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Many equity sponsors are both shareholders and lenders to their portfolio companies.  In that hybrid case, where the shareholder is also a creditor, can the shareholder enforce corporate governance provisions which restrict the ability of the company to file for bankruptcy?  A recent decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has answered that question in the affirmative - with caveats. 
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In French v. Linn Energy, L.L.C. (In re Linn Energy, L.L.C.), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed the scope of Bankruptcy Code Section 510(b), settling on an expansive reading of the Section, holding that a claim for “deemed dividends” should be subordinated.
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The Risks of Imperfect Perfection, and How to Avoid Them

September 25, 2019 | Blog | By Leonard Weiser-Varon

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Practice Intro Bankrupty Restructuring Mintz
Transfers and transactions up to ten years old may be scrutinized, unwound and recovered by a trustee, the bankruptcy court sitting in Massachusetts recently held in the NECCO (think chalky wafer candy) bankruptcy case. The ruling, in a case of first impression in Massachusetts, expands the reach back period from the typical four-year period for fraudulent transfer recovery, so long as the IRS is a creditor in the case. 
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On May 20, 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a debtor-licensor’s ‘rejection’ of a trademark license agreement under section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code does not terminate the licensee’s rights to continue to use the trademark.  The decision, issued in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC, resolved a split among the Circuits, but may spawn additional issues regarding non-debtor contractual rights in bankruptcy. 
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Viewpoint General
As many of our readers know, we have been closely following the Polukoff False Claims Act (FCA) qui tam case in the Tenth Circuit for the lessons it might offer in defending FCA cases premised on allegations related to lack of medical necessity (among other topics).  Recently, we had the opportunity to consider this case from a different angle: the lessons it might offer to bankruptcy counsel advising clients who are or have been the subject of a health care fraud investigation and/or FCA qui tam case. 
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Viewpoint General
Tolstoy warned that “if you look for perfection, you’ll never be content”; but Tolstoy wasn’t a bankruptcy lawyer.  In the world of secured lending, perfection is paramount. A secured lender that has not properly perfected its lien can lose its collateral and end up with unsecured status if its borrower files bankruptcy. 
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Viewpoint General
In its ruling in FTI Consulting, Inc. v. Sweeney (In re Centaur, LLC), the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware addressed the Supreme Court’s recent clarification of the scope of Bankruptcy Code Section 546(e)’s “safe harbor” provision, affirming a more narrow interpretation of Section 546(e).
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A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision provides insight into “bad faith” claims-buying activity; specifically whether a creditor’s purchase of claims for the express purpose of blocking plan confirmation is permissible.
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It is not unusual for a creditor of a debtor to cry foul that a non-debtor affiliate has substantial assets, but has not joined the bankruptcy.
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The Supreme Court recently addressed two bankruptcy issues. In its Merit Management opinion, the Court resolved a circuit split regarding the breadth of the safe harbor provision which protects certain transfers by financial institutions in connection with a securities contract.
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Checking-In: Chapter 9, Chapter 11 or Ineligible?

February 23, 2018 | Blog | By William Kannel, Charles W. Azano

Last week, President Trump unveiled his proposal to fix our nation’s aging infrastructure. While the proposal lauded $1.5 trillion in new spending, it only included $200 billion in federal funding. To bridge this sizable gap, the plan largely relies on public private partnerships (often referred to as P3s) that can use tax-exempt bond financing.
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The First Circuit Casts a Shadow on Sunbeam

February 12, 2018 | Blog | By Amanda M. Blaske

In the recently decided case, Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit took a hardline position that trademark license rights are not protected in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Code section 365(n) permits a licensee to continue to use intellectual property even if the debtor rejects the license agreement.
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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held that the Massachusetts Wage Act does not impose personal liability on board members or investors acting in their normal capacities.
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Refusing to rely on “equitable principles” when interpreting the Delaware Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (DUFTA), the Third Circuit (2-1 decision) in Crystallex Int’l Corp. v. Petroleos De Venezuela, S.A, et als. held that a transfer by a non-debtor cannot be a fraudulent transfer.
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Last week the Second Circuit issued its long-awaited opinion on the appeals of plan confirmation taken by the first lien, 1.5 lien and subordinated noteholders in In re MPM Silicones, LLC (“Momentive”). With one exception, the Court determined that the plan confirmed by the bankruptcy court in September 2014 comports with Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.
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In In Re Lexington Hospitality Group, LLC, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky thwarted a lender’s efforts to control whether its borrower could file bankruptcy.
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The Delaware bankruptcy court recently decided that a debtor could not assign a trademark license absent the consent of the licensor. The court concluded that federal trademark law and the terms of the license precluded assignment without consent.
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