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(If as many people who showed up to the 9th Circuit for Prop 8 showed up for the absolute priority rule, then the absolute priority rule might... (Click on the blog title to continue reading.)

Read More from: Plan Proponent

1 week 4 days ago
Nobody likes getting telemarketing calls or other unwanted phone calls. They’re annoying and if you wanted to buy what a telemarketer is trying to sell you, you’d call them, right? Is there anything you can do about these pesky calls? Well, actually there is under both federal and Mississippi law (or the law of your particular state). A federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) makes certain calls to consumers unlawful. TCPA Violations
  1. Autodialed or prerecorded calls to cell phones and other numbers without the prior consent of the person being called;
  2. Certain pre recorded calls to residential telephone numbers without the prior consent of the person being called; and
  3. Telemarketing calls to consumers who place their name on the nationwide do-not-call list.
Most text messages which are sent in bulk are also prohibited by the TCPA. Junk faxes to homes and businesses are also prohibited. Violations of the TCPA can result in a damages award of $500.00 per violation or actual damages suffered by the victim of the violation. Under certain circumstances, the $500.00 amount can be increased to $1,500.00.

Read More from: Bonds & Botes, P.C.

1 week 4 days ago
Monday is shaping up to be a busy day in bankruptcy court, with major hearings set to begin in New York, California and Delaware. In Manhattan, Relativity Media LLC will seek final court approval of a chapter 11 plan that restructures more than $1 billion in debt and leaves the company poised to emerge from bankruptcy in early February. The Hollywood studio, which collapsed into bankruptcy last summer following a string of box-office flops and a debt load that had become unsustainable, said in court papers Thursday that it has already resolved almost every objection standing between it and the judge’s blessing. In the weeks leading up to Monday’s hearing, Relativity has announced a succession of good news. The company and its junior creditors settled a row with affiliates of Paul Singer‘s Elliott Management, which now support Relativity’s plan and have waived their right to collect a share of the first $35 million set aside to repay the company’s lowest-ranking creditors. Relativity also recently announced that Ryan Kavanaugh, its founder and chief executive, has successfully raised more than $100 million in new financing needed to pay for the studio’s exit from bankruptcy as well as its future operations.

Read More from: WSJ.com: Bankruptcy Beat

1 week 4 days ago
In this Tuesday, April 15, 2014, photo, Homeland Security Investigators raid telecommunications and marketing firm TelexFree in Marlborough, Mass.
Alan Jung/Associated Press
Victims of the alleged TelexFree pyramid scheme may soon be able to file bankruptcy-court claims seeking to have at least a portion of their original investments returned. Stephen Darr, the trustee appointed to marshal TelexFree’s assets and redistribute them to investors, and others have made considerable progress in developing an elaborate system to handle the expected wave of claims, court papers show. They hope to have an electronic, web-based system ready by the end of March. Then, those who lost money will have at least 90 days to submit their current contact information, their TelexFree account information and a description of what they’re owed using specially-developed claims forms. A more specific claims deadline, also called a bar date, will be set by the bankruptcy court later this year, according to Harold Murphy, a lawyer for Mr. Darr.

Read More from: WSJ.com: Bankruptcy Beat

1 week 4 days ago
Running a small business is hard work.   Cash flow is tight; time is in short supply. When there’s just not enough in the bank to cover payroll, the easiest loan in town is from the Bank of Uncle Sam. There’s no application, no review, no waiting. You just give employees their checks, net of the amounts withheld.  You can repay the withheld amounts when cash flow is better, you tell yourself. Up until now, that manoeuvre was costly and the financial consequences unavoidable.  Now, in California, it’s also criminal. California employers exposed Senate Bill 390, signed into law in October, 2013, makes it a crime for an employer to fail to pay over to taxing authorities money withheld from employees’ paychecks. As little as $500 unpaid, and the matter is a felony.  The easy “loan” can result in hard time. Responsibility for payroll taxes Incorporating a business appears insulate the owners and managers of a business from liability for the debts of the business. Payroll taxes, or more precisely, trust fund taxes, are an exception. Trust fund taxes is the label given to the amounts that are withheld from an employees wages.  The withholding includes the employee’s contribution to FICA or Social Security, as well as the employee’s income tax withholding.
1 week 4 days ago
The potential for more convergence between financial products and physical products raises a whole host of data and privacy issues that banks must deal with proactively.

