Articles Posted in Bankruptcy

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Benjamin Ashmore appealed the district court's order dismissing him as the plaintiff in a whistleblower action under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. 1514A. Instead, the trustee of Ashmore's bankruptcy estate was substituted as plaintiff. The Second Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the district court's dismissal of the case as to Ashmore and the substitution of the trustee as plaintiff were interlocutory orders that were not immediately appealable. The court vacated the temporary stay of the district court proceedings and denied Ashmore's pending motion to stay as moot. View "Ashmore v. CGI Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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A group of hotel-related businesses, as well as investors and guarantors, filed suit alleging claims of fraud against the Royal Bank and two of its subsidiaries. The district court dismissed the claims because plaintiffs had failed to list their cause of action in a schedule of assets in their now-concluded bankruptcy proceeding, they lacked standing to bring the claim, and were barred by judicial estoppel. The claims of the investor and guarantors were dismissed as untimely and barred by the law of the case. The Second Circuit affirmed on the grounds of judicial estoppel and timeliness. The court held that, under Fifth Circuit law, the kind of LIBOR-fraud claim that BPP wanted to assert was "a known cause of action" at the time of confirmation, so that BPP's failure to list it in the schedule of assets was equivalent to a representation that none existed; the bankruptcy court "adopted" BPP's position; and BPP's assertion of the claims now would allow it to enjoy an unfair advantage at the expense of its former creditors. Furthermore, plaintiffs have not shown good cause for an untimely amendment, and the district court properly denied leave to amend. View "BPP Illinois v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Bankruptcy

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Avoca Plaintiffs filed suits against New Kerr-McGee, alleging toxic tort claims. The suits were stayed when the owners/operators of the Avoca Plant, Tronox debtors, filed for bankruptcy. In this appeal, Avoca challenged the district court's order enforcing a permanent anti‐suit injunction issued after the bankruptcy settlement. New Kerr‐McGee had moved in the district court for an order enforcing the Injunction and for sanctions, asserting that the Injunction forecloses claims that arise from liabilities derived from or through the Tronox debtors that are also generalized and common to all creditors. The district court concluded that the claims are barred by the Injunction and, without imposing sanctions or finding contempt, ordered the Avoca Plaintiffs to dismiss with prejudice their state‐court complaints. The court rejected the Avoca Plaintiffs' assertions of appellate jurisdiction, concluding that the district court's order is not "final" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. 1291, because it neither found contempt nor imposed sanctions; the order is not a decision by the district court on review of a bankruptcy court order, as required by 28 U.S.C. 158(d); and the court lacked jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(1) because the district court properly construed (and neither modified nor continued) the Injunction. The court held that the Avoca Plaintiffs' personal injury claims based on conduct of the Tronox debtors, and asserted against New Kerr‐McGee on a variety of state‐law indirect‐liability theories, are generalized "derivative" claims that fall within the property of the bankruptcy estate. Accordingly, the court lifted the stay and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "In re Tronox Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, unsuccessful bidders in a bankruptcy proceeding, appealed the district court's dismissal of their suit alleging claims for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference, and common law fraud against the law firm K&L Gates, LLP and two of its former partners. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants used their prior representation of plaintiffs to undermine plaintiffs' attempt to acquire assets in a bankruptcy sale.  The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss based on res judicata. The court agreed with plaintiffs that they could not have brought their claims during the bankruptcy proceedings, and that this present action would not disturb the orders of the bankruptcy court. The court explained that the circumstances in this case did not demand that plaintiffs raise their claim in the bankruptcy proceeding, and noted that the relevant issues were not litigated through an adversary proceeding or otherwise. Accordingly, the court reversed and vacated, remanding for further proceedings. View "Brown Media Corp. v. K&L Gates, LLP" on Justia Law

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After Old GM filed for bankruptcy, New GM emerged. This case involves one of the consequences of the GM bankruptcy. Beginning in February 2014, New GM began recalling cars due to a defect in their ignition switches. Many of the cars in question were built years before the GM bankruptcy. Where individuals might have had claims against Old GM, a ʺfree and clearʺ provision in the bankruptcy courtʹs sale order barred those same claims from being brought against New GM as the successor corporation. Various individuals nonetheless initiated class action lawsuits against New GM, asserting ʺsuccessor liabilityʺ claims and seeking damages for losses and injuries arising from the ignition switch defect and other defects. The bankruptcy court enforced the Sale Order to enjoin many of these claims against New GM. The court concluded that the bankruptcy court had jurisdiction to interpret and enforce the Sale Order; the ʺfree and clearʺ provision covers pre‐closing accident claims and economic loss claims based on the ignition switch and other defects, but does not cover independent claims or Used Car Purchasersʹ claims; the court found no clear error in the bankruptcy court's finding that Old GM knew or should have known with reasonable diligence about the defect, and individuals with claims arising out of the ignition switch defect were entitled to notice by direct mail or some equivalent, as required by procedural due process; because enforcing the Sale Order would violate procedural due process in these circumstances, the bankruptcy court erred in granting New GMʹs motion to enforce and these plaintiffs cannot be bound by the terms of the Sales Order; and the bankruptcy courtʹs decision on equitable mootness was advisory. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "In re Motors Liquidation Co." on Justia Law

