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Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Law School News: Distinguished Research Professor: John Chung 05-24-2020, Michael M. Bowden May 2020

Law School News: Distinguished Research Professor: John Chung 05-24-2020, Michael M. Bowden

Life of the Law School (1993- )

No abstract provided.


Financing Failure: Bankruptcy Lending, Credit Market Conditions, And The Financial Crisis, Frederick Tung Apr 2020

Financing Failure: Bankruptcy Lending, Credit Market Conditions, And The Financial Crisis, Frederick Tung

Faculty Scholarship

When contemplating Chapter 11, firms often need to seek financing for their continuing operations in bankruptcy. Because such financing would otherwise be hard to find, the Bankruptcy Code authorizes debtors to offer sweeteners to debtor-in-possession (DIP) lenders. These inducements can be effective in attracting financing, but because they are thought to come at the expense of other stakeholders, the Code permits these inducements only if no less generous a package would have been sufficient to obtain the loan.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of certain controversial inducements — I focus on roll-ups and milestones — skyrocketed in recent years, leading critics ...


A No-Contest Discharge For Uncollectible Student Loans, Brook E. Gotberg, Matthew Bruckner, Dalie Jimenez, Chrystin Ondersma Jan 2020

A No-Contest Discharge For Uncollectible Student Loans, Brook E. Gotberg, Matthew Bruckner, Dalie Jimenez, Chrystin Ondersma

Faculty Publications

Over forty-four million Americans owe more than $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. This debt is nearly impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. Attempting to do so may require costly and contentious litigation with the Department of Education. And because the Department typically fights every case, even initial success can be followed by years of appeals. As a result, few student loan borrowers attempt to discharge their student loan debt in bankruptcy.

In this Article, we call on the Department of Education to develop a set of ten easily ascertainable and verifiable circumstances in which it will not contest a ...


Fines, Fees, And Filing Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey Jan 2020

Fines, Fees, And Filing Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey

Articles by Maurer Faculty

When faced with mounting civil or criminal court fines, fees, and interest-"court debt," as broadly defined-people may consider turning to the bankruptcy system to deal with that debt. Every year, about a million people file bankruptcy, seeking to discharge most of their debts. Although most court debt is categorically nondischargeable, bankruptcy's discharge may provide people struggling with court debt a way to wipe the slate somewhat clean so they have a better chance of paying such debt. Also, people who file bankruptcy under chapter 13--one of the two most common chapters filed by consumers are entitled to a ...


Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra Jan 2020

Bankruptcy’S Role In The Covid-19 Crisis, Edward R. Morrison, Andrea C. Saavedra

Faculty Scholarship

Policymakers have minimized the role of bankruptcy law in mitigating the financial fallout from COVID-19. Scholars too are unsure about the merits of bankruptcy, especially Chapter 11, in resolving business distress. We argue that Chapter 11 complements current stimulus policies for large corporations, such as the airlines, and that Treasury should consider making it a precondition for receiving government-backed financing. Chapter 11 offers a flexible, speedy, and crisis-tested tool for preserving businesses, financing them with government funds (if necessary), and ensuring that the costs of distress are borne primarily by investors, not taxpayers. Chapter 11 saves businesses and employment, not ...


Restructuring Vs. Bankruptcy, Jason Roderick Donaldson, Edward R. Morrison, Giorgia Piacentino, Xiaobo Yu Jan 2020

Restructuring Vs. Bankruptcy, Jason Roderick Donaldson, Edward R. Morrison, Giorgia Piacentino, Xiaobo Yu

Faculty Scholarship

We develop a model of a firm in financial distress. Distress can be mitigated by filing for bankruptcy, which is costly, or preempted by restructuring, which is impeded by a collective action problem. We find that bankruptcy and restructuring are complements, not substitutes: Reducing bankruptcy costs facilitates restructuring, rather than crowding it out. And so does making bankruptcy more debtor-friendly, under a condition that seems likely to hold now in the United States. The model gives new perspectives on current relief policies (e.g., subsidized loans to firms in bankruptcy) and on long-standing legal debates (e.g., the efficiency of ...


