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The Delaware Bankruptcy Insider is a premier blog designed to bring its readers a comprehensive analysis of the latest Delaware corporate bankruptcy news and rulings.  Brought to you by Ashby & Geddes, P.A.

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Showing 25 posts recarding Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Third Circuit Holds That Layoffs Must Be Probable (Not Just Possible) for WARN Act Liability

Varela v. AE Liquidation, Inc. (f/k/a Eclipse Aviation Corp.) (In re AE Liquidation, Inc.), No. 16-2203, 2017 WL 3319963 (3d Cir. Aug. 4, 2017)

As we have discussed prior, under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employers may be liable if they do not give fair warning to their employees before a mass layoff.  Liability can be avoided if, among other things, the “mass layoff is caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time that notice would have been required.”  20 C.F.R. § 2102(b)(2)(A).  The question for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in this appeal was what makes a business circumstance “reasonably foreseeable.”  Does an event need to be “probable” (i.e. more likely than not) or simply “possible”?  Every Circuit Court deciding the issue as well as the Delaware District Court and the Delaware Bankruptcy Court have adopted the probability standard, and by this Opinion, the Third Circuit joined the club.  In doing so, the Court noted that the probability standard strikes the appropriate balance of the WARN Act’s employee protections and employer burdens and also highlighted a concerning result if the lower threshold “possibility” test was adopted.  More specifically, because it is quite possible that a company in financial distress will close or effect a layoff, every company in or near bankruptcy would be forced to send a WARN notice to their employees that is not only costly, but also likely to cause panic and accelerate their own demise.  As explained by the Court, the WARN Act was not meant to impose such a burden on an employer and thus, “a layoff becomes reasonably foreseeable only when it becomes more likely than not that it will occur.”  Op. at *11. Read More ›

Decisions by Third Circuit and Delaware Bankruptcy Court Clarify that “Receipt” under Section 503(b)(9) Requires Physical Possession

Haining Wansheng Sofa Co., Ltd. v. World Imports Ltd. (In re World Imports, Ltd. et al.), No. 16-1357, 2017 WL 2925429 (3d Cir. Mar. 8, 2017) and In re SRC Liquidation, LLC, No. 15-10541 (BLS), 2017 WL 2992718 (Bankr. D. Del. July 13, 2017)

In two recent Opinions, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Delaware Bankruptcy Court clarified that the word “received” in section 503(b)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code requires a showing that goods were delivered into the physical possession of a debtor or its agent within the 20 days before a debtor’s petition date (the “20-Day Period”).  Under the Third Circuit’s holding in Haining Wansheng Sofa Co., Ltd. v. World Imports Ltd. (In re World Imports, Ltd. et al.) and the Bankruptcy Court’s holding in In re SRC Liquidation, LLC, neither receipt of goods by a common carrier nor receipt by a debtor’s customer as the result of a drop shipment within the 20-Day Period satisfy the standard required to render a claim eligible for administrative priority.   The decisions reinforce courts’ strict construction of section 503(b)(9). Read More ›

Applying New York Law, Third Circuit Holds That Acceleration Clauses Do Not Negate Make-Whole Redemption Provisions Absent Clear Contractual Language

Delaware Trust Co. v. Energy Future Intermediate Holding Co. (In re Energy Future Holdings Corp.), 842 F.3d 247 (3d Cir. 2016)

Disagreeing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in this Opinion that New York law requires the Energy Future debtors (“EFIH”) to pay redemption premiums (or a “make-whole”) to their first and second lien noteholders under the terms of governing indentures.  In doing so, the Court reversed the district court decision affirming the Delaware Bankruptcy Court’s ruling (discussed here) that the make-whole payments were not due. Read More ›

Commencing an Involuntary Just Got Riskier – Petitioning Creditors May Face State Law Damages in Addition to Those Under Bankruptcy Code Section 303(i)

Rosenberg v. DVI Receivables XVII, LLC, No. 15-2622, 2016 WL 4501675 (3d Cir. Aug. 29, 2016) 

In this federal preemption Opinion, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that section 303(i) of the Bankruptcy Code does not preempt state law claims by non-debtors for damages based on the filing of an involuntary bankruptcy petition.  The Court did not, however, opine on whether section 303(i) preempts state law claims brought by debtors. Read More ›

Plan Confirmation Principles Not Categorically Applied in the Settlement Context

In re Energy Future Holdings, Corp., No. 15-1591, 2016 WL 2343322 (3d Cir. May 4, 2016)

