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Immunity Through Bankruptcy For The Sackler Family, Daniel G. Aaron, Michael S. Sinha Apr 2024

Immunity Through Bankruptcy For The Sackler Family, Daniel G. Aaron, Michael S. Sinha

All Faculty Scholarship

In August 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked one of the largest public health settlements in history: that of Purdue Pharma, L.P., reached in bankruptcy court. The negotiated bankruptcy settlement approved by the court would give a golden parachute to the very people thought to have ignited the opioid crisis: the Sackler family. As the Supreme Court considers the propriety of immunity through bankruptcy, the case has raised fundamental questions about whether bankruptcy is a proper refuge from tort liability and whether law checks power or law serves power.

Of course, bankruptcy courts often limit liability against a distressed …


The Mismatched Goals Of Bankruptcy And Mass Tort Litigation, Maureen Carroll Mar 2024

The Mismatched Goals Of Bankruptcy And Mass Tort Litigation, Maureen Carroll

Reviews

By the end of this Term, SCOTUS must decide what to do about the mammoth Purdue Pharma bankruptcy settlement. If allowed to go forward, the $10 billion deal will not only resolve claims against the company, it will shield the Sackler family—the company’s former owners—from any further liability for their role in the opioid crisis. The deal has generated a great deal of discussion, much of it focused on the legality and wisdom of that third-party release. The authors of Against Bankruptcy take a broader view, asking a set of critical questions about the proper role of bankruptcy in the …


Against Bankruptcy: Public Litigation Values Versus The Endless Quest For Global Peace In Mass Litigation, Abbe Gluck, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Adam Zimmerman Feb 2024

Against Bankruptcy: Public Litigation Values Versus The Endless Quest For Global Peace In Mass Litigation, Abbe Gluck, Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Adam Zimmerman

Scholarly Works

Can bankruptcy court solve a public health crisis? Should the goal of “global peace” in complex lawsuits trump traditional litigation values in a system grounded in public participation and jurisdictional redundancy? How much leeway do courts have to innovate civil procedure?

These questions have finally reached the Supreme Court in Harrington v. Purdue Pharma L.P., the $6 billion bankruptcy that purports to achieve global resolution of all current and future opioids suits against the company and its former family owners, the Sacklers. The case provides a critical opportunity to reflect on what is lost when parties in mass torts find …


Creditors, Shareholders, And Losers In Between: A Failed Regulatory Experiment, Albert H. Choi, Jeffery Zhang Jan 2024

Creditors, Shareholders, And Losers In Between: A Failed Regulatory Experiment, Albert H. Choi, Jeffery Zhang

Law & Economics Working Papers

In the aftermath of the 2007-08 Global Financial Crisis, regulators encouraged many of the world’s largest banks to hold a new type of regulatory instrument with the goal of improving their safety and soundness. The regulatory instrument was known as a “CoCo,” short for contingent convertible bond. CoCos are neither debt nor equity. They are something in between, designed to give the bank a shot in the arm during times of stress. Many of the largest international banks have issued CoCos worth hundreds of billions of dollars. After more than ten years—a decade that includes the collapse of Credit Suisse …


Rethinking Antebellum Bankruptcy, Rafael I. Pardo Jan 2024

Rethinking Antebellum Bankruptcy, Rafael I. Pardo

Scholarship@WashULaw

Bankruptcy law has been repeatedly reinvented over time in response to changing circumstances. The Bankruptcy Act of 1841—passed by Congress to address the financial ruin caused by the Panic of 1837—constituted a revolutionary break from its immediate predecessor, the Bankruptcy Act of 1800, which was the nation’s first bankruptcy statute. Although Congress repealed the 1841 Act in 1843, the legislation lasted significantly longer than recognized by scholars. The repeal legislation permitted pending bankruptcy cases to be finally resolved pursuant to the Act’s terms. Because debtors flooded the judicially understaffed 1841 Act system with over 46,000 cases, the Act’s administration continued …


