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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit quietly affirmed a bankruptcy court’s dismissal of an involuntary petition because the petitioners’ “claims were the subject of bona fide disputes within the meaning of” Bankruptcy Code (Code) §303(b)(1) (petitioner may not hold claim that is “the subject of a bona fide dispute as to liability or amount”). In re Navient Solutions, LLC, 2023 WL 3487051 (2d Cir. May 17, 2023). More important, the court affirmed “the bankruptcy court’s [reduced] award of a sum of $44,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs” under Code §303(i)(1)(B) to the debtor, “to be paid by [the lawyer for the petitioning creditors].” The court did not dwell on the facts of this litigation, but they have major practical significance. As shown below, an involuntary bankruptcy petition is a limited, risky remedy for both creditors’ counsel and debtor’s counsel. The fee problems encountered by counsel for the petitioners and the putative debtor in this case provide a cautionary tale.
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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.