me start by acknowledging the critiques of the Canadian Task Force. For example, my Canadian colleague, Saul Schwartz, has already drafted a compelling analysis of the political economy behind the ...


The Rise In Elder Bankruptcy Filings And The Failure Of U.S. Bankruptcy Law, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2011

The Rise In Elder Bankruptcy Filings And The Failure Of U.S. Bankruptcy Law, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

Recent empirical legal scholarship on the consumer bankruptcy system has uncovered a marked rise in the proportion of elder Americans filing for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. But these studies have not probed the reasons behind that rise, an omission this Article seeks to address. Professor John Pottow and colleagues recently assembled the new dataset of the Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP), the largest national sample of consumer debtors in this country, which he uses to explore the sources of elder bankruptcy. The findings are both striking and ominous. While multiple factors, such as health problems and medical debts, contribute to ...


A New Role For Secondary Proceedings In International Bankruptcies, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2011

A New Role For Secondary Proceedings In International Bankruptcies, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

Secondary proceedings-the ugly stepsisters to main proceedings-get short shrift in international bankruptcy scholarship. This article seeks to remedy that deficiency. First, it describes what it argues are the traditional conceptions-both stated and implicit-of secondary proceedings in international bankruptcies. Second, it offers a revised way of thinking about secondary proceedings, proposing to restrict their scope through the use of "synthetic" hearings. Third, it addresses some problems with the proposed new role of secondary proceedings and sketches a possible solution involving the creation of an international priorities registry.


The Role Of Valuation In Federal Bankruptcy Exemption Process: The Supreme Court Reads Schedule C, David Gray Carlson Jan 2010

The Role Of Valuation In Federal Bankruptcy Exemption Process: The Supreme Court Reads Schedule C, David Gray Carlson

Articles

In Taylor v. Freeland & Kronz, a debtor claimed a law suit was exempt. The bankruptcy trustee failed to object within the required period. Later, the law suit realized an amount that far exceeded the monetary limit to which the debtor was entitled. The Supreme Court permitted the debtor to keep all of the proceeds, even beyond the statutory limit, claiming that a deadline was a deadline. Recently, in Schwab v. Reilly, the Supreme Court overruled Taylor, holding that a claim to a monetarily limited item can only exempt the monetary limit. The Court tries and fails to "reconcile" these two ...


Collective Bargaining Agreements In Corporate Reorganizations, Andrew B. Dawson Jan 2010

Collective Bargaining Agreements In Corporate Reorganizations, Andrew B. Dawson

Articles

Congress enacted § 1113 to the Bankruptcy Code in 1984 in order to establish a standard for the rejection of Collective Bargaining Agreements. But the statute's ambiguous language has caused a split between the Second and Third Circuits, and has precipitated a lengthy academic debate largely centered on the interpretation of one word: "necessary." This debate has focused on proper statutory interpretation as well as deeper concerns regarding the policy goals behind the Bankruptcy Code. The present study reports data that indicate that the different interpretations are irrelevant in practice. No matter how "necessary" is defined, the result is always ...


Chrysler's Bankruptcy: Money Laundering On A Grand Scale, James J. White Jan 2010

Chrysler's Bankruptcy: Money Laundering On A Grand Scale, James J. White

Articles

The interesting issue in Chrysler is not the lawyers’ manipulation of the law; it is the politicians’ use of the bankruptcy to launder money. Had the President simply announced that the federal government would give $4 billion to the UAW, the public, even the public in the UAW’s home state of Michigan, would have been up in arms. By laundering the money through the Chapter 11 process, the administration disguised the payment and avoided the outrage.


Government Involvement In Chrysler Bankruptcy: The Least-Worst Alternative?, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2010

Government Involvement In Chrysler Bankruptcy: The Least-Worst Alternative?, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

As usual, my colleague Jim White has hit many nails on many heads. Also as usual, however, I’m going to be a pain and part ways with him a bit. First, was Chrysler’s bankruptcy “suspicious” in its use of section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code? You bet. Leaving aside the proliferation of 363 sales to swallow Chapter 11 as we once knew it, Chrysler was out in left field. Not only was it a “sale” of everything meaningful in the company, it was to a seller—Fiat—that put in no money. (To be fair, Fiat agreed to ...


The Chapter 13 Estate And Its Discontents, David Gray Carlson Jan 2009

The Chapter 13 Estate And Its Discontents, David Gray Carlson

Articles

Thirty years after the enactment of the Bankruptcy Code, the courts have yet to agree on a theory of the bankruptcy estate in Chapter 13 cases. This is not the fault of the courts. The Bankruptcy Code is contradictory as to the composition of the chapter 13 estate. This article selects one of four possible theories and defends it as the one that does the least violence to the plain meaning of the Bankruptcy Code.