Foreclosure Sales As Fraudulent Transfers, David G. Carlson Jan 2024

Foreclosure Sales As Fraudulent Transfers, David G. Carlson

Articles

The Supreme Court has declared that noncollusive, regularly conducted foreclosure sales are not “constructive” fraudulent transfers voidable by a bankruptcy trustee Uniform state legislation ratifies this instinct for private creditor enforcements. But collusive or irregular foreclosure sales or sales that are intended to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors are subject to creditor attack, even though unsecured creditors are not proper parties to the foreclosure process. In such cases, unsecured creditors can cloud the title obtained from foreclosure in the cases of collusion, irregularity or fraudulent intent. This article examines precisely when foreclosure sales can be avoided by unsecured creditors of …


Bankruptcy Fiduciaries, Christopher D. Hampson Jan 2024

Bankruptcy Fiduciaries, Christopher D. Hampson

UF Law Faculty Publications

Does social enterprise end with insolvency? Is bankruptcy all about the bottom line? The answer to these questions begins with understanding the estate in bankruptcy and the fiduciaries that control its fate. Yet the law of fiduciary duties in bankruptcy is undertheorized, conflicted, and muddled. After almost fifty years of confusion, this Article provides the first comprehensive examination of the nature and source of fiduciary duties in bankruptcy. Although the Supreme Court has intoned “maximize the value of the estate” as a shorthand, I argue that the trustee’s duty of obedience in reorganization cases gives rise to a “duty to …


Understanding The Neutrals In Canadian Insolvency Proceedings, Stephanie Ben-Ishai, Meena Alnajar Nov 2023

Understanding The Neutrals In Canadian Insolvency Proceedings, Stephanie Ben-Ishai, Meena Alnajar

Articles & Book Chapters

No abstract provided.


Johnson, John T., 1820-1875 (Sc 3699), Manuscripts & Folklife Archives Oct 2023

Johnson, John T., 1820-1875 (Sc 3699), Manuscripts & Folklife Archives

MSS Finding Aids

Finding aid and scan (Click on "Additional Files" below) for Manuscripts Small Collection 3699. Case file for T. T. Melburn v. John T. Johnson, U.S. District Court for the District of Kentucky, filed 26 May 1870. Petitioner Melburn, a carpenter and stair builder of Bowling Green, Kentucky, sought an accounting for transactions during his 1869-1870 partnership with Johnson, also a carpenter, of Woodburn, Kentucky, claiming that Johnson had misappropriated assets of the firm and had committed an act of insolvency by transferring land to a relative. The inquiry, conducted by Warner Underwood as Register in Bankruptcy, included depositions from …


A Revised Perspective On Non-Debtor Releases, Joshua M. Silverstein Oct 2023

A Revised Perspective On Non-Debtor Releases, Joshua M. Silverstein

Faculty Scholarship

“Non-debtor releases” are bankruptcy orders that extinguish claims against a party other than a bankrupt debtor over the objection of the creditor. Also known as “third-party releases,” the legality of these orders is one of the most important and controversial issues in bankruptcy law specifically and business law generally. The split in the courts over the propriety of non-debtor releases stretches back thirty-five years. However, the United States Supreme Court is poised to resolve the split this term in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy. In two prior articles published in 2006 and 2009, I argued that third-party releases are permissible under …


Silencing Litigation Through Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey, Christopher K. Odinet Oct 2023

Silencing Litigation Through Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey, Christopher K. Odinet

Articles

Bankruptcy is being used as a tool for silencing survivors and their families. When faced with claims from multiple plaintiffs related to the same wrongful conduct that can financially or operationally crush the defendant over the long term—a phenomenon we identify as onslaught litigation—defendants harness bankruptcy’s reorganization process to draw together those who allege harm and pressure them into a swift, universal settlement. In doing so, they use the bankruptcy system to deprive survivors of their voice and the public of the truth. This Article identifies this phenomenon and argues that it is time to rein in this destructive use …


The Housing Bubble And Consumer Banruptcy (Parts Iii And Iv), David G. Carlson Oct 2023

The Housing Bubble And Consumer Banruptcy (Parts Iii And Iv), David G. Carlson

Articles

During the COVID pandemic housing prices have soared. Consumers who have filed for bankruptcy are now looking at enormous realized and unrealized capital gains. This article assesses the chances that these consumer debtors can keep these gains out of the hands of their creditors. Part II of this two-part article addresses chapter 13 issues, which concern plan modification by the chapter 13 trustee to capture realized and unrealized capital gains. It also covers whether a trustee in a converted case can capture these gains. The law of the coverted chapter 7 case is spectacularly contradictory.


