Congress made clear in its enactment of section 503(b)(3)(D) of the Bankruptcy Code that, to the extent a creditor makes a substantial contribution in a chapter 9 or chapter 11 bankruptcy case, that creditor should be rewarded. Because the reward — reimbursement of fees and expenses as administrative expenses of the estate — is paid with funds that would otherwise be available to other creditors, oftentimes a request for a substantial contribution claim is met with resistance. While substantial contribution claim litigation typically focuses on whether the creditor seeking reimbursement actually provided a contribution to the estate, a recent decision by the Sixth Circuit shows us that the debate surrounding section 503(b)(3)(D) does not stop there. Rather, in In re Connolly North America, LLC
, the court was asked to determine whether a creditor could assert a substantial contribution claim in a chapter 7 proceeding, notwithstanding that the statute explicitly mentions the availability of these types of claims only in chapter 9 or chapter 11 cases. Much to the relief of the petitioning creditors in Connolly
, the Sixth Circuit answered yes (albeit in a 2-1 decision, demonstrating that the issue is a close call).