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SCOTUS Reminds Us To Get It In Writing When Dealing with Someone that Owes You Money

The recent decision from the United States Supreme Court in Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling (“Lamar”), further restricts a creditor’s ability to pursue future recovery on its debt through a nondischargeability action in a debtor’s bankruptcy.  On June 4, 2018, the Court ruled in Lamar that a debtor’s false statement about a single asset must be in writing before the creditor’s debt can be excepted as nondischargeable in bankruptcy.

The Supreme Court’s full opinion can be viewed here: Lamar Opinion 2018 . The Court’s decision in Lamar resolved a circuit split and provides for consistent interpretation of the Bankruptcy Code which did not previously exist.  The issue before the Court was whether a false oral statement about a single asset can render a specific obligation nondischargeable,

Everyone Has Rejection Issues

March 21, 2018

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Everyone Has Rejection Issues

March 21, 2018

Authored by: James Maloney

Rejected

In the typical day-to-day experience in bankruptcy proceedings, the debtor’s ability to assume or reject executory contracts and leases under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code is seen from the sometimes-unfortunate perspective of the creditor.  To the creditor’s perspective, the prohibitions of the automatic stay, periods of time during which treatment of the contract is uncertain, struggling to acquire adequate protection, a loss of control over who the contract may be assumed and assigned to, and the alternative of being rejected and left with a deemed prepetition claim, all combine to an undesirable scenario.

As misery loves company, two recent cases have illustrated that the requirements and operations of Section 365 can also result in disappointment to a debtor estate seeking contract damages and to a civil action plaintiff seeking compensation for appropriation of its intellectual property.

In Lauter v CITGO Petroleum Corp.[1] a United States District

“Singular” Cases on Nondischarge and Dischargeability

March 27, 2017

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Liar businessman with crossed fingers at back .

Two recent cases analyzed the misrepresentations of a debtor regarding a single asset and held a written misrepresented value of a single scheduled estate asset would result in nondischargeability under Section 727, and that a verbal misrepresentation of a pre-petition asset to a creditor did not result in an exception to discharge under Section 523.

In Worley v. Robinson,[1]/ the Fourth Circuit affirmed nondischarge where a financially sophisticated debtor’s Schedules substantially undervalued his estate’s only substantial asset.  In Appling v. Lamar, Archer Cofrin LLP,[2]/ the Eleventh Circuit reversed a district decision and held that a false oral statements to a creditor regarding one pre-petition asset would not render the associated debt nondishargeable because they were statements of “financial

For Whom the Bell Tolls: Obligations and Risks of Third-party Witnesses under Rule 2004 Examinations.

November 27, 2016

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Two recent Bankruptcy Court cases both remind and illustrate the power and risks presented by discovery of facts and documents under Bankruptcy Rule 2004, showing that it can compel third parties to provide information to support later litigation against them or cause them to lose their 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

  • In re Great Lakes Comnet, Inc.[1]/ (a copy of the case is here: great-lakes-comnet-inc), the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan held that the Committee of Unsecured Creditors was entitled to conduct a Rule 2004 examination of a third-party company while explicitly recognizing that the intent of the examination was to prepare for and inform the committee regarding later litigation against the third-party.
  • In re Mavashev[2]/ (a copy of the case is here: in-re-mavashev), the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York held that a third-party witness would not

Stern Amendments to Bankruptcy Rules

September 19, 2016

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Stern Amendments to Bankruptcy Rules

September 19, 2016

Authored by: James Maloney

While it has taken five years of committee and court efforts, the “Stern Amendments” to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure will become effective December 1, 2016.  These amendments will streamline litigant and court procedures in resolving subject matter jurisdiction matters as between district courts and bankruptcy courts.

The Bankruptcy Cave has followed many procedural issues since Stern v. Marshall.[1]/ Stern held certain claims designated by statute for final adjudication in bankruptcy court, are nonetheless required by the Constitution to proceed in an Article III district court (Stern post). Various Stern progeny has explored the role of parties’ consent to final adjudication in the bankruptcy court, the ability of the bankruptcy court to make findings of fact and conclusions of law for final determination by the district court, emerging local rule accommodations of jurisdictional uncertainty, and a special practitioner’s peril where a trial in district court is

Losing Both Ways: Debtor Diligence in the Identification of Claims

August 3, 2016

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Two recent cases serve as reminders the devil is truly in the details. As to the front-end risks associated with an early § 363(f) sale, in In re Motors Liquidation Company[1](the “GM” case) we have seen a $10 billion reminder that identification and actual notice to persons with claims against the Debtor is an indispensable element to the “free and clear” result intended by such a sale.  On the back-end risks of a confirmed Chapter 11 Plan, In re AmCad Holdings, LLC[2]teaches that failing to specifically identify claims of the Debtor against others for retained jurisdiction under the Plan can defeat the intended jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court to adjudicate those omitted claims.

GM involves the ongoing troubles from the 2009 insolvency of the General Motors Corporation, the United States’ largest car manufacturer.  As opposed to the usual reorganization procedures of 11 U.S.C. §§ 1121?1129, which

Failure to Observe Bankruptcy Rule Deadline in An Adversary Proceeding Tried in District Court Costs Defendants Opportunity to Appeal $6,000,000 Verdict.

May 17, 2016

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A recent case from the 11th Circuit illustrates the procedural perils of litigation arising from a bankruptcy case but ultimately tried in the district court.  In Rosenberg v. DVI Receivables XIV, LLC,[1] the defendants lost their appeal not on the merits, but based upon the difference between civil rules and bankruptcy rules regarding what are timely post-trial motions.

BC has previously addressed procedural issues between bankruptcy courts and district courts arising from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Stern v. Marshall.[2]   As we have written when Stern was first decided, Stern held certain claims designated by statute for final adjudication in bankruptcy court, are nonetheless required by the Constitution to proceed in an Article III district court.  Relevant Stern progeny has explored the role of parties’ consent to bankruptcy court proceedings, the ability of the bankruptcy court to make findings of fact and conclusions of

The Stern Files: Evolving Jurisdiction by Consent, Wellness International Network Ltd. v. Sharif.

August 3, 2015

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Directional text on stone

In a previous post this blog addressed the Supreme Court’s 2011 ruling in Stern v. Marshall.[1] In Stern, the Court held that Article III of the Constitution limited bankruptcy courts from entering final orders on certain state law counterclaims despite such claims being designated as “core” proceedings by statute (now known as Stern Claims).

The Supreme Court left questions of great interest unanswered in Stern, but two emerged quickly: 1) can a bankruptcy court treat a “core” Stern Claim by the same procedures as “non-core” (disputes not significantly related to a bankruptcy case) under 28 U.S.C. Section 157, and thereby carry the dispute through proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to forward to the district court; and 2) can a bankruptcy court enter a

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