BCLP Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments

Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments

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Part III: Supplier considerations: Assessing and leveraging your leverage

As most global markets attempt a return to normal (or a new form of normal) business, it is hard to imagine a sector or an industry that isn’t already reeling from the effects of the past three months. Getting back on your feet is hard enough in the current environment, without having to worry about further setbacks impacting your business. But how would you react if your key supplier called tomorrow to let you know that they were insolvent and unable to provide you with goods or services? Worse, what if you had already placed (and paid for) a large order with them that was critical to your ability to continue business?

In addition to the customer risk mitigation measures we looked at in Part II of this series, management needs to have in place systems and options to avoid the impact of supply-chain risk. Continuously monitoring your supply chain is

Managing Counter-Party Risk in the Pandemic

Part II: Customer Considerations: Risk Mitigation = Smarter Sales

In the coming months, very few companies, whether public or private, will be able to avoid including statements in their quarterly reports or financials that attribute single or double digit percentage declines in revenue to doubtful accounts and insolvencies of major customers caused by the pandemic. For many, if not most, that disclosure will continue beyond Q4 of 2020 and through 2021.

In prior periods, lenders and other key stakeholders may have been tolerant to these one-off, non-systematic declines due to unanticipated insolvencies of customers (and the ability to replace the revenue/income either through liquidation of collateral or replacement of customers). After all, none of us have a crystal ball, and many of the insolvencies were unforeseen (or unexpected). To the extent they had it, lenders and other creditors didn’t have to worry about being able to liquidate collateral – a market

Managing Counter-Party Risk in the Pandemic

Part I: Getting on the Same Page

Globally, boards and management teams are taking stock of current operations and finances to identify vulnerabilities to the unprecedented distress that markets are anticipating from the pandemic for the next 12-18 months.  As part of those discussions, many retail businesses (and those with operations related to retail, like landlords, logistic companies, shipping interests, etc.) are focusing on receivables and risk weighting as to the collectability and the follow-on impact of doubtful accounts.

These conversations will inevitably lead to the age-old conflict that pins finance and legal functions – that are largely focused on risk – against business/sales functions, which are generally focused on sales and keeping customers happy.  Pre-pandemic, sales teams historically had a leg up as revenue generation inevitably trumped risk mitigation in the context of strategic decisions.  However, the same behavior and cultures that have been allowed to prevail when there

Bankruptcy Trustees Receive Early Holiday Present – a Circuit Level Win Against Colleges in the Tuition Clawback Cases

 

We here at the Global Restructuring & Insolvency Developments (GRID to our friends) have been following the tuition clawback wars for a few years – the cases in which a bankruptcy trustee sues a college to return tuition that the bankrupt parent paid for  their child when the parent was otherwise stiffing other creditors.  It is a textbook constructively fraudulent transfer because the parent(s) do not receive reasonably equivalent value (or anything, for that matter) for the payment of the kid’s tuition.  Our prior coverage is here and here.  (And for those of you who want to really geek out on this, here’s a video of an entire symposium panel on the topic, from our friends at the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal.)

Anywho, yesterday the First Circuit decided the long-awaited appeal in DeGiacomo v.

SDNY Joins the Rush Party, Rules for Trustee in Another Child Tuition Clawback Case

We at the BCLP Global Insolvency and Restructuring Developments (the GRID) continue to watch and cover the growing jurisprudence of trustees seeking to recover pre-petition tuition payments made by a debtor parent to support his or her child’s college education.  Our prior posts can be found here and here.  And in February, the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal’s annual symposium will have a panel on this topic (contact me or Lynne, below, in a couple months and we will send you our materials).  Well, the party (or hangover??) continues.

Earlier today, Judge Glenn ruled that a debtor parent does not receive reasonably equivalent value, under either the Bankruptcy Code’s fraudulent transfer provisions or New York’s Debtor and Creditor Law, by paying for a adult child’s college tuition.  The opinion is In re Sterman, and if you have not followed this fascinating effort to transfer

From Across the Pond – Dissipation of Assets May be Tort Under English Law: Marex Financial Limited v. Garcia [2017] EWHC918

Editor’s Note from The Bankruptcy Cave:  Our good colleagues Robert Dougans and Tatyana Talyanskaya from BC’s London office published this earlier in the summer, and we could not wait to add it to your autumn reading list.  The lesson here is powerful – England, the birthplace of the common law, comes through again to right an injustice where traditional legal principles might otherwise fall short.  Many of you readers have often dealt with defendants playing a shell game with their assets.  The Marex decision provides a powerful response – an independent tort against the individuals who perpetrated the asset stripping, instead of a pursuing a daisy-chain of subsidiaries and affiliates, all bereft of assets.  We at The Bankruptcy Cave applaud this decision – for every right, there shall be a remedy! 

There is a joke that freezing injunctions are

No Trustee Left Behind – Another Bankruptcy Court Requires Colleges to Return Tuition to the Bankruptcy Estate

b09036864402bfedc690a2f80d6de804Another bankruptcy trustee catches another hapless college unaware.  In Roach v. Skidmore College (In re Dunston), Bankr. S.D. Ga. (Jan 31, 2017), a trustee appears to win the next battle of “bankruptcy estates v. child’s college,” ruling that an insolvent parent who paid the college tuition of an adult child made a fraudulent transfer to the college.  Thus, the unsuspecting college will likely have to return the tuition to the parent’s bankruptcy estate.

The theory is simple (albeit unsettling to some).  Under Section 548 of the Bankruptcy Code (and applicable state law, as a back-up), if any debtor makes a transfer to a third party while insolvent, and does not receive reasonably equivalent value in return, the debtor’s bankruptcy trustee may reclaim such transfer for

Defending A Preference Action – Can You Setoff Post-Petition Amounts Owed by the Debtor Against Your Preference Liability?

September 21, 2016

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All bankruptcy lawyers (and most long-suffering trade creditors) know that creditors who receive payments from a debtor within the “preference period” – 90 days before a voluntary bankruptcy case was filed, or 1 year if the creditor is an “insider” of the debtor – are at risk of lawsuit to return those payments to the bankruptcy estate. Pre-petition claims the creditor hold are no automatic defense.  However, the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware recently ruled, as a matter of first impression in that Court, that an allowed post-petition claim of the creditor can be used to set off the creditor’s preference liability. See Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors of Quantum Foods, LLC v. Tyson Foods, Inc. (In re Quantum Foods, LLC), 2016 WL 4011727 (Bankr. D. Del. Jul. 25, 2016).  Here is a copy of the case.

The background of the case is simple. The

Over Four Hundred Years of Law on Fraudulent Transfers, Flushed Down the Drain

August 15, 2016

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In 1571, Parliament enacted a law, sometimes known as the Statute of 13 Elizabeth, creating one of the greatest means of creditor protection – the proscription of fraudulent transfers.  As Professors Baird and Jackson stated, the law prevents an “Elizabethan deadbeat [from selling] his sheep to his brother for a pittance.”[1]  The law has progressed, covering not just intentional acts to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors, but also “constructively fraudulent transfers” in which a third party who is not in on any con nonetheless gets something from an insolvent debtor for less than reasonably equivalent value.

These are simple, straightforward principles, with which no bankruptcy professional (or really, anyone) could quibble.  You got stuff and you didn’t pay for it, so you need to give it back.  There are some exceptions.  Voiding transfers in the securities industry, for instance, could up-end financial markets.  So Congress added Sections 548(d)(2)(B)

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