This theory is referred to in this article as the "Divestment Theory," because it holds that, upon confirmation of a chapter 13 plan, the debtor ...


Interpreting Data: A Reply To Professor Pardo, Robert M. Lawless, Angela K. Littwin, Katherine M. Porter, John A. E. Pottow, Deborah K. Thorne, Elizabeth Warren Jan 2009

Interpreting Data: A Reply To Professor Pardo, Robert M. Lawless, Angela K. Littwin, Katherine M. Porter, John A. E. Pottow, Deborah K. Thorne, Elizabeth Warren

Articles

Professor Pardo has published a pointed critique to our Report, raising three major complaints. First, he claims that we make two predicating assumptions in our study that are flawed. Second, he contends that we misunderstand the means test and fail to appreciate with sufficient "nuance" its "operative effect." Third, he maintains that our Report suffers from methodological problems. We can address the two impugned assumptions quickly. The first one - that BAPCPA's means test is the sole causal agent driving 800,000 putative filers from the bankruptcy courts - is not one we make. The second - regarding the income profiles of ...


Bankruptcy Noir, James J. White Jan 2008

Bankruptcy Noir, James J. White

Articles

In Bankruptcy Fire Sales, Professor LoPucki and Dr. Doherty do two things. First, they present provocative data about the relative payoff to be had in Chapter 11 by a full reorganization compared with the payoff from a section 363 sale without a full reorganization. Second, they give a yet more provocative explanation for their data. Taking a page from Professor LoPucki's recent book, they blame the meager return that they observe on 363 sales on the unprincipled behavior of the lawyers, managers, creditors, investment bankers, and even judges involved in the sales. Messrs. LoPucki and Doherty's data appear ...


The Nondischargeability Of Student Loans In Personal Bankruptcy Proceedings: The Search For A Theory, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2007

The Nondischargeability Of Student Loans In Personal Bankruptcy Proceedings: The Search For A Theory, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

In fiscal year 2002, approximately 5.8 million Americans borrowed $38 billion (USD) in federal student loans. This was more than triple the $11.7 billion borrowed in 1990. As a rule of thumb, tuition has been increasing at roughly double the rate of inflation in recent years. This troubling trend of accelerating tuition, coupled with the fact that real income has stagnated for men and increased only modestly for women over the past two decades, means that more and more students are going to need to turn to borrowed money to finance their degrees absent a radical restructuring of ...


Private Liability For Reckless Consumer Lending, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2007

Private Liability For Reckless Consumer Lending, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

Congress recently enacted amendments to the Bankruptcy Code that possess the overarching theme of cracking down on debtors due to the increasing rate at which individuals have been filing for bankruptcy. Taking into account the correlation between the overall rise in consumer credit card debt and the rate of individual bankruptcy filings, the author nevertheless hypothesizes that not all credit card debt is troubling. Instead, the author proposes that the catalyst driving individual bankruptcy rates higher than ever is the level of "bad credit"-or credit extended to individuals even though there is a reasonable likelihood that the individual will ...


The Myth (And Realities) Of Forum Shopping In Transnational Insolvency, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2007

The Myth (And Realities) Of Forum Shopping In Transnational Insolvency, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

A decade ago, in 1996, the landscape of transnational insolvencies was vastly different from today. The UNCITRAL Model Law had not been finished, the efforts at the E.U. Insolvency Treaty were jeopardized by mad cows, and no one had heard of Chapter 15. Now, all three universalist projects are up and running, putting universalism in a comfortable state of ascendancy. The paradigm has not been without critics, however, the most persistent and eloquent of which has been Professor Lynn LoPucki. LoPucki has periodically attacked universalism on a number of grounds. These grievances include a sovereigntist complaint of universalism's ...


Cars And Homes In Chapter 13 After The 2005 Amendments To The Bankruptcy Code, David Gray Carlson Jan 2006

Cars And Homes In Chapter 13 After The 2005 Amendments To The Bankruptcy Code, David Gray Carlson

Articles

No abstract provided.