Brief For Amici Curiae Bankruptcy Law Professors In Support Of Petitioner, Pamela Foohey Sep 2023

Brief For Amici Curiae Bankruptcy Law Professors In Support Of Petitioner, Pamela Foohey

Amicus Briefs

Amici, whose names and affiliations are set forth in alphabetical order on Appendix A, are law professors who study the United States’ bankruptcy system. They have published in some of the nation’s leading academic journals on corporate reorganization issues, including the case sub judice. They write solely based on their concern about the effect that the opinion below will have on this system.

Petitioner argues that the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in this case should be reversed because the United States Bankruptcy Code does not permit the nonconsensual nondebtor release (“NDR”) of the Debtors’ owners (the …


Brief Of Amici Curiae Law Professors In Support Of Appellant On The Role Of Bankruptcy Examiners In Chapter 11 Reorganization, Pamela Foohey Sep 2023

Brief Of Amici Curiae Law Professors In Support Of Appellant On The Role Of Bankruptcy Examiners In Chapter 11 Reorganization, Pamela Foohey

Amicus Briefs

Amici curiae, whose biographical information appears on Appendix A (“Amici”), are professors at law schools in the Third Circuit and around the nation. They study and write extensively about bankruptcy and related business law subjects. Their work has appeared in many of the nation’s leading academic journals, and includes path-breaking scholarship on the use of bankruptcy examiners in freefall and cryptocurrency cases.

Amici share a commitment to the transparent and efficient administration of the chapter 11 system, and a belief that the interest of the public and creditors in this large and notorious chapter 11 case must be vindicated …


Proposal For A New Regulation Of Speculation In Sovereign Debt, Justin Vanderschuren Sep 2023

Proposal For A New Regulation Of Speculation In Sovereign Debt, Justin Vanderschuren

Fellow, Adjunct, Lecturer, and Research Scholar Works

Over the past few years, several countries have undertaken to regulate the speculation in sovereign debt pursued by so-called “vulture funds.” The various realizations and attempts present a series of loopholes that make a new regulation of this speculation advisable. A proposal for a new regulation, legally justified and precisely framed, is all the more desirable given that some legislators, in particular from the New York State Legislature, have recently taken up the issue of speculation.

Debt sustainability is the only realistic regulation benchmark. It is inconceivable to ban debt purchases on the secondary market as this would significantly impact …


Sovereign Debt Speculation: A Necessary Restraint Justified By A Concern For Debt Sustainability, Justin Vanderschuren Sep 2023

Sovereign Debt Speculation: A Necessary Restraint Justified By A Concern For Debt Sustainability, Justin Vanderschuren

Fellow, Adjunct, Lecturer, and Research Scholar Works

The actions of funds speculating in sovereign debt, frequently nicknamed “vulture funds”, are often roundly criticized. These funds purchase distressed debts on the secondary market at reduced prices and then seek payment in court at face value plus interest and fees. Although their actions are legally justified, so-called “vulture funds” are vilified due to the negative impact of their activities on sovereign debtors and their population. While there is a strong demand for regulating sovereign debt speculation, various solutions already exist but are, in many ways, insufficient. This article argues for the adoption of a tailored regulation of the speculative …


Modular Bankruptcy: Toward A Consumer Scheme Of Arrangement, John A. E. Pottow Aug 2023

Modular Bankruptcy: Toward A Consumer Scheme Of Arrangement, John A. E. Pottow

Law & Economics Working Papers

The world of international bankruptcy has seen increasing use of the versatile scheme of arrangement, a form of corporate reorganization available under English law. A key feature of the scheme is its modularity, whereby a debtor can restructure only a single class of debt, such as bond indentures, without affecting other debt, such as trade. This is the opposite of chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s comprehensive reckoning of all financial stakeholders. This article considers a novel idea: could the scheme be transplanted into the consumer realm? It argues that it could and should. Substantial benefits of more individually …


Discharge Discrimination, Nicole Langston Aug 2023

Discharge Discrimination, Nicole Langston

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Although the Bankruptcy Code is facially neutral, the consumer bankruptcy discharge provisions produce anomalies that run counter to bankruptcy's internal principles of not forgiving debt that is based on misconduct or that implicates a public policy concern. For example, the discharge provisions allow some individuals to discharge debt that stems from civil rights violations or tortious discrimination. In contrast, the Bankruptcy Code precludes some debtors from debt relief based on narrow views of misconduct or misconceptions about moral hazards. These individuals who file for bankruptcy owe debts that generally cannot be forgiven, like civil and criminal fees and fines and …


