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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 John J. Rapisardi and Joseph Zujkowski
Plan support agreements are often an essential component of a successful complex Chapter 11 reorganization and provide a framework for a debtor’s financial restructuring. These agreements have increasingly been used to induce core groups of major lenders and bondholders to support a debtor’s restructuring in return for enhanced recoveries.
By Thomas R. Slome, Michelle McMahon and Sophia Hepheastou
On Dec. 6, 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation modernizing New York’s 95-year-old fraudulent conveyance law and making it consistent with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the law of at least 44 other states. The Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (UVTA) primarily clarifies the rights and remedies of parties involved in transactions with financially distressed entities.
By Francis J. Lawall and Kenneth A. Listwak
In the day-to-day practice of bankruptcy law, it may occasionally be tempting to dismiss “reservation of rights” language as unnecessary or unimportant — after all, a pragmatically minded court will consider the economic reality of the case before it. Right? Well, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware’s recent ruling in Emerald Capital Advisors v. Victory Park Capital Advisors (In re KII Liquidating) demonstrates the flaws in that way of thinking.
By Zach Shelomith
The advantages of Chapter 11 bankruptcy are oftentimes unavailable to small businesses and its owners. The substantial disclosure and reporting requirements alone scare off many potential debtors. In response to this problem, Congress recently created the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019.