In the first installment of this article, we discussed the prevalence of preference litigation and some of the commonly-available defenses to business vendors to limit or even eliminate liability to the bankruptcy estate. While preference actions are by far the most common type of avoidance litigation brought in bankruptcy cases, this is not the end of the story. Bankruptcy estate representatives can also bring actions to avoid fraudulent transfers and post-petition transactions. We will first discuss the elements of each of these avoidance claims, followed by some tips to avoid being the target of such an action in the first place or, if a defendant, some strategies to limit liability. Continue Reading Bankruptcy Avoidance Litigation Part II – Do I Really Have to Give That Payment Back?
While initial consumer and commercial bankruptcy filings have, in recent years, ebbed in the wake of the historic highs of the Great Recession, the tail of the bankruptcy boom continues to vex the business community from an unexpected source — avoidance litigation against the debtor’s service and product vendors. The Bankruptcy Code permits a trustee or debtor in possession to avoid and recover certain payments, known as preferences, made by the debtor to its creditors during the 90-day period preceding the filing of its bankruptcy petition. The legislative policy objectives of preference avoidance rest on a dubious proposition: that all creditors should share equally in the debtor’s financial failure and that those creditors who successfully pressured the debtor for payment immediately before the bankruptcy should not gain a greater share of the estate than creditors who did not prey on a distressed debtor. Continue Reading BANKRUPTCY AVOIDANCE LITIGATION — DO I REALLY HAVE TO GIVE THAT PAYMENT BACK?
The Chapter 7 Trustee appointed in the TransVantage Solutions, Inc. bankruptcy case ground the gears of the nation’s trucking industry this past April when he filed over 500 adversary complaints against common carriers, shippers and customers of the bankrupt company. Continue Reading The Road Ahead for TransVantage Solutions, Inc.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the decisions of the District and Bankruptcy Court denying, for reasons of inadequate disclosure, the approval of a third-party release provision in the Chapter 11 plan of In re Lower Bucks Hospital, et al., Case No. 10-10239(ELF)(“Lower Bucks”). The offending release purported to prohibit a class of creditors that held corporate bonds in the Debtor, Lower Bucks Hospital, from bringing claims against their Indenture Trustee, The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A. The permissibility of third-party releases, where a non-debtor receives a release of the claims of creditors, continues to be a controversial issue in the Third Circuit. While the Third Circuit has yet to issue a definitive opinion on when such third-party releases may be granted, the Court emphatically stated that they may not be granted in the absence of clear and conspicuous disclosure to affected parties. Continue Reading The Third Circuit Affirms the Denial of Third-Party Releases for Lack of Adequate Disclosure