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Bankruptcy Law

Chapter 11

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Bankruptcy Grifters, Lindsey Simon Jan 2022

Bankruptcy Grifters, Lindsey Simon

Scholarly Works

Grifters take advantage of situations, latching on to others for benefits they do not deserve. Bankruptcy has many desirable benefits, especially for mass-tort defendants. Bankruptcy provides a centralized proceeding for resolving claims and a forum of last resort for many companies to aggregate and resolve mass-tort liability. For the debtor-defendant, this makes sense. A bankruptcy court’s tremendous power represents a well-considered balance between debtors who have a limited amount of money and many claimants seeking payment.

But courts have also allowed the Bankruptcy Code’s mechanisms to be used by solvent, nondebtor companies and individuals facing mass-litigation exposure. These “bankruptcy grifters” …


Pandemic Hope For Chapter 11 Financing, David A. Skeel Jr. Nov 2021

Pandemic Hope For Chapter 11 Financing, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

One of the biggest surprises of the recent pandemic from a bankruptcy perspective has been the ready availability of financing. A variety of factors—such as an estimated $2.5 trillion in available funding at the outset of the crisis and the buoyant stock market—may have contributed. In this Essay, I focus on a less widely appreciated factor, a striking shift in the capital structure of many corporate debtors. Rather than borrowing from one group of lenders, debtors now often borrow from multiple groups of diverse lenders. Although the new capital structure complexity has downsides, it also could counteract a longstanding problem …


Bankruptcy For Banks: A Tribute (And Little Plea) To Jay Westbrook, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2021

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey 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 institutions need to …


The Debtor’S Conduct At The Time Of Filing Controls In Determining Whether A Debtor Is Eligible To Convert Their Existing Case To A Case Under Subchapter V Of The Bankruptcy Code, Eric Silverstein Jan 2021

The Debtor’S Conduct At The Time Of Filing Controls In Determining Whether A Debtor Is Eligible To Convert Their Existing Case To A Case Under Subchapter V Of The Bankruptcy Code, Eric Silverstein

Bankruptcy Research Library

(Excerpt)

Congress passed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “SBRA”) to give small businesses a better chance to successfully reorganize under Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”). One of the SBRA’s most important amendments was the addition of Subchapter V to Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, which was designed to reduce the cost and complexity of a small business reorganization. Because the statute’s express terms do not address its application to existing debtors, courts have been forced to address issues of conversion and eligibility. Generally, conversion of a case is …


Claim Preclusion And The Problem Of Fictional Consent, Lindsey Simon Jan 2020

Claim Preclusion And The Problem Of Fictional Consent, Lindsey Simon

Scholarly Works

The doctrine of claim preclusion promotes fairness and finality by preventing parties from raising claims that already were (or could have been) raised in a prior proceeding. This strict consequence can be imposed only when the litigant received minimal due process protections in the initial proceeding, including notice and direct or indirect participation.

Modern litigation has caused a new problem. In some cases, a party may be precluded from ever raising a claim on the grounds of “fictional consent” to a prior court’s decisionmaking authority. Litigation devices have expanded the potential reach of judgments through aggregation and broad jurisdictional grants, …


Loopholes For The Affluent Bankrupt, David R. Hague Jan 2020

Loopholes For The Affluent Bankrupt, David R. Hague

Faculty Articles

Recent bankruptcy cases are exposing a problem. Affluent individuals filing for bankruptcy are treated more favorably under the Bankruptcy Code than those debtors with little to no means of financial sustenance or income. Did Congress intend this result? The legislative history is unclear. But one thing seems certain: The United States Bankruptcy Code contains a set of loopholes that appear to be designed for the well-to-do segment of society. Courts throughout the United States are either overlooking these provisions or simply condoning their utilization under the defensible conviction that the Bankruptcy Code permits it.

In this Article, I argue that …


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 …


Distorted Choice In Corporate Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2020

Distorted Choice In Corporate Bankruptcy, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

We ordinarily assume that a central objective of every voting process is ensuring an undistorted vote. Recent developments in corporate bankruptcy, which culminates with an elaborate vote, are quite puzzling from this perspective. Two strategies now routinely used in big cases are intended to distort, and clearly do distort, the voting process. Restructuring support agreements (RSAs) and “deathtrap” provisions remove creditors’ ability to vote for or against a proposed reorganization simply on the merits.

