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Handy List of Basic Issues to Consider for the Transactional Workout

While significant energy here at the Bankruptcy Cave is devoted to substantive bankruptcy matters, not all aspects of a general insolvency practice are always fun and litigation.  Oftentimes insolvency lawyers add the most value by helping clients avoid a bankruptcy filing, or by successfully resolving a case through a consensual transactional restructuring.  Below are a few key issues diligent counsel for creditors and debtors should think through in connection with a transactional restructuring.[1]

1. Notice and Demand After Default. As anyone reading this knows, a lender often sends a notice of default and maybe even a demand for payment after its borrower defaults.  However, simply sending a notice of default and demand for payment may not always be sufficient or have the intended effect.  Most loan documents provide a cure period before a breach becomes an actionable default.  Some loan documents will only permit a lender to accrue

Helpful Cases for Mortgage Servicers Attempting to Comply with Mortgage Servicing Regulations After a Bankruptcy Discharge

August 15, 2016


Mortgage lenders and servicers face several regulations in servicing residential mortgages. There are requirements under the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), state law, and new regulations implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).  Failure to comply with these regulations and laws may give rise to litigation, as well as statutory penalties.  In many cases, the mortgage borrower files for bankruptcy.  When the mortgage borrower states an intention to surrender the mortgaged property in bankruptcy, non-bankruptcy statutes and regulations often conflict with or at minimum create great uncertainty about the mortgage servicer’s obligations to communicate with these borrowers after discharge.  Neither the Supreme Court nor many of the Circuits have provided clarity for mortgage servicers on whether, how, and to what extent they may communicate with a discharged debtor who still

How Reporting a Crime May Subject You to Sanctions

You are a creditor and your loan is secured by personal property, let’s say equipment.  The borrower recently filed for bankruptcy protection.  You receive a phone call from a friend advising you that someone has a moving truck outside the borrower’s business location and it looks like they are stealing equipment.  You don’t know who is moving the equipment — but you do know it’s without your permission and in violation of the security agreement.  You are furious.  You think a crime is being committed and you want tell the appropriate authorities.  You call the police, file a police report and hope the police will recover the equipment so your collateral remains intact.  A few weeks later, the chapter 11 debtor files an action against you for willful violation of the automatic stay and requests sanctions again you under 11 U.S.C. 362(k)(1)!  Will you have to pay sanctions?

Believe it

The Un-Bankruptcy: A Texas Receivership as an Alternative to Bankruptcy (and fourteen ways to appoint a receiver in The Lone Star State)

April 11, 2016


Creditors seeking to exercise control over a borrower or collateral may utilize a number of remedies. They may seek a foreclosure or UCC sale, assignment for the benefit of creditors, file an involuntary bankruptcy petition under Section 303 of the Bankruptcy Code (if they hold unsecured claims),[1] or, seek the appointment of a receiver.

Bankruptcy and receivership provide a particular advantage because they allow creditors to take control of the debtor or collateral without the risk of taking possession.  (See the prior post by my colleagues Jay Krystinik and Keith Aurzada on ways lenders may minimize risk in wresting control of a property away from a obligor, here.)  Receiverships provide the additional benefit of flexibility and, often, are more easily obtained and less costly than an involuntary bankruptcy.[2]  Both federal[3] and state laws provide for the appointment of receivers.

Receivership laws vary from

The Guarantor Chronicles – Can a guarantor waive its right to a foreclosure confirmation proceeding?

Editor’s Note #1: This post first appeared last week on Bank Bryan Cave, a top blog on regulatory, M&A, and litigation issues for those in the banking world, located at Given the close relationship of this post’s topic to the world of distress, we are cross-posting it here.

Editor’s Note #2: For prior posts of interest to those involved in guarantor litigation, see Ninth Circuit Decides Issue of First Impression, Protects Insider Guarantor from Preference Liability, located at

Can a guarantor waive his right to a confirmation proceeding under Georgia law, after a non-judicial foreclosure results in a deficiency still owing? Yes.  Last week, in case closely watched by Georgia commercial real estate lenders, borrowers, and guarantors, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued its opinion in PNC Bank, N.A.  v. Smith, 2016 Ga. LEXIS 169 (Ga. Sup. Court Feb. 22, 2016). The case was

11th Circuit Holds Consumer Lenders Can’t Include Estimated Expenses In Pre Closing Reinstatement or Payoff Letters; What You Should Do About This Remarkable Opinion

Editor’s Pre- / Post-Script:  The original post about this case was, frankly, a bit sarcastic toward the consumer borrower, and made light of a serious matter.  (Your author Mark Duedall is to blame for that.)  When the post found its way to the borrower’s counsel, he was kind enough to let us know, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”  And that was this – the borrower was down on his luck, a hard working public servant, but eventually managed to come up with the funds needed to pay his bills (including this loan) in full.  Truly, an individual deserving to be treated fairly in all respects.  But when he paid the loan in full, including the estimated future charges, the lender then refused to refund the estimated future charges that the borrower had paid in full (and that the lender did not incur).  Yikes; the consumer had

Putative Class Actions in Bankruptcy for Violations of the Discharge Injunction and Bankruptcy Code Section 524(j)

Red Foreclosure Home For Sale Real Estate Sign on White

There has been a relatively recent uptick in plaintiffs’ counsel filing putative class actions in multiple state and federal courts for alleged violations of a debtor’s bankruptcy discharge injunction based upon the debtor’s receipt of post-discharge mortgage-related communications. These claims assert putative class action challenges to post-discharge communications alleged to be attempts at personal collection of the discharged mortgage debt.

Bankruptcy Code Section 524(j) expressly allows a secured creditor with a security interest in the debtor’s principal residence to communicate with the debtor in the ordinary course of business provided the creditor is seeking periodic payments associated with a valid security interest in lieu of pursuing in rem relief to enforce the lien. This section is under-developed in case

Debtors Cannot Void Junior Liens on Underwater Property in Chapter 7

On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court released its opinion in Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett, No. 13-1421, 575 U.S. ____ (2015), in which it held that a Chapter 7 debtor may not void a junior mortgage under Section 506(d) of the Bankruptcy Code merely because the debt owed on a senior mortgage exceeds the present value of the property and the creditor’s claim is secured by a lien and allowed under Section 502. For now, this opinion cuts off a Chapter 7 debtor’s ability to “strip off” an underwater junior lien.

In Caulkett, the debtor had two mortgage liens on his home; Bank of America held the junior lien. The amount owed on the senior mortgage exceeded the value of the home, rendering Bank of America’s junior mortgage fully “underwater,” or with no current economic value. Generally, where the value of a creditor’s interest in its collateral is

Spring Cleaning, Avoidance Actions, and Time to Tweak the Loan Forms, Just In Case

April 3, 2015


Winter is over; time for spring cleaning. Alas, your authors are so desperate to put off such drudgery that they decided to write about avoidance actions, and form language for notes and security agreements. If you represent lenders, try taking five from the cluttered garage, dust-bunnied closet, or bursting kitchen junk drawer, and read this; you may save your lender client a buck or two.

The Basics: Workout lawyers all agree on certain principles. For instance, fully secured creditors with undisputed claims deserve to be paid. Further, if the collateral value exceeds the amount of the secured creditor’s claim then payment must include interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees, if the loan documents so provide.[1]

The Wrinkle: But add a wrinkle – the kind of wrinkle rarely considered when structuring a loan, in the glorious salad days of the lending relationship. That wrinkle: Upon the obligor’s bankruptcy, what if

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