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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.
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By J. Eric Wise
Among the risks of cryptocurrency exchanges are bankruptcy risk and fraud, including: the inalienability of account claims, holding an unsecured claim versus an entitlement to the return of coin, and bankruptcy preference risk.
By Lawrence J. Kotler and Drew S. McGehrin
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York summed up the importance of the determination as to when a bankruptcy case is actually filed of record, thereby triggering the imposition of the automatic stay and found that the “upload” time of a bankruptcy filing — and not the time physically “stamped” on a bankruptcy petition — determines when a case is commenced. In doing so, the Bankruptcy Court offered direction and guidelines that debtors and creditors will be well advised to observe in future cases.
By Avalon Zoppo
A sharply divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling shielding a nondebtor in bankruptcy proceedings from asbestos lawsuits underscores the wider and growing divide among judges across the country on the bounds of Chapter 11 protection and corporations’ use of the “Texas two-step” to address mass tort litigation.
By Francis J. Lawall and Brenden S. Dahrouge
Chapter 11 cases involving mass tort and complex personal injury claims often require the resolution of novel legal issues that stretch the bounds of existing precedent. As these cases evolve, they can also impact claims against other debtors unrelated to the case at hand through court-approved injunctions, releases or settlements.