This Article offers the first comprehensive analysis of these new distortive techniques. One possible solution is simply to ban distortive techniques, as several scholars advocate with …


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 …


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 …


Optimal Deterrence And The Preference Gap, Brook E. Gotberg Jan 2018

Optimal Deterrence And The Preference Gap, Brook E. Gotberg

Faculty Publications

This Article is the first of its kind to argue that preference law is ineffective as a deterrent of collection behavior based on empirical evidence, drawn from interviews of actors within the field-debtors, creditors, and the attorneys who represented them in bankruptcy proceedings. This Article reports on interviews of sampled individuals who participated in successful 7 Chapter 11 reorganization cases involving preference actions. The overwhelming and indisputable conclusion from these interviews is that creditors may adjust their behavior in response to preference law, but not in ways that further the purported goal of preference deterrence. Accordingly, if preference law is …


Jevic's Promise: Procedural Justice In Chapter 11, Pamela Foohey Jan 2018

Jevic's Promise: Procedural Justice In Chapter 11, Pamela Foohey

Articles by Maurer Faculty

In this Response to Jonathan Lipson's article, The Secret Life of Priority: Corporate Reorganization After Jevic, 93 Wash. L. Rev. 631 (2018)), I focus on Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp.'s implications for procedural justice and corporate reorganization. In his article, Lipson explicitly links the chapter 11 process with the Bankruptcy Code’s substantive rules about priority, crafting a forceful argument about what procedural values the U.S. Supreme Court sought to uphold when it penned Jevic. In doing so, Lipson expounds on a broader truth about the co-option of corporate reorganization’s process in the name of value preservation. Procedural justice teaches that …


Foreword: Bankruptcy’S New And Old Frontiers, William W. Bratton, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2018

Foreword: Bankruptcy’S New And Old Frontiers, William W. Bratton, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

This Symposium marks the fortieth anniversary of the enactment of the 1978 Bankruptcy Code (the “1978 Code” or the “Code”) with an extended look at seismic changes that currently are reshaping Chapter 11 reorganization. Today’s typical Chapter 11 case looks radically different than did the typical case in the Code’s early years. In those days, Chapter 11 afforded debtors a cozy haven. Most everything that mattered occurred within the context of the formal proceeding, where the debtor enjoyed agenda control, a leisurely timetable, and judicial solicitude. The safe haven steadily disappeared over time, displaced by a range of countervailing forces …


Lender Discrimination, Black Churches And Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey Jan 2017

Lender Discrimination, Black Churches And Bankruptcy, Pamela Foohey

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Based on my original empirical research, in this Article, I expose a disparity between the demographics of the roughly 650 religious congregations that have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy during part of the last decade and congregations nationwide. Churches with predominately black membership — Black Churches — appeared in chapter 11 more than three times as often as they appear among churches across the country. A conservative estimate of the percentage of Black Churches among religious congregation chapter 11 debtors is 60%. The likely percentage is upward of 75%. Black Churches account for 21% of congregations nationwide.

Why are Black …


Whether The Debtor Or Bankruptcy Estate Owns Malpractice Claims That Accrue During A Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Anna Chen Jan 2016

Whether The Debtor Or Bankruptcy Estate Owns Malpractice Claims That Accrue During A Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Anna Chen

Bankruptcy Research Library

(Excerpt)

When a debtor files for chapter 11 bankruptcy, three different time periods become important to determine whether the debtor or the estate holds certain rights and interests. The first time period is before a debtor files for bankruptcy. The second time period is after filing for bankruptcy but before conversion. The third time period is post-conversion.