Read More from: BankThink

1 week 4 days ago
Upcoming Committee Formation Meeting: February 5, 2016 Case Name: Nuo Therapeutics, Inc. Case Number: 16-10192 (MFW) Location: Delaware State Bar Association, 405 N. King St., Wilmington, DE 19801 The Notice of Formation Meeting (which includes the creditor questionnaire to serve on the committee) is available here. The docket for the debtor’s case (No.16-10192 (MFW)) is available through Epiq. A second day hearing on certain motions has been scheduled for February 22, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. Contact Norman L. Pernick, Nicholas J. Brannick, or David W. Giattino for more information.
1 week 4 days ago
Wall Street Journal Equity analysts and economists have had a hard time predicting where the price of oil is heading. JPMorgan Chase's analysts have cut price forecasts twice in two months, with the latest prediction for Brent an average $31.50 per barrel in 2016. Previous estimates from JPMorgan were $51.50 back on Dec. 18, and $54.75 in October. Analysts from Credit Suisse Group and Citigroup have also repeatedly lowered their estimates to keep up with the...

Read More from: BankThink

1 week 4 days ago
Talking about our financial difficulties is taboo in this society. We lionize those who make a fortune.  Everyone expects to live the middle class life.  What’s wrong with you if you aren’t making it? We are more willing to talk about our sex lives than our money troubles. Most of those meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer for the first time manifest some kind of shame, the sense that their financial hole is the sign of a moral as well as financial failure. And as long as no one will talk about money troubles outside of a lawyer’s office, each person imagines that they are the only one with this sort of problem. They imagine that they will have to justify their situation to the bankruptcy judge in order to get a discharge. They see themselves alone and exposed. The profit in cultivating shame The cult of silence may be why the debt settlement/debt management businesses do so well. For a price, you are told, you can hire someone to get you out of the hole without declaring bankruptcy and therefore declaring failure. Only those models seldom work. Writing one check for the same amount as you wrote a bunch of smaller checks is still the same amount of money. It’s not the number of checks that is the problem, it’s the amount of money necessary to retire that debt, even over time.
1 week 4 days ago
California surfwear and skatewear retailer Quiksilver Inc. won court approval to leave chapter 11 protection. The Wall Street Journal has the Daily Bankruptcy Review article here. The plan will restructure some $800 million in debt for the company, which could exit bankruptcy as soon as next week. (Daily Bankruptcy Review is a daily newsletter with comprehensive coverage and analysis of emerging and in-progress insolvencies and turnarounds. For a two-week trial, visit http://on.wsj.com/DJBankruptcyNews, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”) WSJ reports on Puerto Rico’s plan to propose a debt-exchange offer Friday that would delay debt payments. Atlantic City, N.J.’s former emergency manager is optimistic that the struggling city can be saved, WSJ reports.

Read More from: WSJ.com: Bankruptcy Beat

1 week 4 days ago
Last year, the influential Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a troubling, and to many banking lawyers, plainly-wrong decision in Madden v. Midland Funding LLC.[i]  In that case, Midland had bought a credit card debt originated by a Delaware national bank, attempted to enforce the debt against the borrower, and apply the 27% interest rate under the credit card agreement.  However, the borrower was a New York citizen, and the rate charged exceeded the New York criminal usury rate of 25%.  Even though the originating lender was a national bank, the Second Circuit held that the national bank’s debt buyer could not rely on the National Bank Act preemption of state usury law.[ii]  The case is a departure from years of precedent, it creates a circuit split, and the debt buyer has asked the United States Supreme Court to review the decision.[iii]

Read More from: Creditors' Sidebar

1 week 5 days ago
Last week our Energy Restructuring Team attended the Energy CFO Roundtable in Houston that focused on “Restructuring in the Oil Patch”.  Stephen Lerner, the chair of our Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group, was one of the panelists.  In this blog we summarize some of the important takeaways from the Roundtable, along with our current thoughts and insights on the current turmoil in this sector. “This cycle is different from 1986.”  Comparing this market to the 1986 crisis, Roundtable participants concurred that this downturn is different.  Timing is expedited.  Oil and gas can be extracted more quickly and cheaply and investors expect returns on their investments sooner.  Investors are looking for returns in 36 to 48 months or less compared to much longer periods in 1986.  Back then, waiting 10 years or longer was not unusual.