Cacs And Doorknobs, Anna Gelpern, Jeromin Zettelmeyer Oct 2019

Cacs And Doorknobs, Anna Gelpern, Jeromin Zettelmeyer

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In response to debt crises, policy makers often feature Collective Action Clauses (CACs) in sovereign bonds among the pillars of international financial architecture. However, the content of official pronouncements about CACs suggests that CACs are more like doorknobs: a process tool with limited impact on the incidence or ultimate outcome of a debt restructuring. We ask whether CACs are welfare improving and, if so, whether they are pillars or doorknobs. The history of CACs in corporate debt suggests that CACs can be good, bad or unimportant depending on their vulnerability to abuse and the available alternatives, including bankruptcy and debt ...


Relational Preferences In Chapter 11 Proceedings, Brook E. Gotberg Jul 2019

Relational Preferences In Chapter 11 Proceedings, Brook E. Gotberg

Faculty Publications

It is no secret that creditors hate so-called "preference" actions, which permit a debtor to recover payments made to creditors on the eve of bankruptcy for the benefit of the estate. Nominally, preference actions are intended to equalize the extent to which each unsecured creditor must bear the loss of a bankruptcy discharge, or to discourage creditors from rushing to collect from the debtor in such a way that will push an insolvent debtor into bankruptcy. But empirical evidence strongly suggests that, at least in chapter 11 reorganization proceedings, preference actions do not fulfill either of these stated goals. Interviews ...


Do Payday Loans Cause Bankruptcy?, Paige M. Skiba Jan 2019

Do Payday Loans Cause Bankruptcy?, Paige M. Skiba

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

An estimated ten million American households borrow on payday loans each year. Despite the prevalence of these loans, little is known about the effects of access to this form of short-term, high-cost credit. We match individual-level administrative records on payday borrowing to public records on personal bankruptcy, and we exploit a regression discontinuity to estimate the causal impact of access to payday loans on bankruptcy filings. Though the size of the typical payday loan is only $300, we find that loan approval for first-time applicants increases the two-year Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing rate by 2.48 percentage points. There appear ...


Reforming Institutions: The Judicial Function In Bankruptcy And Public Law Litigation, William H. Simon, Kathleen G. Noonan, Jonathan C. Lipson Jan 2019

Reforming Institutions: The Judicial Function In Bankruptcy And Public Law Litigation, William H. Simon, Kathleen G. Noonan, Jonathan C. Lipson

Faculty Scholarship

Public law litigation (PLL) is among the most important and controversial types of dispute that courts face. These civil class actions seek to reform public agencies such as police departments, prison systems, and child welfare agencies that have failed to meet basic statutory or constitutional obligations. They are controversial because critics assume that judicial intervention is categorically undemocratic or beyond judicial expertise.

This Article reveals flaws in these criticisms by comparing the judicial function in PLL to that in corporate bankruptcy, where the value and legitimacy of judicial intervention are better understood and more accepted. Our comparison shows that judicial ...


Manipulating Random Assignment: Evidence From Consumer Bankruptcies In The Nation's Largest Cities, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Jonathon Zytnick Jan 2019

Manipulating Random Assignment: Evidence From Consumer Bankruptcies In The Nation's Largest Cities, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Jonathon Zytnick

Faculty Scholarship

Random case assignment is thought to be an important feature of decision-making in federal courts because it helps guard against favoritism (actual or perceived) toward particular parties or types of cases. In bankruptcy courts, cases are randomly assigned to both judges and trustees. In Chapter 7 cases, for example, the trustee is a quasi-judicial actor, typically a private-sector lawyer, who has been selected to audit the debtor's finances, find and liquidate assets, and police compliance with the law. We study three major bankruptcy jurisdictions (covering Chicago, Los Angeles, and parts of New York) and find that the random-assignment process ...


Catholic Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Marie T. Reilly Jan 2019

Catholic Dioceses In Bankruptcy, Marie T. Reilly

Catholic Dioceses in Bankruptcy

The Catholic Church is coping with mass tort liability for sexual abuse of children by priests. Since 2004, eighteen Catholic organizations have filed for relief in bankruptcy. Fifteen debtors emerged from bankruptcy after settling with sexual abuse claimants and insurers. During settlement negotiations, sexual abuse claimants and debtors clashed over the extent of the debtors’ property and ability to pay claims. Although such disputes are common in chapter 11 plan negotiations, the Catholic cases required the parties and bankruptcy courts to account for unique religious attributes of Catholic debtors. This article reviews the arguments and outcomes on property issues based ...


