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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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Delaware Bankruptcy Court’s Local Rules For 2017 Now Effective

The Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware’s Local Rules for 2017 went effective today, February 1, 2017.  A copy of the 2017 Local Rules can be found here and a redline of the 2017 Local Rules against the 2016 Local Rules can be found here.

This year, the Court is clearly emphasizing cross-border bankruptcy cases.  Not only have the Local Rules been revised where appropriate to incorporate references to “chapter 15 cases” and “foreign representative(s)”, the Court has also fashioned a new rule—Local Rule 9029-2, setting forth the “Guidelines for Communication and Cooperation Between Courts in Cross-Border Insolvency Matters” (the “Guidelines”).  The Guidelines encompass new Part X of the Local Rules and represent the Court’s “best practices” for chapter 15 cases.  The parties are encouraged, but not required, to submit a protocol to the Court consistent with the Guidelines for its review and consideration at the outset of the cross-border case.  The Guidelines describe, among other things, procedural communications for the Court and the foreign court, efficiency in administration of the cross-border case, substantive communications between the courts, Court-orders for appearance in foreign proceedings, and procedures for joint hearings (set forth in “Annex A”).  If you are considering a cross-border representation (or involved in a chapter 15 case), it is advised to give Part X and “Annex A” a thorough review. Read More ›

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Tackles Challenges to Email Privacy

In re Irish Bank Resolution Corp. (In Special Liquidation), 559 B.R. 627 (Bankr. D. Del. 2016)

Late last year, the foreign representatives (the “Foreign Representatives”) of chapter 15 debtor Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (“IBRC”) were forced to get creative after their more traditional efforts to obtain discovery from a Yahoo! email account failed.  In connection with IBRC’s liquidation, significant international litigation is on-going related to the repayment evasion of billions in loans advanced by IBRC to companies owned or controlled by the Quinn Family.  In the course of that litigation, the Foreign Representatives discovered various email accounts believed to be connected to the Quinn Family and their attempts to conceal assets, including a Yahoo! email account maintained by a mysterious “Abdulla Rasimov” (the “Rasimov Account”).  The whereabouts of Mr. Rasimov are unknown, service of process has gone unacknowledged, and the Rasimov Account was closed during the proceedings described herein.  Accordingly, when their attempts to obtain the contents of the Rasimov Account through a Bankruptcy Rule 2004 order and an order to compel failed, the Foreign Representatives obtained from the Delaware Bankruptcy Court an order making them the “subscriber” of the account (the “Subscriber Order”).  With the Subscriber Order in hand, the Foreign Representatives then sought turnover of the account’s contents under sections 542(a) and 542(e) of the Bankruptcy Code from Yahoo! Inc. (“Yahoo”).  A maneuver Yahoo opposed. Read More ›

Committee Professionals’ Carve-Out in DIP Financing Order Not Per Se Limit on Fees

In re Molycorp, Inc., No. 15-11357(CSS), 2017 WL 56703 (Bankr. D. Del. Jan. 5, 2017)

In this Opinion, Judge Sontchi found, among other things, that an unambiguous carve-out provision of a debtor-in-possession financing order (the “DIP Financing Order”) did not cap the professional fees and expenses of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the “Committee”) given that a plan of reorganization was confirmed.  Moreover, because the Committee’s professional did not agree to different treatment, its fees and expenses were administrative expenses that must be paid in full. Read More ›

Lack of “Scientific Certainty” Does Not Excuse Late Filing of a Proof of Claim

In re W.R. Grace & Co., No. 01-1139 (KG) (Bankr. D. Del. Dec. 28, 2016)

In this Opinion involving the standards for determining whether a party held an asbestos claim and excusable neglect for filing a late claim, the Court rejected Plum Creek Timber Co.’s (the “Claimant”) argument that it lacked “scientific certainty” with respect to its asbestos-related claim against W.R. Grace & Co. (together with its affiliated debtors, the “Debtors”).  Where the Claimant received actual and publication notice of the bar date in the case, the Court found the Claimant should have timely filed its claim even if it was contingent at the time of filing.  The Court also held that the Claimant did not satisfy the standards for excusable neglect and, as a result, granted the Debtors’ motion to enforce the discharge and injunction. 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 ›

Satisfaction of a Prepetition Loan by a DIP Loan Does Not Extinguish Vendor’s Reclamation Rights Under Section 546(c)

In re Reichhold Holdings US, Inc., No. 14-12237 (MFW), 2016 WL 4479286 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 24, 2016)

In this Memorandum Opinion, the Court overruled a limited reclamation claims objection asserted by a liquidating trustee, who argued that a creditor’s reclamation rights were cut-off by a postpetition loan that refinanced a prior perfected prepetition loan.  In doing so, the Court sided with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and rejected a line of cases from the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. 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 ›

Pac Sun Class Representative Denied Permission to File Class Proof of Claim on Behalf of Priority Claimants

In re Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc., No. 16-10882 (LSS) (Bankr. D. Del. June 22, 2016 and Aug. 8, 2016)

In the first of two related Opinions, Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein granted claimant Tamaree Beeney permission to file a class proof of claim for alleged violations of California wage and hour laws under California’s Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”), but limited her representative role to absent class members who hold non-priority general unsecured claims.  In the second Opinion, the Court denied reconsideration of Her Honor’s ruling and further disallowed another claimant from representing the priority class in Ms. Beeney’s absence. Read More ›

Insider’s Scoop: Judge Sontchi’s Decision to Confirm Horsehead’s Plan Was One of His Honor’s Most Difficult and Closest Calls in Ten Years on the Bench

In re Horsehead Holding Corp., No. 16-10287 (CSS) (Bankr. D. Del. Sept. 2, 2016) [Transcript Ruling]

Following a three day confirmation trial, which attracted scores of shareholders and running commentary via live tweets from the courtroom, Judge Sontchi confirmed the second amended plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) proposed by Horsehead Holding Corp. and its affiliated debtors (“Horsehead”) over the objection of the official committee of equity holders (the “Equity Committee”), holding that the Plan was proposed in good faith and satisfied the absolute priority rule.  His Honor described the decision as one of the most difficult and closest calls that he has had to make during his time on the bench. Read More ›

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Holds Section 546(e) Safe Harbor Does Not Bar a Litigation Trust, as a Creditor-Assignee, From Asserting State Law Constructive Fraudulent Transfer Claims

PAH Litig. Trust v. Water Street Healthcare Partners, L.P. (In re Physiotherapy Holdings, Inc.), No. 15-51238 (KG), 2016 WL 3611831 (Bankr. D. Del. June 20, 2016)

In rendering this Opinion and permitting a post-confirmation trust to pursue state law constructive fraudulent transfer claims against two former shareholders of debtor Physiotherapy Holdings, Inc. (“Physiotherapy”), the Honorable Kevin Gross of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court eschewed the recent holding of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that section 546(e) of the Bankruptcy Code preempts not only state law fraudulent transfer claims brought by trustees in bankruptcy, but also those brought by creditors. Read More ›