Interest Rates, Venture Capital, And Financial Stability, Hilary J. Allen Jul 2023

Interest Rates, Venture Capital, And Financial Stability, Hilary J. Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Following several prominent bank failures and as central banks continue to tighten interest rates to fight inflation, there is increasing interest in the relationship between monetary policy and financial stability. This Article illuminates one path through which the prolonged period of low interest rates from 2009-2021 has impacted financial stability: it traces how yield-seeking behavior in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis and Covid pandemic led to a bubble in the venture capital industry, which in turn spawned a crypto bubble as well as a run on the VC-favored Silicon Valley Bank. This Article uses this narrative to illustrate …


The Housing Bubble And Consumer Bankruptcy (Parts I And Ii), David G. Carlson Jul 2023

The Housing Bubble And Consumer Bankruptcy (Parts I And Ii), David G. Carlson

Articles

During the COVID pandemic housing prices have soared. Consumers who have filed for bankruptcy are now looking at enormous realized and unrealized capital gains. This article assesses the chances that these consumer debtors can keep these gains out of the hands of their creditors. Part I of this two-part article addresses chapter 7 issues, which concern lien stripping, abandonment, and monetary exemptions. It also addresses lien stripping in chapter 13 cases. Part II will address whether a chapter 13 debtor must surrender appreciation value to the chapter 13 trustee or to a trustee in a converted chapter 7 case.


Evaluating Nondebtor Releases: How Purdue Pharma Emphasizes The Need For Congress To Resolve The Decades-Long Debate, Sarah Melanson Jun 2023

Evaluating Nondebtor Releases: How Purdue Pharma Emphasizes The Need For Congress To Resolve The Decades-Long Debate, Sarah Melanson

Connecticut Law Review

In 2019, Purdue Pharma filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (the “Code”) due to an onslaught of lawsuits arising from its alleged contribution to the opioid crisis. The proposed plan of reorganization became notorious for its release of the Sackler family––nondebtors–– from future civil liability relating to opioid litigation. For over 30 years, Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal have split on whether the Code allows release of nondebtors. A majority of circuits have recognized that the Code’s grant of broad, discretionary equitable powers authorizes nondebtor releases. The recent emergence of several mass-tort bankruptcies containing …


Comments On Federal Trade Commission Non-Compete Ban Proposed Rule, Matter No. P201200, Chaz D. Brooks Apr 2023

Comments On Federal Trade Commission Non-Compete Ban Proposed Rule, Matter No. P201200, Chaz D. Brooks

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Within signed law professors and law students submitted this letter to the Federal Trade Commission, writing in their individual capacities, not as agents of their affiliated institutions, in support of the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule to ban most non-compete clauses (the “Proposal”) as an unfair method of competition.

This letter offers comments in response to areas where the FTC has requested public comment. To make our views clear, this letter contains the following sections: I. Summary of the Proposal; II. The Commission Should Consider Expanding Its Definition of Non-Compete Clauses to Prevent Employers from Requiring Workers to Quit Before …


Debtor Embezzlement Of Collateral, Jonathon S. Byington Apr 2023

Debtor Embezzlement Of Collateral, Jonathon S. Byington

Faculty Law Review Articles

This Article is about collateral and the “embezzlement” exception to
discharge under § 523(a)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code. Under the Uniform
Commercial Code, collateral is property subject to a security interest. The
“embezzlement” exception to discharge requires a debtor fraudulently
appropriate entrusted property. A debtor fraudulently appropriates a
security interest when the debtor, in conjunction with circumstances
indicating fraud, transfers collateral or proceeds of collateral to a transferee
who takes free of the security interest. A secured party “entrusts” its
security interest to a debtor in situations where a debtor has power or
control over collateral. There is a split …


Due Process Discontents In Mass-Tort Bankruptcy, J. Maria Glover Apr 2023

Due Process Discontents In Mass-Tort Bankruptcy, J. Maria Glover

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

No abstract provided.


