By: Christina Kormylo
St. John's Law Student
American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staff
The addition of section 1115 to the Bankruptcy Code by the 2005 BAPCPA amendments created an exception to the “absolute priority rule” for individual Chapter 11 debtors according to the bankruptcy court in In re Tegeder.
In Tegeder, the general unsecured creditor class did not accept the Chapter 11 plan proposed by an individual debtor who was engaged in business, thereby triggering the “cram down” provisions of 11 U.S.C. § 1129(b).
Although all other requirements for plan confirmation under section 1129(a) were met, the U.S. Trustee argued that the debtor, as a holder of interests junior to the dissenting class, could not retain any property pursuant to the absolute priority rule of section 1129(b)(2)(B)(ii).
The absolute priority rule, as amended by BAPCPA, states, “the holder of any claim or interest that is junior to the claims of such class will not receive or retain . . . any property, except that in a case in which the debtor is an individual, the debtor may retain property included in the estate under section 1115.”
Addressing the effect of the cross-reference to section 1115, the Tegeder court held that the absolute priority rule does not prevent a plan’s confirmation where both pre- and post-petition assets are retained by an individual debtor.
The court explained that the 2005 BAPCPA amendment and the addition of section 1115 created an exception to the rule, allowing an individual debtor to retain property included in the estate.