The Third Circuit recently determined that a settlement in the form of a tender offer did not violate the Bankruptcy Code and was within the Bankruptcy Court’s discretion to approve.  In its ruling, the Court examined whether principles applicable to a plan of reorganization, such as the “equal treatment” rule embodied in 11 U.S.C. § 1123(a)(4), must be categorically applied in the settlement context, and found there is no such requirement.  Nonetheless, the Court affirmed the lower courts’ ruling on the grounds that the settlement in this case provided equal treatment to creditors. Read More ›

Third Circuit Holds that Minimum Threshold under Section 547(c)(9) Requires Transfer-by-Transfer Analysis

Slobodian v. U.S. Internal Revenue Serv. (In re Net Pay Solutions, Inc.), No. 15-2833, 2016 WL 2731676 (3d. Cir. May 10, 2016)

In this precedential Opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (the “Third Circuit”) addressed whether multiple transfers may be aggregated for purposes of meeting the statutory minimum under section 547(c)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Court affirmed the ruling of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (the “District Court”) that they may not be aggregated where the transfers are for the benefit of different creditors on distinct debts. The Court also addressed whether employee withholding taxes paid to the IRS by a payroll management company on behalf of an employer are immune from avoidance as “trust fund” taxes under 28 U.S.C. §7501(a), and held that they are. Read More ›

Third Circuit Affirms Debtors’ Right to Reject Expired Collective Bargaining Agreement Under Section 1113

In re Trump Entm’t Resorts, Unite Here Local 54, Appellant, No. 14-4807, 2016 WL 191926 (3d. Cir. Jan. 15, 2016), aff’g In re Trump Entm’t Resorts, Inc., 519 B.R. 76 (Bankr. D. Del. 2014)

On direct appeal, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a Delaware Bankruptcy Court ruling (see previous post here) that debtors’ powers under section 1113 of the Bankruptcy Code to reject a collective bargaining agreement remain in effect even if the agreement has expired. Read More ›

Third Circuit Holds That Bad Faith Determined by the Totality of the Circumstances Provides an Independent Basis for Dismissing an Involuntary Petition

In re Forever Green Athletic Fields, Inc., No. 14-3906, 2015 WL 6080665 (3d Cir. Oct. 16, 2015)

Despite no dispute that the petitioning creditors satisfied the statutory requirements for commencing an involuntary chapter 7 proceeding under section 303(b)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code and that the putative debtor was not paying its debts as they came due, this precedential Opinion of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals adopted the “totality of the circumstances” standard for determining bad faith under section 303 and affirmed the decisions of the lower courts that dismissed the proceeding as a bad faith filing. Read More ›

Third Circuit Takes Rare Opportunity to Explore the Four Factors Balanced When Ruling on a Stay Pending Appeal Request

In re Revel AC, Inc., No. 15-1253, 2015 WL 5711358 (3d Cir. Sept. 30, 2015)

Although seemingly clear cut and established under controlling law, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently took the opportunity it is so seldom given to focus on how to balance the four factors that determine whether to grant a stay pending appeal under Bankruptcy Rule 8007.  See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 8007.  As a reminder to our readers, the four factors relevant to a stay pending appeal analysis are:  (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.  Following an in-depth examination into these factors and the case precedent addressing their balancing, the Court set forth the following principles: Read More ›

Third Circuit Allows 363 Purchaser’s Funds to Bypass IRS and Satisfy Certain Administrative and General Unsecured Claims

In re ICL Holding Company, Inc., No. 14-2709, 2015 WL 5315604 (3d Cir. Sept. 14, 2015), aff’g sub nom United States v. LCI Holding Co., Inc., Nos. 13-924 (SLR), 13-1188 (SLR), 2014 WL 975145 (D. Del. March 10, 2014)

As discussed by the Delaware Bankruptcy Insider in March of last year, in ruling on a motion for stay the Delaware District Court determined that the Delaware Bankruptcy Court did not err when it approved a sale of substantially all of the assets of LCI Holding Company, Inc. and its affiliated debtors (the “Debtors”) and a settlement between the purchaser (the Debtors’ prepetition senior lender), the official committee of unsecured creditors, and the Debtors that (a) provided for the creation of an escrow from non-estate purchaser funds to, among other things, satisfy certain fees and expenses of professionals and certain expenses expected to be incurred by the Debtors in connection with their wind down and provide a distribution to allowed general unsecured claims and noteholder claims and (b) excluded the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) from those creditors entitled to share in the escrowed funds.  The IRS, which asserted an administrative claim for tax liability resulting from the sale, appealed the approval of the sale and settlement to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals asserting that the sale and settlement violated the absolute priority rule by favoring creditors with an equal or lesser priority under the Bankruptcy Code’s distribution scheme.    Read More ›