If the misconduct that gives rise to the legal malpractice claim occurs after the filing of a chapter 11 case but before the conversion to a chapter 7 case, the cause of action belongs to the bankruptcy estate. In that situation, the trustee, …


Chapter 11 Shapeshifters, Lindsey Simon Jan 2016

Chapter 11 Shapeshifters, Lindsey Simon

Scholarly Works

Logic and equity would seem to demand that when administrative agencies are creditors to a bankrupt debtor, they should have the same status as other creditors. But a creditor agency retains its regulatory authority over the debtor, permitting it to continue with agency business such as conducting enforcement proceedings and awarding licenses. As a result, though bankruptcy law and policy both strongly support equal distribution of the estate, administrative agencies have been able to circumvent these goals through the use of “shapeshifting” behaviors. This Article evaluates two dangerous shapeshifting scenarios:

(1) where the agency avoids the limitations of creditor status …


Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2016

Governance Reform And The Judicial Role In Municipal Bankruptcy, Clayton P. Gillette, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

Recent proceedings involving large municipalities such as Detroit, Stockton, and Vallejo illustrate both the utility and the limitations of using the Bankruptcy Code to adjust municipal debt. In this article, we contend that, to truly resolve the distress of a substantial city, municipal bankruptcy needs to do more than simply provide immediate debt relief. Debt adjustment alone does nothing to remedy the fragmented decision-making and incentives for expanding municipal budgets that underlie municipal distress. Unless bankruptcy also addresses governance dysfunction, the city may slide right back into financial crisis. Governance restructuring has long been an essential element of corporate bankruptcy. …


Chapter 11 Liquidations And The Termination Of Collective Bargaining Agreements, Cecilia Ehresman Jan 2015

Chapter 11 Liquidations And The Termination Of Collective Bargaining Agreements, Cecilia Ehresman

Bankruptcy Research Library

(Excerpt)

Section 1113 of the Bankruptcy Code governs the modification or rejection of a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) by a chapter 11 trustee or debtor-in-possession. To modify or reject a CBA, a trustee or debtor-in-possession must (1) make a proposal to the union which provides the “necessary modifications in the employees benefits and protections that are necessary to permit the reorganization of the debtor”; (2) provide the union with relevant information as is necessary to evaluate the proposal; and (3) meet with the union and confer in good faith. For the modification or rejection to take place, the union must …


The Value Of Soft Variables In Corporate Reorganizations, Michelle M. Harner Jan 2015

The Value Of Soft Variables In Corporate Reorganizations, Michelle M. Harner

Faculty Scholarship

When a company is worth more as a going concern than on a liquidation basis, what creates that additional value? Is it the people, management decisions, the simple synergies of the operating business, or some combination of these types of soft variables? And perhaps more importantly, who owns or has an interest in these soft variables? This article explores these questions under existing legal doctrine and practice norms. Specifically, it discusses the characterization of soft variables under applicable law and in financing documents, and it surveys related judicial decisions. It also considers the overarching public policy and Constitutional implications of …


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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

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


Changes In Chapter 11 Success Levels Since 1980, Lynn M. Lopucki Jan 2015

Changes In Chapter 11 Success Levels Since 1980, Lynn M. Lopucki

UF Law Faculty Publications

This Article revisits the nine measures of success that Bill Whitford and I reported on in Patterns in the Bankruptcy Reorganization of Large, Publicly Held Companies, with twenty-six additional years of experience and data on 964 additional cases. My principal objective has been to determine whether Chapter 11 has become more or less successful by those measures. I conclude that Chapter 11 has become less successful by three of the seven LoPucki-Whitford criteria for which data are available. The courts confirm plans in a significantly smaller proportion of cases, a significantly smaller proportion of companies survive, and a significantly smaller …


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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law

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


Secured Credit In Religious Institutions' Reorganizations, Pamela Foohey Jan 2015

Secured Credit In Religious Institutions' Reorganizations, Pamela Foohey

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Scholars increasingly assume that most businesses enter Chapter 11 with a high percentage of secured debt, which leads to a high percentage of cases ending in the sale of the debtor’s assets under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code rather than with confirmation of a reorganization plan. However, evidence and discussions about “the end of bankruptcy” center on secured creditors’ role in the reorganizations of very large corporations. The few analyses of cross-sections of Chapter 11 proceedings suggest that secured creditor control is not nearly as omnipresent as asserted and that 363 sales are not as dominant as assumed.

