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Bankruptcy Law

Chapter 11

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Full-Text Articles in Law

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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn 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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 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 ...


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 ...


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 Churches filing ...


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 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 ...


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 ...


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 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 ...


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

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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn 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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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.


Bankruptcy Voting And The Designation Power, Christopher W. Frost Apr 2013

Bankruptcy Voting And The Designation Power, Christopher W. Frost

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is the only form of bankruptcy that requires winning the consent of the creditor body. Creditors are given the right to vote based on an underlying assumption that they will cast their votes to maximize recovery on their claims. When creditors collectively vote to further these distributional goals, then the estate in turn should realize the maximum value for its assets. "Value maximization" is one of the fundamental goals of chapter 11, and voting in bankruptcy is an important way of achieving that goal.

The problem with these assumptions is that creditors sometimes vote ...


Bankrupting The Faith, Pamela Foohey Jan 2013

Bankrupting The Faith, Pamela Foohey

Articles by Maurer Faculty

This Article presents the results of a comprehensive empirical study of religious organizations that filed bankruptcy under Chapter 11 from the beginning of 2006 to the end of 2011. It examines the institutions’ characteristics, reasons for filing, and case outcomes to investigate whether Chapter 11 is an effective solution to their financial problems. In investigating the religious organizations’ cases, the Article also assesses the role of bankruptcy courts in adjudicating Chapter 11 cases and places the cases within theories about the larger purposes of Chapter 11.

The study finds that the vast majority of debtors are small organizations that operate ...


Can A Secured Creditor Be Denied The Right To Credit Bid When The Creditor’S Collateral Is Sold Pursuant To A Chapter 11 Plan Of Reorganization?, Marshall E. Tracht Jan 2012

Can A Secured Creditor Be Denied The Right To Credit Bid When The Creditor’S Collateral Is Sold Pursuant To A Chapter 11 Plan Of Reorganization?, Marshall E. Tracht

Articles & Chapters

CASE AT A GLANCE

A bankruptcy plan can only be confirmed over the objection of a secured creditor if the plan is found to be “fair and equitable.” The fair and equitable standard requires, at a minimum, that (i) the creditor may retain its lien on its collateral; (ii) the collateral will be sold subject to the creditor’s right to credit bid its debt; or (iii) the creditor will receive the “indubitable equivalent” of its claim. The Supreme Court must decide whether a plan can provide for the sale of collateral without granting the creditor the right to credit ...


The Bankruptcy Of D & K Aviation, T J. Hatter, Maurice Echols, Michael Mason Jan 2012

The Bankruptcy Of D & K Aviation, T J. Hatter, Maurice Echols, Michael Mason

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


The Bankruptcy Of Golfers' Warehouse, Inc.: A Lesson In How To Sell A Business In Chapter 11, Briton Collins, Will Smith, David Choi Jan 2012

The Bankruptcy Of Golfers' Warehouse, Inc.: A Lesson In How To Sell A Business In Chapter 11, Briton Collins, Will Smith, David Choi

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


In Re Jazz Photo Corp., Archie Carden, Cory Swainston Jan 2012

In Re Jazz Photo Corp., Archie Carden, Cory Swainston

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


Mesa Airlines, Brittany Brent, Lindy Harris Jan 2012

Mesa Airlines, Brittany Brent, Lindy Harris

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


New Era Bankruptcy, Holly N. Mancl Jan 2012

New Era Bankruptcy, Holly N. Mancl

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


Solyndra, Brandon Brewer, Matthew Kinsey, Anthony Mendenhall Jan 2012

Solyndra, Brandon Brewer, Matthew Kinsey, Anthony Mendenhall

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


Independence Air, Kara West, Patrick Woodside Jan 2012

Independence Air, Kara West, Patrick Woodside

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.


Lambuth, Jennifer Crake, Zackarij Gradner, Scott Mcleod Jan 2012

Lambuth, Jennifer Crake, Zackarij Gradner, Scott Mcleod

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case Studies

No abstract provided.