America Is Selling Its Seniors Short, Constantine N. Katsoris Jan 2019

America Is Selling Its Seniors Short, Constantine N. Katsoris

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr. Oct 2018

Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this brief essay, to be included in a book celebrating the work of Jay Westbrook, I begin by surveying Jay’s wide-ranging contributions to bankruptcy scholarship. Jay’s functional analysis has had a profound effect on scholars’ understanding of key issues in domestic bankruptcy law, and Jay has been the leading scholarly figure on cross-border insolvency. After surveying Jay’s influence, I turn to the topic at hand: a proposed reform that would facilitate the use of bankruptcy to resolve the financial distress of large financial institutions. Jay has been a strong critic of this legislation, arguing that financial ...


Milking The Estate, David R. Hague Oct 2018

Milking The Estate, David R. Hague

Faculty Articles

Recent Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are exposing a widespread problem. Chapter 7 trustees are retaining their own law firms to represent them and then in clear breach of their fiduciary duties to creditors-requesting illegitimate legal fees to be paid by the estate. This practice is immoral and particularly harmful to creditors. Indeed, every dollar paid to the trustee and his firm is a dollar that will not be distributed to creditors. The Bankruptcy Code, remarkably, allows a trustee to retain his own law firm to represent him in his capacity as a trustee. But this inherently conflicted arrangement is not ...


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 ...


Sare Manipulation: The Hurdles In Single-Asset Real Estate Cases, David R. Hague Jan 2018

Sare Manipulation: The Hurdles In Single-Asset Real Estate Cases, David R. Hague

Faculty Articles

Under § 1129(a)(10) of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor's plan of reorganization cannot be confirmed unless at least one "impaired class" accepts the plan, excluding acceptance of any insider of the debtor. A class of claims accepts the plan if more than one-half in number and at least two-thirds in amount of claims voting in a class favor the plan. Thus, a debtor's composition of its classes clearly has a substantial impact upon its chances of successfully confirming its plan of reorganization over dissenting creditors. Obviously, the debtor would like to have unfettered power and full discretion ...


Commodifying Consumer Data In The Era Of The Internet Of Things, Stacy-Ann Elvy Jan 2018

Commodifying Consumer Data In The Era Of The Internet Of Things, Stacy-Ann Elvy

Articles & Chapters

Internet of Things (“IOT”) products generate a wealth of data about consumers that was never before widely and easily accessible to companies. Examples include biometric and health-related data, such as fingerprint patterns, heart rates and calories burned. This Article explores the connection between the types of data generated by the IOT and the financial frameworks of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Bankruptcy Code. It critiques these regimes, which enable the commodification of consumer data, as well as laws aimed at protecting consumer data, such as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, various state biometric ...


Bankruptcy Law—Rethinking The Discharge Of Late Filed Taxes In Consumer Bankruptcy, Justin H. Dion, Barbara Curatolo Jan 2018

Bankruptcy Law—Rethinking The Discharge Of Late Filed Taxes In Consumer Bankruptcy, Justin H. Dion, Barbara Curatolo

Faculty Scholarship

The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) was enacted in order to improve bankruptcy law. However, BAPCPA has made the issue of whether late-filed taxes are dischargeable even murkier than before the amendments. After BAPCPA, some courts continued to analyze claims as they had before the amendment. Others used a “one-day-late rule” that prevented late-filed taxes from being dischargeable—even if the taxes were filed only one day late. This Article suggests a different approach. It argues that the legislature intended tax debt associated with late-filed income tax returns be dischargeable if ...


Life In The Sweatbox, Pamela Foohey, Robert M. Lawless, Katherine Porter, Deborah Thorne Jan 2018

Life In The Sweatbox, Pamela Foohey, Robert M. Lawless, Katherine Porter, Deborah Thorne

Articles by Maurer Faculty

The time before a person files bankruptcy is sometimes called the financial “sweatbox.” Using original data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, we find that people are living longer in the sweatbox before filing bankruptcy than they have in the past. We also describe the depletion of wealth and well-being that defines people’s time in the sweatbox. For those people who struggle for more than two years before filing bankruptcy—the “long strugglers”—their time in the sweatbox is particularly damaging. During their years in the sweatbox, long strugglers deal with persistent collection calls, go without healthcare, food, and utilities ...


Race And Bankruptcy: Explaining Racial Disparities In Consumer Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2018

Race And Bankruptcy: Explaining Racial Disparities In Consumer Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

Among consumers who file for bankruptcy, African Americans file Chapter 13 petitions at substantially higher rates than other racial groups. Some have hypothesized that the difference is attributable to discrimination by attorneys. We show that the difference may be attributable, in substantial part, to a selection effect: Among distressed consumers, African Americans have longer commutes to work, rely more heavily on cars for the commute, and therefore have greater demand for a bankruptcy process (Chapter 13) that allows them to retain their cars. We begin by showing that African Americans tend to have longer commuting times than other consumers and ...


