BCLP Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments

Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

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U.S. Trustee Fees – one spreadsheet to rule them all…

Editor’s Note – This is a great and useful post.  Most importantly, these formulae work perfectly – your editor actually tried them out in his own spreadsheet.  For your next Debtor case, use this for your budgeting and there should be no surprises for US Trustee fees.  And if you have any trouble with this, call Jacob directly – he is a data-driven lawyer and also very interested in lending a hand to fellow restructuring professionals.

Recently I had to project quarterly U.S. Trustee fees in several jointly administered chapter 11 bankruptcy cases under the U.S. Trustee’s current fee guidelines (posted to effectuate 28 U.S.C. § 1930(a)(6)).  Fees are calculated based on each debtor’s “disbursements” in a given quarter.[1]  The calculation of multiple U.S. Trustee fees for multiple debtors can be challenging, particularly since the U.S. Trustee fees are calculated based on eight different brackets. 

A step forward – the FirstEnergy Solutions court comes to the commonsense conclusion that steel forges aren’t “forward contract merchants.”

Thomas Paine would be proud of this Court’s commonsense approach to the Bankruptcy Code

 

In the In re FirstEnergy Solutions Corporation bankruptcy cases,[1] the court recently issued an opinion narrowing the number of situations in which a fixed-price supply agreement (used to hedge against rising input costs and constituting a “forward contract” in bankruptcy parlance) will be treated as an exception to the general rules governing “executory contracts”[2] in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

The “automatic stay” under section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code usually prevents a contract counterparty from terminating an executory contract without first getting court approval (i.e., relief from the automatic stay); this is true even if the contract provides it may be terminated upon the filing of

The Stalking Horse Bid Protections: The Auction Credit Conundrum, and How to Avoid It

The Scenario

You’re an investor kicking the tires on a company in bankruptcy. If you agree to be the “stalking horse” bidder, you’ll expend significant time and money vetting the opportunity (including attorneys’ fees, quality of earnings analysis, valuation and appraisal work, and site visits), only to possibly end up in a bidding war with others wanting a free ride on your due diligence.

To lure you in, the debtor offers you $250,000 in “Bid Protections” (total breakup fee and expense reimbursement) if you don’t win at auction. Not only that, you’ll get a credit toward your cash bid at the auction in the amount of the Bid Protections.  This makes sense, you think, because the economic value of a competing bid is deflated by the $250,000 in Bid Protections that must be paid to you if the competitor is ultimately successful.  So to compare the economic value of

My Company Went Through Bankruptcy And All I Got Was This Lousy Release – How to Get a Non-Consensual Release of Third Parties in a Chapter 11 Plan

October 29, 2018

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Officers and directors work hard to shepherd their company through bankruptcy. But, even after all that hard work, creditors can still turn around and sue them individually for alleged acts prior to the bankruptcy.  What kind of thanks is that?  A debtor wishing to protect these hard-working officers and directors may seek to include a third party release in the plan.  However, if all parties do not agree, third party releases over objecting classes are closely analyzed because they are considered a “dramatic measure to be used cautiously, and [] only appropriate in unusual circumstances.”  In re Dow Corning Corp., 280 F.3d 648, 658 (6th Cir. 2002).  Fortunately, this post will discuss the steps officers and directors may take with the debtor to increase the likelihood of plan approval, with third party releases intact, over the objections of some parties.

Initially, the debtor must look to where it

Fifth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Bankruptcy Case Due to Lack of Corporate Authority to File (and provides a blueprint for veto powers over bankruptcy filings?)

On June 14, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a revised opinion that held that Federal law does not prevent a bona fide shareholder from exercising its right to vote against a bankruptcy petition just because it is also an unsecured creditor. In re Franchise Servs. of N. Am., Inc., 891 F.3d 198, 203 (5th Cir. 2018), as revised (June 14, 2018).

