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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 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 ›

Unredeemed Gift Cards are Not Entitled to Priority Status Under Bankruptcy Code 507(a)(7)

In re City Sports, Inc., No. 15-12054 (KG), 2016 WL 4190090 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 4, 2016)

In what the Bankruptcy Court deemed a purely academic issue given the circumstances of the City Sports bankruptcy cases, Judge Gross held that unredeemed gift cards are not entitled to priority status, and instead, are properly classified as general unsecured claims.  In so doing, Judge Gross rejected and disagreed with a previous holding of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court wherein the court found that gift cards fall under the definition of “deposit” and accorded them priority status under the Bankruptcy Code.  See In re WW Warehouse, Inc., 313 B.R. 588, 592 (Bankr. D. Del. 2004) (Rosenthal, J.).  This lengthy Opinion dissects the plain meaning of Bankruptcy Code section 507(a)(7) and related case law before delving into the legislative history for further support. Read More ›

Stock-Based Compensation “Fits Squarely Within” the Bankruptcy Code’s Definition of “Equity Security”

GSE Envtl., Inc. v. Sorrentino (In re GSE Envtl., Inc.), No. 16-50377 (MFW), 2016 WL 3963978 (Bankr. D. Del. July 18, 2016)

In this Opinion, Judge Walrath ruled that stock-based compensation owed to the former chief executive officer (the “Defendant”) of GSE Environmental, Inc. and GSE Holding, Inc. (the “Debtors”) under his employment agreement constitutes an “equity security”, as that term is defined under the Bankruptcy Code.  See Op. at *5; 11 U.S.C. § 101(16). Read More ›

Set Off of Administrative Claim Against Preference Liability is Permissible and Not a “Disguised New Value Defense”

Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors of Quantum Foods, LLC v. Tyson Foods, Inc. (In re Quantum Foods, LLC), No. 15-50254 (KJC), 2016 WL 4011727 (Bankr. D. Del. July 25, 2016)

In this Opinion, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court addressed a question that remained in the wake of the Third Circuit’s Opinion in Friedman’s: although post-petition goods and services may not be counted as subsequent new value under section 547(c)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code, may they still be used to offset alleged preference liability?  See Friedman’s Liquidating Tr. v. Roth Staffing Co., LP (In re Friedman’s Inc.), 738 F.3d 547 (3d Cir. 2013).  In answering this question of first impression, the Court ruled that they may.  In its holding, the Court also confirmed earlier rulings that section 502(d) may not be used to disallow administrative claims. Read More ›

Bankruptcy Court Sidesteps Corporate Governance Issue, Deciding Motion to Dismiss Chapter 11 Cases on Other Grounds

In re Intervention Energy Holdings, LLC, No. 16-11247 (KJC), 2016 WL 3185576 (Bankr. D. Del. June 3, 2016)

In this Opinion, Judge Kevin J. Carey denies a secured creditor and common member’s motion to dismiss the Chapter 11 cases of two Delaware limited liability companies for lack of corporate authority, siding with other federal courts that have “consistently refused to enforce waivers of federal bankruptcy rights.”  Op. at *10.  In doing so, the Court declines “the parties’ invitation to decide what may well be a question of first impression of state law (i.e., determining the scope of LLC members’ freedom to contract under applicable state law provisions) when an alternate ground for decision is present.”  Id. at *6. Read More ›

Delaware District Court’s Amended Local Rules Become Effective August 1, 2016

On August 1, 2016, the newly amended Local Rules of Civil Practice and Procedure of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware will go into effect.  Of particular importance to bankruptcy practitioners, the Delaware District Court has made it clear through the local rule amendments that bankruptcy appeals are not subject to Local Rules 7.1.2 (setting forth, among other things, the timetable for motion practice), 7.1.3 (prescribing the form and contents of briefing and appendices filed with the Delaware District Court), 7.1.4 (governing oral argument), and 7.1.5 (governing reargument requests). Read More ›

Court Dismisses Involuntary Chapter 11 Case on Findings of Bad Faith and Failure to Meet Standards under Section 303

In re Metrogate, LLC, No. 15-12593 (KJC), 2016 WL 3150177 (Bankr. D. Del. May 26, 2016), (with note regarding In re Diamondhead Casino Corp., No. 15-11647 (LSS), 2016 WL 3284674 (Bankr. D. Del. June 7, 2016))

In this Opinion, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court dismissed an involuntary chapter 11 case against Metrogate, LLC f/k/a Advance Realty Group, LLC (“Metrogate”) on findings that it failed to meet the standards under section 303 of the Bankruptcy Code and was filed in bad faith.  Judge Kevin J. Carey’s ruling clarified statutory requirements under section 303 and confirmed bad faith as an independent ground for dismissal of involuntary cases under the Third Circuit’s holding in In re Forever Green Ath. Fields, Inc., 804 F.3d 328 (3d Cir. 2015). Read More ›

UPDATE – Insider’s Scoop: Recently Appointed Equity Committee’s Professional Fees Preliminarily Capped by Bankruptcy Court

In re Horsehead Corp., No. 16-10287 (Bankr. D. Del. June 20, 2016) (CSS) [Transcript Ruling]

In the Horsehead family of cases, Judge Sontchi ruled, in the context of considering the equity committee professionals’ retention applications, that a preliminary reasonable global cap of $1.75 million on the equity committee’s professional fees was warranted.  See generally Hr’g Tr. 24:17-29:17.  Our previous blog post analyzing the appointment of the equity committee in these cases can be found here.  The Court had stated at a telephonic discovery conference held just a few days prior that it had “serious concerns that the equity committee is overstepping its charge.” 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 ›

“One Nortel” Inches Closer to Final Adjudication of the Allocation Decision—Direct Certification to the Third Circuit Granted

In re Nortel Networks Inc., No. 15-624 (LPS), 2016 WL 2899225 (D. Del. May 17, 2016)

After the Court of Appeal for Ontario denied any further appeal to the Allocation Decision in the Canadian proceeding as a “barrier to progress”, the Delaware District Court, acting sua sponte, directed the parties to submit letter briefs on the issue of whether the District Court should grant direct certification to the Third Circuit.  Having both the benefit of the Ontario Court’s denial of further appeals, and the appeals themselves, Chief Judge Stark granted certification of an appeal of the Allocation Decision to the Third Circuit because the case involves a matter of public importance and certification will materially advance the case. Read More ›