Valuation Disputes In Corporate Bankruptcy, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2018

Valuation Disputes In Corporate Bankruptcy, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Prior scholarship points to disagreements about valuation and judicial valuation error as key drivers of Chapter 11 outcomes. Avoiding valuation disputes and valuation errors is also the underlying driver of most proposed reforms, from Baird’s auctions to Bebchuk’s options. In this paper, we undertake a detailed examination of bankruptcy court opinions involving valuation disputes. Our paper has two goals. The first is to understand how parties and their expert witnesses justify their opposing views to the judge, and how judges decide between them. The second is to provide practical guidance to judges in resolving valuation disputes. We document ...


The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin Jan 2018

The New Bond Workouts, William W. Bratton, Adam J. Levitin

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Bond workouts are a famously dysfunctional method of debt restructuring, ridden with opportunistic and coercive behavior by bondholders and bond issuers. Yet since 2008 bond workouts have quietly started to work. A cognizable portion of the restructuring market has shifted from bankruptcy court to out-of-court workouts by way of exchange offers made only to large institutional investors. The new workouts feature a battery of strong-arm tactics by bond issuers, and aggrieved bondholders have complained in court. The result has been a new, broad reading of the primary law governing workouts, section 316(b) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 ...


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


The Bankruptcy Of Refusing To Hire Persons Who Have Filed Bankruptcy, Terrence Cain Oct 2017

The Bankruptcy Of Refusing To Hire Persons Who Have Filed Bankruptcy, Terrence Cain

Faculty Scholarship

In 1978, Congress made it illegal for government employers to deny employment to, terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against a person who has filed bankruptcy. In 1984, Congress extended this prohibition to private employers by making it illegal for such employers to terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against a person who has filed bankruptcy. Under the law as it currently exists, private employers can refuse to hire a person who has filed bankruptcy solely because that person has filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, employers have substantially increased their use of credit ...


Ln Mgmt. Llc Series 5105 Portraits Place V. Green Tree Loan Servicing Llc, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 55 (Aug. 03, 2017), Wesley Lemay Jr. Aug 2017

Ln Mgmt. Llc Series 5105 Portraits Place V. Green Tree Loan Servicing Llc, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 55 (Aug. 03, 2017), Wesley Lemay Jr.

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

If a homeowner that owns property in Nevada but declares bankruptcy in Texas and fails to list the Home Owners Association (HOA) as a creditor, the HOA cannot violate the automatic stay imposed by the bankruptcy and sell the property. If the property is sold in violation of the automatic stay, the sale is invalid. Under Ninth Circuit law, the sale is void ab initio while the Fifth Circuit holds that these types of sales are voidable, but can be approved by the bankruptcy court.


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 ...


Rethinking Criminal Contempt In The Bankruptcy Courts, John A. E. Pottow, Jason S. Levin Mar 2017

Rethinking Criminal Contempt In The Bankruptcy Courts, John A. E. Pottow, Jason S. Levin

Law & Economics Working Papers

A surprising number of courts believe that bankruptcy judges lack authority to impose criminal contempt sanctions. We attempt to rectify this misunderstanding with a march through the historical treatment of contempt-like powers in bankruptcy, the painful statutory history of the 1978 Bankruptcy Code (including the exciting history of likely repealed 28 U.S.C. § 1481), and the various apposite rules of procedure. (Fans of the All Writs Act will delight in its inclusion.) But the principal service we offer to the bankruptcy community is dismantling the ubiquitous and persistent belief that there is some form of constitutional infirmity with "mere ...


'No Money Down' Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey, Robert M. Lawless, Katherine M. Porter, Thorne Deborah Jan 2017

'No Money Down' Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey, Robert M. Lawless, Katherine M. Porter, Thorne Deborah

Faculty Scholarship

This Article reports on a breakdown in access to justice in bankruptcy, a system from which one million Americans will seek help this year. A crucial decision for these consumers will be whether to file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Nearly every aspect of their bankruptcies — both the benefits and the burdens of debt relief — will be different in chapter 7 versus chapter 13. Almost all consumers will hire a bankruptcy attorney. Because they must pay their attorneys, many consumers will file chapter 13 to finance their access to the law, rather than because they prefer the law ...