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In Part Two, we continue the analysis by evaluating two constitutional issues arising from third-party releases: whether creditor consent to be bound by a third-party release is required to satisfy the due process clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments; and whether bankruptcy courts have constitutional authority to issue final orders granting third-party releases in a plan of reorganization under Stern v. Marshall.
In the April 2023 issue, we published Part One of this article examining the role of third-party releases in successful Chapter 11 reorganizations. That article evaluated whether and to what extent third-party releases are permissible to release nondebtors from liabilities that are intertwined with the debtor’s liabilities. That analysis revealed an important circuit split in which the majority of circuits allow third-party releases in limited circumstances based on factual findings supporting a different multi-factor analysis in each jurisdiction. However, a minority of courts — specifically, the Fifth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits — disallow nonconsensual third-party releases entirely. We noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on this issue, and suggested that either the Supreme Court or the U.S. Congress should intervene to resolve the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the use of third-party releases as a tool for resolving complex Chapter 11 restructurings.
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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.