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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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Exculpation provisions in operating agreements must be carefully crafted in order to protect members, managers, directors and officers for breaches of fiduciary duties. In In re Simplexity, LLC, the Chapter 7 trustee sued the former officers and directors (who were also members and/or managers) for failing to act to preserve going concern value and exposing the debtors to WARN Act claims. 
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The Supreme Court has granted certiorari to decide the question of whether bankruptcy courts should apply state law or a federal rule of decision when determining whether to recharacterize a debt claim as a capital contribution.
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It is very common for bankruptcy court orders to provide that the court retains jurisdiction to enforce such orders. Similarly, chapter 11 confirmation orders routinely provide that the bankruptcy court retains jurisdiction over all orders previously entered in the case. 
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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced that it will review the scope of Bankruptcy Code section 546(e)’s safe harbor provision. Section 546(e) protects from avoidance those transfers that are made “by or to (or for the benefit of)” a financial institution, except where there is actual fraud.
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As noted in a recent Distressing Matters post, the United States Supreme Court in In re Jevic Holding Corp. held that debtors cannot use structured dismissals to make payments to creditors in violation of ordinary bankruptcy distribution priority rules. 
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In a recent American Law Journal article, "When Hiding Assets Doesn't Work: How Mintz Recovered $20M for Cheated Client," Daniel Pascucci and Joe Dunn detail the extensive efforts used to hold a judgment creditor accountable -- 10 years and $20 million later, the case exemplifies the old saying that you can run, but you can't hide.
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In 2015, Distressing Matters reported on the Third Circuit’s decision in In re Jevic Holding Corp., wherein that panel ruled that, in rare circumstances, bankruptcy courts may approve the distribution of settlement proceeds in a manner that violates the Bankruptcy Code’s statutory priority scheme.
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Can a Creditor’s Inaction Violate the Automatic Stay?

March 28, 2017 | Blog | By Amanda M. Blaske

The filing of a bankruptcy case puts in place an automatic injunction, or stay, that halts most actions by creditors against a debtor. But can a creditor violate the automatic stay by not acting?
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In Nortel Networks, Inc., Case No. 09-0138(KG), Doc. No. 18001 (March 8, 2017), the Delaware Bankruptcy Court ruled on the objections of two noteholders who asked the Court to disallow more than $4.4 million of the $8.1 million of the fees sought by counsel to their indenture trustee.
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One of the most powerful and oft used devices in bankruptcy is the sale of assets “free and clear” of liens, claims and interests. One issue a buyer at a bankruptcy sale must consider, however, is whether due process has been met with respect to parties whose liens, claims and/or interests are released through such sale. 
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There are numerous reasons why a company might use more than one entity for its operations or organization: to silo liabilities, for tax advantages, to accommodate a lender, or for general organizational purposes. Simply forming a separate entity, however, is not enough.
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In a recent decision (“Energy Future Holdings”) poised to have wide-reaching implications, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decisions of the Bankruptcy and the District Courts to hold that a debtor cannot use a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to escape liability for a “make-whole” premium if express contractual language requires such payment when the borrower makes an optional redemption prior to a date certain.
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