This …


Rules Of Thumb For Intercreditor Agreements, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2015

Rules Of Thumb For Intercreditor Agreements, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Intercreditor agreements frequently restrict the extent to which subordinated creditors can participate in the bankruptcy process by, for example, contesting liens of senior lenders, objecting to a cash collateral motion, or even exercising the right to vote on a plan of reorganization. Because intercreditor agreements can reorder the bargaining environment in bankruptcy, some judges have been unsure about their enforceability. Other judges have not hesitated to enforce the agreements, at least when they do not restrict the voting rights of subordinated creditors. This essay argues that intercreditor agreements are controversial because they pose a trade-off: they reduce bargaining costs (by …


Exploring Chapter 11 Reform: Corporate And Financial Institution Insolvencies; Treatment Of Derivatives -, Michelle M. Harner Mar 2014

Exploring Chapter 11 Reform: Corporate And Financial Institution Insolvencies; Treatment Of Derivatives -, Michelle M. Harner

Congressional Testimony

No abstract provided.


Activist Investors, Distressed Companies, And Value Uncertainty, Michelle M. Harner, Jamie Marincic Griffin, Jennifer Ivey-Crickenberger Jan 2014

Activist Investors, Distressed Companies, And Value Uncertainty, Michelle M. Harner, Jamie Marincic Griffin, Jennifer Ivey-Crickenberger

Faculty Scholarship

Hedge funds, private equity firms, and other alternative investment funds are frequently key players in corporate restructurings. Most commentators agree that the presence of a fund can change the dynamics of a chapter 11 case. They cannot agree, however, on the impact of this change—i.e., do funds create or destroy enterprise value? This essay contributes to the dialogue by analyzing data from chapter 11 cases in which funds are in a position to influence the debtor’s exit strategy. The data shed light on what such funds might achieve in chapter 11 cases and the potential implications for debtors and their …


The Effect Of Ongoing Civil Litigation On Chapter 11 Reorganization, Kaitlin Fitzgibbon Jan 2014

The Effect Of Ongoing Civil Litigation On Chapter 11 Reorganization, Kaitlin Fitzgibbon

Bankruptcy Research Library

(Excerpt)

Businesses and, in some cases, individuals who have incurred a significant amount of debt can voluntarily file for bankruptcy under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code as a means of settling their debts with their creditors and preserving their businesses as going concerns. Chapter 11 is a vehicle for businesses to achieve this goal because it emphasizes debtor reorganization and rehabilitation rather than liquidation. Chapter 11 strikes a balance between rehabilitating the debtor and maximizing value to creditors. Public policy encourages reorganization as opposed to liquidation wherever possible because the successful rehabilitation of debtors is in the best interest …


Article Iii And Bankruptcy Code Standing: Preserving A Party’S Right To Object To A Proposed Reorganization Plan, James Scahill Jan 2014

Article Iii And Bankruptcy Code Standing: Preserving A Party’S Right To Object To A Proposed Reorganization Plan, James Scahill

Bankruptcy Research Library

(Excerpt)

In a chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, a troubled company can either restructure or liquidate through a confirmed chapter 11 plan. To encourage more participation in reorganization cases, courts have broadly interpreted section 1109(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, which determines who may object to a plan. Section 1109(b) states that “a party in interest, including the debtor, the trustee, a creditors’ committee, an equity security holders’ committee, a creditor, an equity security holder, or any indenture trustee, may raise and may appear and be heard on any issue in a case under this chapter.” A party wishing to object to …


When Churches Reorganize, Pamela Foohey Jan 2014

When Churches Reorganize, Pamela Foohey

Articles by Maurer Faculty

The article complements and expands the author’s prior article, Bankrupting the Faith. This article primarily relies on interviews with attorneys who represented religious organizations in chapter 11 bankruptcy to assess whether reorganization has the potential to offer an effective solution to religious organizations’ financial problems. In doing so, it makes three contributions. First, it tracks the post-bankruptcy outcomes of a portion of the debtors to find that approximately 65% remained operating post-bankruptcy; these outcomes contradict previous studies of small business bankruptcy and are important to current debates about reforming small business bankruptcy. Given this—and in keeping with the ABLJ’s …


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.