Franchise Services of North America, Inc. (“FSNA”) was once one of the largest rental car companies in North America. Id. at 203.  In 2012, FSNA desired to purchase Advantage Rent-A-Car and enlisted an investment bank, Macquarie Capital (U.S.A.), Inc. (“Macquarie”), to assist. Macquarie created a fully-owned subsidiary, Boketo, LLC (“Boketo”), to make a $15 million investment in FSNA.

In exchange for the capital infusion, FSNA gave Boketo 100% of its preferred stock in the form of a convertible preferred equity instrument.

Ninth Circuit Declines To Decide When Contempt Sanction Becomes Punishment

Bankruptcy courts have authority to hold in civil contempt one who refuses to comply with a bankruptcy court order, including incarceration and/or daily fines until the offender complies.[1]  But when does civil contempt[2] cross into criminal contempt, which is punitive and outside the scope of the bankruptcy court’s powers?[3]  While a bright-line rule is wanting, the 9th Circuit’s silence on a recent case implied that three years of incarceration plus a $1,000 daily fine to coerce compliance does not implicate criminal due process concerns and, therefore, is within the bounds of permissible bankruptcy court authority.

Kenny G Enterprises, LLC’s Chapter 11 case (which dealt with a developer named Kenny G, and not the world’s favorite saxophonist) was converted to Chapter 7, triggering a requirement

The Primary Purpose Test and SRP Chameleon: How the Obamacare “Penalty” Became a “Tax” Only to Become a “Penalty” Again

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (a/k/a “Obamacare” or the “ACA”), with its infamous “individual mandate”[1] (and corresponding “shared responsibility payment” (which we’ll call the “SRP”)),[2] is no stranger to controversy.  Everyone is well aware of the legal challenges mounted against the individual mandate, and the seminal SCOTUS opinion upholding the mandate as a valid exercise of Congress’s taxing power – National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012). Don’t worry, we’re well aware that you, along with nearly every other American (including us here at the Bankruptcy Cave), are sick and tired of hearing about ACA squabbles.  But this post will explore one side of the ACA that you’ve almost certainly not considered, but which is interesting (to us at least).  It’s interesting because it provides the leading thought on which government exactions should and shouldn’t be

Equity v. Statute: In Bankruptcy, the Code Prevails (The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis et al.)

Garrison Keillor once said, “Sometimes I look reality straight in the eye and deny it.”[1]  Being that the case arose in Minnesota, perhaps Circuit Judge Michael Melloy channeled Keillor, one of that state’s great humorists, when he authored the opinion in The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis et al. (In re: The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis) Case No. 17-1079 2018 WL 1954482 (8th Cir. April 26, 2018) [a link to the opinion is here].[2]  Regardless, the quote must sum up the Appellant’s view of the outcome. The unsecured creditors that make up the Committee, most of whom were victims of clergy sexual abuse, will not obtain access to the value of over 200 non-profit entities affiliated with the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to pay their claims.

In a concise opinion, the

The Palmaz Plan: Investors Can Have Their Direct D&O Claims But Not The D&O Insurance Proceeds #WinningWhileLosing

In In re Palmaz Scientific Inc., the bankruptcy court for the Western District of Texas determined that a confirmed plan of reorganization would not stop a group of investors from pursuing direct (non-derivative) claims against directors and officers of the debtor companies because plan injunction language only covered claims against the debtors.  2018 WL 1036780, at *5 (Bankr. W.D. Tex. Feb. 21, 2018) (slip op. at 11).  Unfortunately for the investor plaintiffs, this proved to be a success without victory because the court went on to hold that the plan precluded the investors from using the D&O insurance proceeds to satisfy their claims.  Id. at *7 (slip op. at 14).  This case is both a cautionary tale for claimants and a potential boon for post-confirmation trustees.

When (and why) do D&O Insurance Proceeds become the coveted prize?

When D&O claims are asserted against a distressed company and/or its directors

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