Love Hertz: Corporate Groups And Insolvency Forum Selection, John A. E. Pottow Mar 2023

Love Hertz: Corporate Groups And Insolvency Forum Selection, John A. E. Pottow

Law & Economics Working Papers

The Hertz bankruptcy got a lot of attention, including for its bizarre equity trading. A less heralded but more significant legal aspect of that insolvency, however, was its complex interaction of cross-border insolvency proceedings.

This article discusses the “centripetal” and “centrifugal” forces in the Hertz case that counselled a U.S.-based centralized solution for an international enterprise comprising over 10,000 branches centripetally but also accommodated centrifugal European resistance to subject directors to the consequences of filing their entities in a foreign jurisdiction. This not uncommon constellation of incentives required not a COMI shift but what this article terms a jurisdiction shift …


Regulatory Managerialism Inaction: A Case Study Of Bank Regulation And Climate Change, Hilary J. Allen Feb 2023

Regulatory Managerialism Inaction: A Case Study Of Bank Regulation And Climate Change, Hilary J. Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

In November of 2029, Hurricane Penelope struck New York City as a category two storm. Work had started on a wall to protect Manhattan from rising sea levels and storm surges, but the work was incomplete, and significant damage to Manhattan real estate was sustained. While almost all that real estate was insured, insurance companies were compromised by the sheer magnitude of the losses. Even with significant federal subsidies, they were unable to meet their full commitments on insurance policies. Some commercial real estate firms, who had never really recovered from the shift to remote working during the Covid pandemic, …


Duped By Dope: The Sackler Family’S Attempt To Escape Opioid Liability And The Need To Close The Non-Debtor Release Loophole, Bryson T. Strachan Jan 2023

Duped By Dope: The Sackler Family’S Attempt To Escape Opioid Liability And The Need To Close The Non-Debtor Release Loophole, Bryson T. Strachan

Law Student Publications

The opioid epidemic continues to rage on in the United States, ravaging its rural populations. One of its main causes? OxyContin. Purdue Pharma (“Purdue”), the maker of OxyContin, aggressively marketed opioids to the American public while racking up a fortune of over $13 billion dollars for its owners,3 the Sackler family. As a result, roughly 3,000 lawsuits were filed against Purdue and members of the Sackler family. Generally, the lawsuits alleged that Purdue and members of the Sackler family knew OxyContin was highly addictive yet aggressively marketed high dosages of the drug and misrepresented the drug as nonaddictive and without …


Built For Business: The Commercial Need For Aggregate Litigation, Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld Jan 2023

Built For Business: The Commercial Need For Aggregate Litigation, Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld

Connecticut Law Review

Commercial actors long have argued that class actions are bad for business. But for even longer, business groups have supported other types of aggregate litigation that closely resemble class actions, such as expansive federal bankruptcy. While critics have successfully limited national aggregation via class actions, they have not even attempted to criticize aggregation via bankruptcy.

Why have business groups attacked aggregate litigation in some cases and supported it in others? This Article provides an answer by examining aggregation’s origins and development, and what emerges, it turns out, is very much the opposite of what aggregation’s pro-business critics would have us …


Defi: Shadow Banking 2.0?, Hilary J. Allen Jan 2023

Defi: Shadow Banking 2.0?, Hilary J. Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

The growth of so-called “shadow banking” was a significant contributor to the financial crisis of 2008, which had huge social costs that we still grapple with today. Our financial regulatory system still hasn’t fully figured out how to address the risks of the derivatives, securitizations, and money market mutual funds that comprised Shadow Banking 1.0, but we’re already facing the prospect o fShadow Banking 2.0in the form of decentralized finance, or “DeFi.” DeFi’s proponents speak of a future where sending money is as easy as sending a photograph–but money is not the same as a photograph. The stakes are much …


Regulatory Innovation And Permission To Fail: The Case Of Suptech, Hilary J. Allen Jan 2023

Regulatory Innovation And Permission To Fail: The Case Of Suptech, Hilary J. Allen

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision West Virginia v. EPA has cast a pall over the discretion of administrative agencies at a very inopportune time. The private sector is currently adopting new technologies at a rapid pace, and as regulated industries become more technologically complex, administrative agencies must innovate technological tools of their own in order to keep up. Agencies will increasingly struggle to do their jobs without that innovation, but the private sector is afforded something that is both critical to the innovation process, and often denied to administrative agencies: “permission to fail.” Without some grace for the inevitable …