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Bankruptcy Headlines

Finding a Safe Harbor After the Storm

By: William Accordino

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staffer

In In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (“Lehman”), Judge Shelley C. Chapman of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a complaint filed by Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. (“LBHI”) and Lehman Brothers Special Financing Inc. (“LBSF”) challenging the early termination of forty-four credit default swap agreements.[1] The complaint alleged the subsequent liquidation of the collateral underlying those agreements after the early termination and the distribution of those proceeds violated the Bankruptcy Code (“Code”) despite LBSF’s default.[2] Of the forty-four swap agreements, the court found five contained provisions that “effected an ipso facto modification of LBSF’s rights . . . .”[3] However, the distributions from those transactions were protected by the Code’s safe harbor provision.[4] Judge Chapman found the priority provisions in the other thirty-nine swap agreements did not operate as ipso facto clauses because they did not modify any rights of LBSF.[5] The payment priority for those agreements was not set at any time prior to the termination of the swap, thus no right to payment priority could be modified by a termination.[6] As a result, all nineteen counts of the complaint were dismissed for failure to state a cause of action.[7]

Non-Dischargeability of Foreign Student Loans

By: Andrew Brown

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staffer

Educational loans made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit are not dischargeable in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, unless the debtor obtains a hardship determination.[1] Thus, it is very difficult to discharge student loans through a bankruptcy case. This is true even if the loan is made, insured, or guaranteed by a foreign governmental unit. In the case of In re Mulley, the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California determined that government guaranteed student loans, made pursuant to the Canada Student Loans Act (“CSLA"), were non-dischargeable under the United States Bankruptcy Code.[2]

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