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Full-Text Articles in Law

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 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 ...


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 ...


The Suitability Of South Africa's Business Rescue Procedure In The Reorganization Of Small-To-Medium-Sized Enterprises: Lessons From Chapter 11 Of The United States Bankruptcy Code., Mikovhe Maphiri Oct 2018

The Suitability Of South Africa's Business Rescue Procedure In The Reorganization Of Small-To-Medium-Sized Enterprises: Lessons From Chapter 11 Of The United States Bankruptcy Code., Mikovhe Maphiri

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

South African small- to medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) are the bread and butter of our economy. Providing much-needed employment and developing the skills of historically disadvantaged persons formally and informally are some of the most significant benefits of SMEs in a developing country such as South Africa. However, despite these significant contributions to the socioeconomic development of the country, SMEs generally have the lowest survival rates in the world as compared to large enterprises globally, resulting in high rates of business failure and the loss of jobs which these entities create. The Companies Act of 2008 replaces the previous judicial management ...


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 ...


Business Insolvency And The Irish Debt Crisis, Paul B. Lewis Sep 2016

Business Insolvency And The Irish Debt Crisis, Paul B. Lewis

Paul Lewis

No abstract provided.


Examining Success, Jonathan C. Lipson Feb 2015

Examining Success, Jonathan C. Lipson

Jonathan C. Lipson

Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code presumes that managers will remain in possession and control of a corporate debtor. This presents an obvious agency problem: these same managers may have gotten the company into trouble in the first place. The Bankruptcy Code thus includes checks and balances in the reorganization process, one of which is supposed to be an “examiner,” a private individual appointed to investigate and report on the debtor’s collapse.

We study their use in practice. Extending prior research, we find that examiners are exceedingly rare, despite the fact that they should be “mandatory” in large cases ...


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 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 ...


The Value Of Soft Variables In Corporate Reorganizations, Michelle M. Harner Jun 2014

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

Michelle M. Harner

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 ...


Mandatory Class Action Lawsuits As A Restructuring Technique, Bryant B. Edwards, Jeffrey A. Herbst, Selina K. Hewitt Nov 2012

Mandatory Class Action Lawsuits As A Restructuring Technique, Bryant B. Edwards, Jeffrey A. Herbst, Selina K. Hewitt

Pepperdine Law Review

No abstract provided.


Business Insolvency And The Irish Debt Crisis, Paul B. Lewis Jan 2012

Business Insolvency And The Irish Debt Crisis, Paul B. Lewis

Richmond Journal of Global Law & Business

No abstract provided.


Considerations For Private Equity Firms When Utilizing Chapter 11 New Value Deals, Alexandra Wilde Jan 2012

Considerations For Private Equity Firms When Utilizing Chapter 11 New Value Deals, Alexandra Wilde

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

The new value exception to the Chapter 11 absolute priority rule provides a narrow avenue for equity holders to retain an equity interest in a reorganized company over the objections of senior creditors and interest holders. With the increasing number of Chapter 11 reorganization filings by private equity owned companies, private equity firms may be interested in exploring ways to retain their equity ownership in the debtor company. This Note explores the unique implications a private equity firm may encounter when attempting to utilize the new value exception as a last resort to maintain ownership in a debtor company. Part ...


Committee Capture? An Empirical Analysis Of The Role Of Creditors' Committees In Business Reorganizations, Michelle M. Harner, Jamie Marincic Jan 2011

Committee Capture? An Empirical Analysis Of The Role Of Creditors' Committees In Business Reorganizations, Michelle M. Harner, Jamie Marincic

Faculty Scholarship

The number of businesses experiencing financial distress increased significantly during the past several years. The number of Chapter 11 reorganization cases likewise rose. And many of these business failures were spectacular, leaving little value for creditors and even less for shareholders. Consequently, how the business debtor’s limited asset pie is divided and who gets to allocate the pieces are very relevant and important questions.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code generally contemplates the appointment of a committee of the debtors’ unsecured creditors to serve as a fiduciary for all general unsecured creditors and as a statutory watchdog over the debtor ...


Committee Capture? An Empirical Analysis Of The Role Of Creditors' Committees In Business Reorganizations, Michelle Harner, Jamie Marincic Sep 2010

Committee Capture? An Empirical Analysis Of The Role Of Creditors' Committees In Business Reorganizations, Michelle Harner, Jamie Marincic

Michelle M. Harner

The number of businesses experiencing financial distress increased significantly during the past several years. The number of Chapter 11 reorganization cases likewise rose. And many of these business failures were spectacular, leaving little value for creditors and even less for shareholders. Consequently, how the business debtor’s limited asset pie is divided and who gets to allocate the pieces are very relevant and important questions.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code generally contemplates the appointment of a committee of the debtors’ unsecured creditors to serve as a fiduciary for all general unsecured creditors and as a statutory watchdog over the debtor ...


Assessing The Chrysler Bankruptcy, Mark J. Roe, David Skeel Mar 2010

Assessing The Chrysler Bankruptcy, Mark J. Roe, David Skeel

Michigan Law Review

Chrysler entered and exited bankruptcy in forty-two days, making it one of the fastest major industrial bankruptcies in memory. It entered as a company widely thought to be ripe for liquidation if left on its own, obtained massive funding from the United States Treasury, and exited via a pseudo-sale of its main assets to a new government-funded entity. The unevenness of the compensation to prior creditors raised concerns in capital markets, which we evaluate here. We conclude that the Chrysler bankruptcy cannot be understood as complying with good bankruptcy practice, that it resurrected discredited practices long thought interred in the ...


