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Courts Override Underlying Contractual Obligations in the Chapter 11 Surrender and Abandon of Aircraft Equipment and Vessels

By: Lisa Strejlau

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staff

In Chapter 11 airline cases, a court will typically balance the interests of debtors and creditors in determining the method, timing and condition of collateral returns and whether or not the parties must comply with the underlying contractual obligations. In In re Republic Airways Holdings, Inc.,[1] the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York held that a debtor is not required to comply with underlying contractual requirements for the return of aircraft and engines as collateral.[2] After filing for Chapter 11, Republic Airways Holdings, Inc. (“Republic”) sought to surrender or abandon certain aircrafts and engines subject to liens of Citibank, pursuant to an agreement to secure Republic’s obligations with respect to a credit and guaranty agreement.[3] Republic moved for an order authorizing them to (i) transfer title to and abandon certain aircrafts and engines and reject a related aircraft lease, and (ii) to fulfill their obligations under a certain engine purchase agreement and directing Citibank to cooperate with the closing of that agreement.[4]

The Eighth Circuit’s Leniency on Discharging Student Loan Debt

By: Maria Casamassa

St. John’s Law Student

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review Staff

Under the Bankruptcy Code, a discharge of student loan debt is not justified “unless excepting such debt from discharge under this paragraph would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor's dependents . . . .”[1] A finding of undue hardship is difficult to establish; accordingly, student loan debt is rarely discharged.[2] However, in In re Fern,[3] the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa applied the totality of the circumstances test and held that the debtor presented sufficient evidence demonstrating that excepting her student loans from discharge would impose an undue hardship on her and her family and, therefore, the debt was dischargeable.[4]

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