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“[A] secured creditor [has no] affirmative obligation under the automatic stay to return a debtor’s [repossessed] collateral to the bankruptcy estate immediately upon notice of the debtor’s bankruptcy,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held on Oct. 28, 2019. In re Denby-Peterson, 2019 WL 5538570, 1 (3d Cir. Oct. 28, 2019). Affirming the lower courts, the Third Circuit joined “the minority of our sister courts — the Tenth and D.C. Circuits” with its holding. According to the court, it was “[g]uided by the plain language of the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay and turnover provisions, the legislative purpose and policy goals of the automatic stay, and the reasoning of the Supreme Court and our two sister circuits ….” Id. at 13. In sum, because “a secured creditor [need not] return the [repossessed] collateral to the debtor until the debtor obtains a [bankruptcy] court order … requiring the creditor to do so,” it does “not violate the automatic stay” of Bankruptcy Code (Code) §362(a)(3) (creditors stayed from “any act to obtain possession of property of the debtor … or to exercise control over property of the estate.”). Id. at 5-6. The court essentially allowed lenders with statutory defenses to a debtor’s turnover claim to retain possession pending a bankruptcy court order resolving the issue.
By John J. Rapisardi and Joseph Zujkowski
Plan support agreements are often an essential component of a successful complex Chapter 11 reorganization and provide a framework for a debtor’s financial restructuring. These agreements have increasingly been used to induce core groups of major lenders and bondholders to support a debtor’s restructuring in return for enhanced recoveries.
By Thomas R. Slome, Michelle McMahon and Sophia Hepheastou
On Dec. 6, 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation modernizing New York’s 95-year-old fraudulent conveyance law and making it consistent with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the law of at least 44 other states. The Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA) primarily clarifies the rights and remedies of parties involved in transactions with financially distressed entities.
By Francis J. Lawall and Kenneth A. Listwak
In the day-to-day practice of bankruptcy law, it may occasionally be tempting to dismiss “reservation of rights” language as unnecessary or unimportant — after all, a pragmatically minded court will consider the economic reality of the case before it. Right? Well, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware’s recent ruling in Emerald Capital Advisors v. Victory Park Capital Advisors (In re KII Liquidating) demonstrates the flaws in that way of thinking.
By Zach Shelomith
The advantages of Chapter 11 bankruptcy are oftentimes unavailable to small businesses and its owners. The substantial disclosure and reporting requirements alone scare off many potential debtors. In response to this problem, Congress recently created the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019.