Simultaneous Distress Of Residential Developers And Their Secured Lenders An Analysis Of Bankruptcy & Bank Regulation , Sarah Pei Woo Jan 2010

Simultaneous Distress Of Residential Developers And Their Secured Lenders An Analysis Of Bankruptcy & Bank Regulation , Sarah Pei Woo

Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

No abstract provided.


The Success Of Chapter 11: A Challenge To The Critics, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Lawrence Westbrook Jan 2009

The Success Of Chapter 11: A Challenge To The Critics, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Lawrence Westbrook

Michigan Law Review

Although Chapter 11 has served as a model for bankruptcy reform around the world, the conventional wisdom has been that it is characterized by a relatively low success rate and endless delay. The data from large samples of Chapter 11 cases filed in 1994 and 2002 demonstrate that this characterization is wrong. Nearly all troubled companies choose Chapter 11 over Chapter 7 liquidation, which means that the system serves a critical screening function to eliminate hopeless cases relatively quickly. Almost half the unsuccessful cases were jettisoned within six months and almost eighty percent were gone within a year The cases ...


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 ...


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 Vérité, Lynn M. Lopucki, Joseph W. Doherty Feb 2008

Bankruptcy Vérité, Lynn M. Lopucki, Joseph W. Doherty

Michigan Law Review

In the empirical study we report in Bankruptcy Fire Sales, we compared the recoveries from the going-concern bankruptcy sales of twenty-five large, public companies with the recoveries from the bankruptcy reorganizations of thirty large, public companies. We found that, controlling for the asset size of the company and its presale or pre-reorganization earnings ("EBITDA"), reorganization recoveries were more than double sale recovenes. We are honored that Professor James J. White has chosen to comment on our study. White is an eloquent defender of the status quo, pulls no punches, and always has something interesting to say. Bankruptcy Noir is no ...


Bankruptcy Noir, James J. White Jan 2008

Bankruptcy Noir, James J. White

Articles

In Bankruptcy Fire Sales, Professor LoPucki and Dr. Doherty do two things. First, they present provocative data about the relative payoff to be had in Chapter 11 by a full reorganization compared with the payoff from a section 363 sale without a full reorganization. Second, they give a yet more provocative explanation for their data. Taking a page from Professor LoPucki's recent book, they blame the meager return that they observe on 363 sales on the unprincipled behavior of the lawyers, managers, creditors, investment bankers, and even judges involved in the sales. Messrs. LoPucki and Doherty's data appear ...


Creditor Control And Conflict In Chapter 11, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2008

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, equityholders and managers exercise little or no leverage during the reorganization process: Seventy percent of CEOs are replaced in the two years before a bankruptcy filing; very few reorganization plans (at most eight percent) deviate from the absolute priority rule in order to distribute value to equityholders. Senior lenders exercise significant control through stringent covenants contained in DIP loans, such as line-item budgets. Unsecured creditors gain leverage through ...


Enforcing Corporate Fiduciary Duties In Bankruptcy, Kelli A. Alces Oct 2007

Enforcing Corporate Fiduciary Duties In Bankruptcy, Kelli A. Alces

Scholarly Publications

No abstract provided.


The Implications Of The Third Circuit's Armstrong Decision On Creative Corporate Restructuring: Will Strict Construction Of The Absolute Priority Rule Make Chapter 11 Consensus Less Likely?, Harvey R. Miller, Ronit J. Berkovich Jun 2006

The Implications Of The Third Circuit's Armstrong Decision On Creative Corporate Restructuring: Will Strict Construction Of The Absolute Priority Rule Make Chapter 11 Consensus Less Likely?, Harvey R. Miller, Ronit J. Berkovich

American University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Chapter 11 is thought to preserve the going-concern surplus of a financially distressed business – the extra value that its assets possess in their current configuration. Financial distress leads to conflicts among creditors that can lead to inefficient liquidation of a business with going-concern surplus. Chapter 11 avoids this by providing the business with a way of fashioning a new capital structure. This account of Chapter 11 fails to capture what is happening in the typical case. The typical Chapter 11 debtor is a small corporation whose assets are not specialized and rarely worth enough to pay tax claims. There is ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Chapter 11 is thought to preserve the going-concern surplus of a financially distressed business – the extra value that its assets possess in their current configuration. Financial distress leads to conflicts among creditors that can lead to inefficient liquidation of a business with going-concern surplus. Chapter 11 avoids this by providing the business with a way of fashioning a new capital structure. This account of Chapter 11 fails to capture what is happening in the typical case. The typical Chapter 11 debtor is a small corporation whose assets are not specialized and rarely worth enough to pay tax claims. There is ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

This empirical study suggests that, far from ensuring assets are put to their best use, Chapter 11 encourages small-business entrepreneurs to remain too long with failed businesses before trying to start (or work for) new ones. Small entrepreneurs open and close a number of businesses over the course of their careers as they search for the business (or employer) that offers the best match with their skills. Chapter 11 delays this matching process and, over this dimension, differs little from rent control and other government policies that encourage socially wasteful lock-in of scarce resources. These costs may not be large ...


In Re Adelphia Communications Corp. (Decided Dec. 5, 2003), Phillip Mahoney Jan 2005

In Re Adelphia Communications Corp. (Decided Dec. 5, 2003), Phillip Mahoney

NYLS Law Review

No abstract provided.


Small Business Reorganization And The Sabre Proposals, Karen M. Gebbia-Pinett Jan 2001

Small Business Reorganization And The Sabre Proposals, Karen M. Gebbia-Pinett

Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law

No abstract provided.