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“… [P]ayments owed to a shareholder by a bankrupt debtor, which are not quite dividends but which certainly look a lot like dividends, should be treated like the equity interests of a shareholder and subordinated to claims by creditors of the debtor,” held the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Sept. 3, 2019. In re Linn Energy, LLC, 2019 WL 4149481 (5th Cir. Sept. 3, 2019). According to the court, subordination of a purported creditor’s claims “was appropriate” when “deemed dividends gave the [creditor] benefits normally reserved for equity investors.” Affirming the lower courts, the Fifth Circuit found the creditor-shareholder’s claim to be for “damages” involving “securities,” “aris[ing] from” a “purchase or sale,” and having a “nexus with those securities.” Because the estate had “limited assets,” the “subordination order effectively gutted the [creditor-shareholder’s] chances to receive any money.” Id. at 2.
By Peter Janovsky
A debtor’s goal in a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is to confirm a “plan of reorganization.” Creditors usually have the right to vote for or against a plan, and in some cases, a plan can be confirmed over the objection of one or more classes of creditors. This is called a “cram-down.” The Bankruptcy Code’s rules governing cram-down are complex and differ for secured and unsecured classes of creditors. This article shows how bankruptcy courts have ruled on a particular method of cram-down known as a “dirt-for-debt” plan.
By Aaron R. Cahn
Any Cannabis-Related Business or Any Business In a Relationship With One Will Likely Find Itself Barred from the Door of the Federal Bankruptcy Courts
The ability to file a federal bankruptcy case is an important resource for struggling businesses. It is particularly important to start-up businesses in an emerging field, such as the production and marketing of cannabis-related products. It is precisely this resource, however, that is currently being denied to cannabis-related businesses.
By Mark D. Silverschotz
The new decision is significant because lawsuits against former (and current) officers and directors of debtors commonly are brought, as here, by trusts established under plans of reorganization. Because insurance policies often are the only viable source of recovery for the claims asserted in such lawsuits, this decision potentially opens a pathway to creditor recovery in other similar matters.
By Chris Updike and Joseph Zujkowski
Faster, Shorter, Smarter, Better
Among other trends, practitioners are increasingly using pre-packaged and pre-negotiated cases, drafting clearer and more concise pleadings, employing smarter deposit management practices, and harnessing improved technology — strategies for a new era of bankruptcy.