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Appellants, representatives of certain unsecured creditors of the Chapter 11 debtor Tribune Company, appealed the grant of a motion to dismiss their state law, constructive fraudulent conveyance claims brought against Tribune’s former shareholders. The court held that appellants are not barred by the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay because they have been freed from its restrictions by orders of the bankruptcy court and by the debtors’ confirmed reorganization plan. The court also held that appellants’ claims are preempted by Bankruptcy Code Section 546(e), where that section shields from avoidance proceedings brought by a bankruptcy trustee transfers by or to financial intermediaries effectuating settlement payments in securities transactions or made in connection with a securities contract, except through an intentional fraudulent conveyance claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "In re: Tribune Co. Fraudulent Conveyance Litig." on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's judgment in favor of Ocwen and dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging various causes of action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692. At issue is whether a debtor who has received a claim on a debt that has been discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding can sue the claimant in a district court under the FDCPA. The court concluded that the Bankruptcy Code does not broadly repeal the FDCPA for purposes of FDCPA claims based on conduct that would constitute alleged violations of the discharge injunction; none of plaintiff's individual FDCPA claims conflicts with the discharge injunction under the Bankruptcy Code; and, in regard to the claim of piecemeal litigation, the court concluded that the remote possibility of a need for clarification provides no basis for routing all FDCPA claims exclusively into the bankruptcy court. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to reinstate plaintiff's FDCPA claims against Ocwen. View "Garfield v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC" on Justia Law

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Statek appealed the district court's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's order, on remand, denying reconsideration. In denying Statekʹs latest motions for reconsideration, the bankruptcy courtʹs decisions relied on a prior alternative holding - that Statekʹs argument was a ʺnew argumentʺ not proper for a motion for reconsideration - which this Court did not explicitly address in Coudert I.  In Coudert I, the court instructed the bankruptcy court ʺto apply Connecticutʹs choice of law rules in deciding Statekʹs motion to reconsider.ʺ The bankruptcy court did not follow that instruction, as the Connecticut choice‐of‐law rules did not bear on the bankruptcy courtʹs ultimate decision. Instead, the bankruptcy court ordered further briefing on whether it could adhere to its prior alternative holding that Statekʹs argument was a new argument not available on reconsideration. Because the bankruptcy court's decisions do not comply with the court's mandate in Coudert I, the court reversed and remanded with further instructions. View "Statek Corp. v. Development Specialists, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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This appeal concerns the proper application of Section 510(b) of the Bankruptcy Code in the Lehman bankruptcies. LBI, the debtor, was lead underwriter of unsecured notes issued by Lehman Holdings, its affiliates. After the bankruptcy of both the Lehman entity that issued the notes, Lehman Holdings, and the Lehman entity that was lead underwriter on the issuances, LBI, the Junior Underwriters were held to account for the noteholders' losses, and incurred loss for defense and settlements. The Junior Underwriters filed suit asserting claims for contribution or reimbursement against the liquidation estate of Debtor LBI. The bankruptcy court construed the statute to require subordination of the Junior Underwriters’ contribution claims. The court, however, adopted the district court's construction of section 510(b), holding that in the affiliate securities context, “the claim or interest represented by such security” means a claim or interest of the same type as the affiliate security. Claims arising from securities of a debtor’s affiliate should be subordinated in the debtor’s bankruptcy proceeding to all claims or interests senior or equal to claims in the bankruptcy proceeding that are of the same type as the underlying securities. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "ANZ Securities v. Giddens" on Justia Law

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The City filed timely proofs of claim for property taxes owed by a Chapter 11 debtor with respect to quarters of the 2009 tax year that had been billed pre‐petition, but did not file proofs of claim with respect to property tax bills for later quarters that were billed during the bankruptcy proceedings.  A single lien secured payment of the entire tax burden - both taxes that were the subject of claims and those that were not. The bankruptcy court ruled that the now-confirmed plan extinguished the lien and the district court affirmed. The court held that a lien is extinguished by a Chapter 11 plan if: (1) the text of the plan does not preserve the lien; (2) the plan is confirmed; (3) the property subject to the lien is “dealt with” by the terms of the plan; and (4) the lienholder participated in the bankruptcy proceedings. The court concluded that all four requirements are satisfied when applied to the facts of this case. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "City of Concord, N.H. v. Northern New England Telephone Operations" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy, Tax Law