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Voidable If Not Fraudulent — NCCUSL Approves the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act

In July 2014, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) approved the Uniform Voidable Transaction Act (UVTA), a long-awaited update to the Uniform Fraudulent Transactions Act (UFTA). As the new title suggests, the UVTA, like the UFTA before it, encompasses a broader range of transactions than those traditionally deemed fraudulent and therefore avoidable under the common law. The amended Act clarifies and expands the burden of proof as well as presenting new challenges and opportunities to creditors seeking to avoid transfers by debtors operating under insolvent conditions. This development also has importance for creditors with claims in bankruptcy due to the bankruptcy trustee’s power to bring avoidance actions based on state law under 11 U.S.C. § 544(b) and thereby increase the assets available to repay debts.

Under the amended Act as before, creditors bringing constructive fraudulent transfer claims have the ability to avoid transactions which deprive the debtor of assets that could otherwise satisfy debts to creditors when the debtor is or is presumed to be insolvent; however, several key updates affect which debtors are insolvent within the meaning of the amended Act. The UFTA specifies that a debtor is presumed to be insolvent when it is

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Bankruptcy Court will not Revisit State Court Foreclosure Decision

A Memorandum of Decision recently entered in In re 56 Walker, LLC, Case No. 13-11571 (ALG), Bankr. S.D.N.Y. (Mar. 25, 2014), provides clear guidance as to the effect of a state court decision granting summary judgment in favor of a secured lender in a foreclosure action prior to the Debtor’s bankruptcy filing.642-737 dumps The collateral estoppel, res judicata and Rooker-Feldman doctrines each separately served as grounds for the Bankruptcy Court’s finding that it was unable to review the prior state court decision.

In 56 Walker, the Debtor’s sole asset was a six-story mixed-use building in New York, New York. The property was pledged as security for a mortgage loan with Broadway Bank. The Debtor defaulted, and Broadway Bank commenced a foreclosure action against the Debtor in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County. After a first chapter 11 case was dismissed, MB Financial Bank, N.A. (having acquired the loan via a purchase and assumption agreement with the FDIC, as receiver of Broadway Bank), filed a motion for summary judgment in the State Court. The Debtor opposed MB’s motion and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of MB’s complaint on the grounds that MB had not

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Case Updates: Glaski v. Bank of America  and Sandri v. Capital One

The California Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District has held that a borrower has standing to state a claim for wrongful foreclosure based on the alleged improper securitization of the borrower’s note and deed of trust. Glaski v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., 218 Cal. App. 4th 1079 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 2013). This is a minority view. Rejecting both the holding and reasoning of the Glaski court, and adopting the majority view, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California reached a contrary conclusion. Sandri v. Capital One, N.A., et al. (In re Sandri), No. 12-3165DM, 2013 WL 5925655 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 2013).

I. Glaski v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., 218 Cal. App. 4th 1079 (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 2013)

Factual Background and Procedural History:

In mid-2005, appellant Glaski obtained a purchase money loan from lender Washington Mutual Bank, FA (“WaMu”). The loan was secured by a deed of trust against Glaski’s residence, identifying WaMu as the lender and beneficiary. In late-2005, the WaMu Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates Series 2005-AR17 Trust was formed as a securitized trust under New York law. Glaski alleged that his note, and the deed of trust

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When is a financing statement that is no longer effective, still effective? When it lapses in bankruptcy, of course!

October 8, 2014

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The 11th circuit is becoming easier on lenders who forget to continue financing statements post-bankruptcy, thanks to a recent Middle District of Florida Bankruptcy Court ruling in March in the Colony Resort bankruptcy. In re Colony Beach & Tennis Club Association, Inc., Case No. 13-00348, Bankr. M.D. Fla. (March 21, 2014). Colony Resort is a development in Longboat Key on the Gulf of Mexico, built in 1973. The resort had fallen on hard times, due in large part to condominium owner refusals to pay assessments, which in turn prevented needed renovations. The resort closed in 2010, followed by the bankruptcy filings of the resort’s related entities.

The entity that ran the resort was Colony Beach and Tennis Club, Ltd (the “Club”). The Club’s primary asset is a potential recovery in a pending lawsuit against the home owners’ association (the “Association”) for refusing to pay assessments. The Club’s primary secured creditor is Colony Lender, LLC (“Colony”), which acquired the debt (now in the form of a foreclosure judgment) from Bank of America in 2010. Colony’s debt is secured by a lien on substantially all of the Club’s assets; it was perfected by a financing statement filed in 2005. Colony filed an

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A debtor’s “increasing” burden of proof in the face of a motion for relief from stay

In Ryerson, the court held that a debtor’s burden of showing a successful reorganization changes depending on the timing in the case. The court found that early in the case, a debtor must show that reorganization is “plausible,” near the expiration of the exclusivity period a debtor must show that reorganization is “probable,” and, after expiration of the exclusivity period, the debtor must show reorganization is “assured.”

I. Short Factual Background.

In 2003, the debtor, a real estate developer, used funds from a line of a credit to purchase acres of contiguous lakefront land on Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. The debtor’s obligations under the line of credit were restated and evidenced by three promissory notes secured by liens on the property. In 2013, the debtor defaulted on his obligations and filed for chapter 11 relief less than two weeks prior to the scheduled foreclosure sale for the property. Twenty-six days after the petition date, the lender requested relief from the automatic stay under Section 362(d)(2) to pursue foreclosure on the property.

II. Legal Discussion.

The court first examined the value of the property and the various claims against the property to determine if the debtor lacked equity. The court

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U.S. Supreme Court: Inherited IRA Funds not “Retirement Funds”

On June 12, 2014, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Clark v. Rameker, Dkt. No. 13-299, 573 U.S. ___ (2014), holding that funds held in inherited Individual Retirement Accounts are not “retirement funds” within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(c) and therefore not exempt from the bankruptcy estate. This opinion limits retirement funds that remain out of creditors’ reach when an individual files a bankruptcy case.

In Clark, Heidi Clark inherited a traditional IRA account established by her mother. Clark then filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and claimed the inherited IRA account as exempt from the bankruptcy estate under Section 522(b)(3)(C). The trustee and unsecured creditors objected, arguing that the inherited IRA funds were not “retirement funds” within the meaning of the statute.

The Court distinguished between inherited IRAs and traditional IRAs, noting that holders of inherited IRAs are prohibited from making contributions to those accounts, setting them apart from traditional retirement accounts; that holders of inherited IRAs are required to withdraw money from such accounts, regardless of how many years they may be from retirement; and that holders of inherited IRAs may withdraw the entire balance of the account at any time and for any

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Being Sued by the Client You Never Knew You Had

Attorneys with secured lenders for clients may one day find themselves in the following hypothetical scenario: An attorney represents a secured lender in the workout of a loan that is owed by a small distressed borrower. The borrower finds a buyer for its assets (either in a § 363 sale or out-of-court short sale), and the borrower and buyer agree upon the basic terms of the sale transaction. However, the borrower’s counsel does not have the experience, time or resources to draft the sale transaction documents, so the responsibility to “just get it done” falls on the secured lender’s attorney, whose client has the biggest economic stake because it will likely receive most of the sale proceeds.

After the deal closes, it turns out that the borrower is subject to tax claims that could have been avoided if the sale had been done another way, or the borrower is stuck with some pre-closing liabilities that it (mistakenly) thought the buyer was taking, or some other liability that counsel for the borrower should have addressed prior to or at the closing, but that the attorney did not care about or missed. The borrower sues — and the target of the suit

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