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Governmental Agency Can’t Foot the Bill by Repackaging its Claim

By: Christina Mavrikis

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staff

In In re G-I Holdings, Inc., the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals held that the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) could not repackage a claim for damages against G-I Holdings in the hopes of circumventing federal bankruptcy laws. G-I Holdings was the manufacturer of housing products containing asbestos. Seeking to address its asbestos related lawsuits, in 2001 GI Holdings filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. NYCHA submitted a half-billion dollar claim against G-I Holdings for property damage to its buildings. NYCHA claimed it had to take expensive measures to remove asbestos containing material from its buildings. In 2009, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and the Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey approved a plan of reorganization that disposed all covered claims against G-I Holdings. Claim holders were also barred from reasserting such claims.

Foreign Representatives May Bypass The Recognition Process To Recover Debtor’s Property

By: Parm Partik Singh

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staff

A “foreign representative” must obtain recognition of a foreign proceeding pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 1517 prior to “apply[ing] directly to a court in the United States.” However, under § 1509(f), a foreign representative may sue in a United States court “to collect or recover a claim which is the property of the debtor” without first obtaining recognition. The scope of this exception, however, is unclear.

Bankruptcy Court’s Interpretation of Parties’ Contracts Expands Scope of Preference Avoidance

By: Stephanie Hung

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staffer

In In Re Omni Enterprises, an Alaska Bankruptcy Court held that a bank may enforce the security interest of a prior loan that has already been repaid to cure a new loan that is in default. In 2009, a borrower entered into a loan agreement with a bank for $1.3 million. The loan was partly secured by the borrower’s deposit accounts. After the 2009 loan was repaid, the borrower entered into a new loan agreement with the same bank for $2.6 million. The new loan was secured by, among other things, the borrower’s equipment, furnishings, and fixtures, but did not explicitly include the deposit accounts. In 2015, the borrower defaulted on the loan and the bank swept the deposit accounts, causing the borrower to file for chapter 7 under the Bankruptcy Code. According to the bank, it continued to have a lien on the deposit accounts notwithstanding the repayment of the 2009 loan. The borrower’s trustee then filed suit in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Alaska. The Court ultimately agreed with the bank’s interpretation of the loan agreements, and held that the sweeping of the deposit accounts was permissible.

Creditor’s Failure to File a Proof of Claim Inexcusable Where Potential Danger of Prejudice to Debtor Exists

By: Meghan Lombardo

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staffer

In In re LMM Sports Management, the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court’s order disallowing a proof of claim that was filed after the deadline to file claims against the debtor (the “Bar Date”). Appellant Warner Angle Hallam Jackson & Formancek, P.L.C. (“Warner Angle”) filed proofs of claim against the debtor, LMM Sports Management (“LMM” or the “Debtor”), for legal services it provided to LLM in connection with a prior state court case against Your Source Pacific Fund I, LLP (“Your Source”). In the state court case, Your Source obtained a $2.4 million judgment against LLM, causing LLM to file for protection under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. The bankruptcy court approved a settlement of $1.5 million between Your Source and LMM (represented by new counsel) in full satisfaction of Your Source’s judgment over Warner Angle’s objection. Warner Angle filed its objection to the Debtor’s settlement motion on February 17, 2015, two months after the bar date. One day later, Warner Angle belatedly filed the proofs of claim. The Debtor objected to the proofs of claim arguing they should be disallowed as untimely. Warner Angle then filed a cross-motion requesting that the proofs be treated as timely because the late filing was the result of excusable neglect. The bankruptcy court rejected Warner Angle’s excusable neglect argument and denied its reconsideration motion. Warner Angle appealed.

Public Policy Necessitates Penetration of § 363’s Liability Shield

By: Julie Lavoie

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staffer

In In re Motors Liquidation Co., the Second Circuit reversed the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York’s holding that the “free and clear” provision in the sale order barred plaintiff’s claims against New GM arising out of ignition switch defects. The Second Circuit acknowledged that the bankruptcy court was correct in concluding that even though the cars were not recalled for ignition switch defects until 2014, five years after the § 363 sale, there was ample evidence that Old GM knew or should have known about the ignition switch defect prior to bankruptcy. Therefore, due process dictates that claimants were entitled to notice of the sale by direct mail or an equivalent means. Unlike the bankruptcy court, the Second Circuit found that ignition switch claimants were prejudiced by this lack of notice. The Second Circuit could not confidently say that, given the circumstances, the outcome of the § 363 sale motion would have been the same if the claimants were notified and thus afforded the opportunity to be heard and partake in the negotiation.

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