Greed And Pride In International Bankruptcy: The Problems Of And Proposed Solutions To 'Local Interests', John A. E. Pottow Jan 2006

Greed And Pride In International Bankruptcy: The Problems Of And Proposed Solutions To 'Local Interests', John A. E. Pottow

Articles

The collapses of Yukos, Parmalat, and other international juggernauts have focused scholarly attention on the failure of multinational enterprises. Even what one might consider "American" companies, such as Chicago-based United Airlines, have made clear in their restructuring plans that their operations have profound effects on the dozens of nations around the globe where they transact business. Government and quasi-government reform efforts to regulate these cross-border insolvencies have abounded, including among others, the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency. UNCITRAL is also building on World Bank and INSOL efforts at promulgating a Legislative Guide for "best practices" bankruptcy codes. Scholars vary ...


Abuse Prevention 2005, James J. White Jan 2006

Abuse Prevention 2005, James J. White

Articles

Today I do not debate the empirical question (what is the cause of the increase in bankruptcy filings?) nor do I address the buried moral question (who deserves the protection of bankruptcy law?). Rather, I speculate about the consequences of 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code and about the reasons it will achieve or fail to achieve the goals of its sponsors. Along the way I hope to learn something about how law changes, or fails to change behavior.


The Totality Of The Circumstances Of The Debtor's Financial Situation In A Post-Means Test World: Trying To Bridge The Wedoff/Culhane & White Divide, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2006

The Totality Of The Circumstances Of The Debtor's Financial Situation In A Post-Means Test World: Trying To Bridge The Wedoff/Culhane & White Divide, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff and Creighton Law School professors Marianne Culhane and Michaela White engage in a spirited debate over a series of law review articles about the proper scope of motions to dismiss a debtor's petition under section 707(b) of the freshly revised Bankruptcy Code. It is an interesting and provocative dialogue, with both sides advancing their respective positions persuasively. As a result, I find myself in the unfortunate position of wanting to agree with both. Since that is impossible, however, this brief article is my attempt to find a middle ground between their two positions. It ...


Ethical Issues In Asbestos Litigation, Lester Brickman Jan 2005

Ethical Issues In Asbestos Litigation, Lester Brickman

Articles

Asbestos litigation has given rise to over 50,000,000 claims against 8400 former producers, distributors, installers and sellers of asbestos-containing products. To date, 850,000 claimants have sought compensation, costing businesses and insurance companies over $70 billion and resulting in more than 70 bankruptcies. Over 100,000 deaths are attributable to asbestos exposure with an additional 40,000 deaths anticipated over the next 30 years. Despite the significance of the ethical issues generated by the processes of acquiring, pressing and settling the most massive litigation in history, the legal literature is substantially devoid of any such discussion. One possible ...


Procedural Incrementalism: A Model For International Bankruptcy, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2005

Procedural Incrementalism: A Model For International Bankruptcy, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

The headline-grabbing business failures of late have brought increased attention to the relatively unresolved area of multinational bankruptcies. Parmalat, Global Crossing, and United Airlines are among the few international juggernauts that have foundered. In the financial meltdowns of these cross-border institutions, assets and creditors are dispersed throughout commercial environments that rarely end neatly at national borders. There has been heated debate, both in scholarly literature and the practical battlefield, over how best to resolve these transnational insolvencies, and there is nothing yet approaching a consensus. Reform efforts of various stripes have almost uniformly failed to gain meaningful international support. At ...


Indemnity, Liability, Insolvency, David Gray Carlson Jan 2004

Indemnity, Liability, Insolvency, David Gray Carlson

Articles

Suppose A has a claim against B. B has a claim over against C. B, however, is insolvent and has not actually paid A. B's only asset is, in fact, B v C. To what extent can C claim that B v C is valueless - that B was not damaged because B was too broke to pay A?

This paper argues that the fundamental legal distinction between indemnity and liability is beginning to dissolve, because B can always pay A (and thereby give value to B v C) by borrowing the amount B owes and using B v C ...


Bankruptcy's Acephalous Moment: Postpetition Transfers Under The Bankruptcy Code, David Gray Carlson Jan 2004

Bankruptcy's Acephalous Moment: Postpetition Transfers Under The Bankruptcy Code, David Gray Carlson

Articles

No abstract provided.


Death And Resurrection Of Secured Credit, James J. White Jan 2004

Death And Resurrection Of Secured Credit, James J. White

Articles

The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 (the Code) posed palpable threats to secured creditors. It was drafted by a commission that was at least as concerned with the rights of debtors as with the rights of creditors. It was modified and adopted by a Congress that might have been the most liberal since World War II and signed into law by President Carter at the apogee of the left's power, two years before the Reagan election that marked the rise of the right and the beginning of the left's decline. The power of the left was exerted most ...


Avoidance Theory According To Steve Nickles, David Gray Carlson Jan 2001

Avoidance Theory According To Steve Nickles, David Gray Carlson

Articles

No abstract provided.