Read More from: eSQUIRE Global Crossings

1 week 5 days ago
Distressed investors did not witness the anticipated wave of European high yield restructurings in 2015, but with significant stock market declines and a growing sense of economic anxiety, participants in the 12th European Distressed Debt Market Outlook expect a marked increase in restructuring activity in 2016. Despite improved European growth and stronger U.S. economic data, falling commodity prices (particularly oil) and the higher number of high yield bonds trading at distressed levels suggest another year of volatility is in store. Orrick partner and co-head of Europe Restructuring Stephen Phillips recently joined the Debtwire panel addressing these issues. For more information, please contact Stephen. To access the full report, click here.
1 week 5 days ago
At every initial consultation I have, one of the first questions I ask is “Do you own any real estate?”  More often than not the answer I get is “Well, I own my home, but I don’t want to include that in a bankruptcy case.”  However, when a person files a bankruptcy case of any kind, the Court requires you to disclose everything you own (including your home) and everything you owe (including your mortgage), even if you aren’t behind on your mortgage payments and intend to keep making those payments regularly.  In the majority of personal bankruptcy cases, people with mortgage payments on their homes continue to make those payments and keep their homes just as though no bankruptcy case was ever filed. Equity of Your Home Part of the reason for disclosing your home and mortgage is that the equity a person has in his or her home plays an important role in the bankruptcy process.  Equity is the value of property after you subtract the amount of any mortgages or liens on that property.  So a house that appraises for $75,000 and has a mortgage on it for $50,000 has $25,000 in equity.  For many people, the most valuable thing they own is their home, so naturally the Court will want to know about it.

Read More from: Bonds & Botes, P.C.

1 week 5 days ago
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, left, is stopped by the Phoenix Suns’ P.J. Tucker during the first half of a game Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. will continue to cook up the “official burger” of the Phoenix Suns basketball team even though a bankrupt franchisee that bought that promotional right has fallen behind on monthly sponsorship payments. Lawyers who put the Carl’s Jr. franchisee, which operates 85 restaurants in Texas and Arizona, into chapter 11 last year have struck a deal with Phoenix Suns officials that will preserve the fast-food chain’s affiliation while it searches for buyers. The Carl’s Jr. operator, which is partly owned by founder Carl Karcher’s three grandchildren, made a sponsorship deal with the team in August 2013, giving it access to game tickets, advertising in programs, mentions during games and appearances by players, dancers and the Suns Gorilla team mascot. Carl’s Jr. also sponsors the Phoenix Mercury women’s basketball team. That sponsorship deal happened well before the franchise hit financial troubles so deep that it needed to turn to bankruptcy. Frontier Star LLC filed for chapter 11 protection in July, blaming escalating food costs, minimum wage increases and the financial consequences of the Affordable Care Act.

Read More from: WSJ.com: Bankruptcy Beat

1 week 5 days ago
Presidential candidates' arguments to stop the Federal Reserve from paying interest on banks' excess reserves betray a poor understanding of monetary policy and why the Fed began the practice. Here's why.

Read More from: BankThink

1 week 5 days ago
People talk the talk, but women in the workplace are still advancing slowly. Why? A former Wall Street exec explains arbitration's role; B of A's Anne Finucane suggests it's a struggle to balance work and early parenthood.

Read More from: BankThink

1 week 5 days ago
Will my retirement nest egg be enough to live comfortably when I’m done working? Living will be slow and my needs will be simple. I look at the growth in my retirement savings, the cost of “things”,  and my life expectancy, and wonder if my savings are sufficient to buy what I’ll need. But, turns out, the analysis is far more complicated. What I didn’t realize until very recently is that steady inflation is a GOAL of federal monetary policy.  Each year, the Fed wants to see 2% inflation. Policy makers think that 2% inflation represents a good balance between price stability and employment. If the Fed gets it right and inflation is a steady 2%, the hurdle for my retirement savings just got higher.
In the course of just ten years of my retirement, what cost $100 today will cost $122 at the end of the decade. And $164 in 25 years.
This assumes that inflation rates do just what economists want them to do. How often does that happen, I ask you? I have to consider that inflation may not cooperate with policy makers.  We may experience periods of greater inflation.
If inflation is 4%, my $100 purchase will cost $148 in ten years. And $266 in 25 years.
Ouch!
1 week 5 days ago
Eric Fisher and Lindsay Bush have has joined Binder & Schwartz as a partner and associate, respectively. Mr. Fisher and Ms. Bush, who most recently worked with the restructuring and bankruptcy group at Dickstein Shapiro, have worked together on litigation involving Bernard Madoff and Motors Liquidation Co. (the remains of automaker General Motors that was wound down in bankruptcy). They have represented companies, partnerships and others in bankruptcy and other commercial litigation. Ashley Katz has joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson as a partner with the bankruptcy and restructuring group. Mr. Katz, who will work in the London office, has advised financial institutions and distressed investors in industries including real estate, construction and financial services. Most recently, he worked with the restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency group at Mayer Brown’s London office.

Read More from: WSJ.com: Bankruptcy Beat

1 week 5 days ago

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