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Bankruptcy Civil Procedure Litigation United States Supreme Court

SCOTUS Recap: What Lies Ahead for the Lower Courts’ Tests for “Non-Statutory Insiders”

Ultimately, Village at Lakeridge is noteworthy for what the Supreme Court did not decide. In granting certiorari, the Supreme Court declined to address whether the lower courts’ various “non-statutory insider” tests should be refined. As concurrences from Justices Sotomayor and Kennedy emphasized, though, that issue is ripe for increased scrutiny.

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In U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Village at Lakeridge, LLC, 200 L.Ed.2d 218 (U.S. 2018), the U.S. Supreme Court laid out the standard of review for appellate courts to apply when reviewing a bankruptcy court’s determination of a “mixed question” of law and fact. No doubt the decision provides valuable guidance for the lower courts and practitioners, but resolution of this technical procedural issue has garnered little excitement: as one commentator put it, the majority opinion authored by Justice Kagan represents “the smallest change in the law of any opinion the Supreme Court hand[ed] down this year.” Ronald Mann, Opinion Analysis: Justices Approve Deferential Review of Bankruptcy-Court Determinations on “Insider” Status, SCOTUSblog (Mar. 5, 2018, 4:34 PM).

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