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One of the powerful benefits of bankruptcy is the ability to obtain a “fresh” start by obtaining a discharge of most, but not all claims that arose prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. But when does a claim arise? This issue is especially complex when environmental contamination claims are involved. Environmental contamination can exist for years — even decades — before its effect ripens into damage or injury. Courts have developed different tests for determining when environmental claims arise for the purpose of determining whether they are discharged in bankruptcy. The dischargeability of environmental claims was recently addressed in a decision issued by Judge Kevin J. Carey of the U.S, Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in In re Exide Technologies, Case No. 13-11482 (Adv. No. 17-51826) (Bankr. D. Del. March 28, 2019). The court held the claims at issue had been discharged in the Exide bankruptcy case.
By Mark Page
Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC
The question is whether a debtor’s rejection of its agreement granting a license “terminates rights of the licensee that would survive the licensor’s breach under applicable nonbankruptcy law.”
By Theresa A. Driscoll
With increasing frequency, Chapter 7 trustees are looking to insolvent parents as well as colleges and universities to avoid and recover for estate creditors payments made by insolvent debtors for the benefit of the debtors’ dependents. These cases are premised on the theory that the tuition payments being made by insolvent parents for the benefit of their children are avoidable as constructively fraudulent transfers because the parents do not receive reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the payment of such tuition. Courts are divided as to whether the payment of a child’s tuition provides reasonably equivalent value to the insolvent parents.
By Stephanie Lieb and Dana Robbins
In its recent opinion in Taggart v. Lorenzen, the Supreme Court decided that “[a] court may hold a creditor in civil contempt for violating a discharge order if there is no fair ground of doubt as to whether the order barred the creditor’s conduct.” Although this standard appears to be new, it is more than a century old and “brings the old soil” from civil contempt with it.
By Michael L. Cook
A bankruptcy court decision recently detailed how courts applying Bankruptcy Code §303(i) can sanction creditors who “abuse … the power given to [them] … to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition.” The decision shows why the filing of an involuntary bankruptcy requires careful pre-filing legal judgment.