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Full-Text Articles in Law

Bankruptcy Phobia, David A. Skeel Jr. Jul 2009

Bankruptcy Phobia, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As the recent economic crisis has unfolded, bankruptcy has offered possible solutions at several key junctures. The first of these solutions, often referred to as mortgage modification, was geared toward homeowners who faced the loss of their homes in the months—now several years—since the start of the subprime crisis On the corporate side, Chapter 11 was an obvious alternative when large nonbank financial institutions like Bear Stearns and AIG stumbled in 2008. But regulators repeatedly balked, and the one exception to the avoidance of bankruptcy at all costs—Lehman Brothers—was anomalous. This aversion to bankruptcy, which seems ...


Competing Narratives In Corporate Bankruptcy: Debtor In Control Vs. No Time To Spare, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2009

Competing Narratives In Corporate Bankruptcy: Debtor In Control Vs. No Time To Spare, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When a company like Chrysler or United Airlines files for bankruptcy, it offers narrative explaining the way out of its predicament. In support of its claim that the business is worth saving, the company may argue that it simply needs time to renegotiate its obligations with its creditors. Alternatively, it may say that asset values are deteriorating rapidly and it is imperative that the bankruptcy court immediately approve a sale of the company, or some other rapid disposition. These two possibilities correspond to the principal resolution narratives in current Chapter 11 bankruptcy practice, which I refer to as Debtor in ...


The Economics Of Bankruptcy: An Introduction To The Literature, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2009

The Economics Of Bankruptcy: An Introduction To The Literature, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

This essay surveys important contributions to the economics of bankruptcy. It is an introductory chapter for a forthcoming volume (from Edward Elgar Press) that compiles the work of legal scholars as well as economists working in the field of corporate finance. The essay begins with the foundational theories of Baird, Jackson, and Rea and then collects scholarly work extending, testing, or revising those theories. At various points I identify questions that merit further study, particularly empirical testing.


Chrysler, Gm And The Future Of Chapter 11, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2009

Chrysler, Gm And The Future Of Chapter 11, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Although they caused great controversy, the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies broke no new ground. They invoked procedures that are commonly observed in modern Chapter 11 reorganization cases. Government involvement did not distort the bankruptcy process; it instead exposed the reality that Chapter 11 offers secured creditors – especially those that supply financing during the bankruptcy case – control over the fate of distressed firms. Because the federal government supplied financing in the Chrysler and GM cases, it possessed the creditor control normally exercised by private lenders. The Treasury Department found itself with virtually the same, unchecked power that the FDIC exercises with ...


Bankruptcy Boundary Games, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2009

Bankruptcy Boundary Games, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For the past several decades, Congress has steadily expanded the exclusion of securities market operations from core bankruptcy protections. This Article focuses on three of the most important of these issues: the exclusion of brokerage firms from Chapter 11; the protection of settlement payments from avoidance as preferences or fraudulent conveyances; and the exemption of derivatives from the automatic stay and other basic bankruptcy provisions. In Parts I, II and III of the Article, I consider each of the issues in turn, showing that each has had serious unintended consequences. Both Drexel Burnham and Lehman Brothers evaded the brokerage exclusion ...


Creditor Control And Conflict In Chapter 11, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2009

Creditor Control And Conflict In Chapter 11, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

We analyze a sample of large privately and publicly held businesses that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions during 2001. We find pervasive creditor control. In contrast to traditional views of Chapter 11, equity holders and managers exercise little or no leverage during the reorganization process. 70 percent of CEOs are replaced in the two years before a bankruptcy filing, and few reorganization plans (at most 12 percent) deviate from the absolute priority rule to distribute value to equity holders. Senior lenders exercise significant control through stringent covenants, such as line-item budgets, in loans extended to firms in bankruptcy. Unsecured creditors ...