Ben Feder

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Energy Future Holdings Make-Whole Ruling Extends Rationale of Important SDNY Decisions to Delaware

Judge Christopher Sontchi issued a notable opinion last week in the bankruptcy case of Energy Future Holdings Corp., et al. (“EFH”), Case No. 14-10979 (D. Del.), ruling that the repayment in full of certain senior secured notes did not trigger an obligation by the debtors to pay a make-whole premium. One important aspect of this … Continue Reading

Is GM Shielded From Ignition Switch Defect Liability? Hearing Highlights Thorny Due Process and Bankruptcy Issues

Judge Robert Gerber will be stepping down at the end of this year, ending a storied judicial career highlighted by his oversight of the 2009 chapter 11 case of General Motors Corporation (“Old GM”). In one of the most frenetic bankruptcy cases of all time, Judge Gerber signed an order (the “Sale Order”) approved the … Continue Reading

Wellness International Oral Argument: Supreme Court Justices Grapple With Implications of Narrowing Bankruptcy Court Powers

There were nearly a million bankruptcy cases filed by individuals and businesses in 2014.  It is safe to say that only the tiniest fraction of such debtors have any familiarity with the Supreme Court’s decision in Stern v. Marshall nearly four years ago.  (If they do, it almost assuredly is only because the case arose … Continue Reading

Energy Future Holdings – Bidding Procedures Fight Highlights Conflicts Among Affiliated Debtors

Energy Future Holdings (EFH), f/k/a TXU Corp., an energy company centered in Texas, was taken private in 2007 in the largest leveraged buyout transaction that has ever taken place.  The deal was largely predicated on an anticipated rise in natural gas prices; when prices instead plummeted the company, which had borrowed nearly $40 billion, was … Continue Reading

Despite Earlier Ruling, Stockton Judge Confirms Plan Leaving Pension Obligations Intact

One month ago, Judge Christopher Klein ruled in the city of Stockton, CA bankruptcy case that public employee pension obligations can be impaired in municipal bankruptcy cases under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Last week, however, Judge Klein approved the plan of adjustment for Stockton that left public pension obligations intact over the vociferous … Continue Reading

Stockton Judge: Pension Obligations Are Not Impervious to Impairment In Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. What Comes Next?

The perception that public employee pension obligations cannot be impaired in bankruptcy suffered a damaging blow several months ago in the City of Detroit bankruptcy case, and has now been fatally wounded by the recent ruling of Judge Christopher Klein in the Chapter 9 case of Stockton, California.  Although Judge Klein’s decision is not likely … Continue Reading

No Easy Road – GM Ignition Switch Litigation Raises Difficult Bankruptcy-Related Questions

General Motors LLC (“New GM”) came into being in the summer of 2009, when it acquired substantially all of the assets of General Motors Corporation (“Old GM”) in a sale undertaken pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The July 2009 Sale Order approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber transferred the assets to … Continue Reading

Still Trying to Close the Stern v. Marshall Can of Worms – The Supreme Court To Grapple Again With Thorny Questions of Bankruptcy Court Jurisdiction

Three years ago, in Stern v. Marshall, a case that arose out of the endless litigation between Anna Nicole Smith and the son of her late husband, the Supreme Court stunned the commercial legal community by reopening what many had believed were long-settled questions regarding the constitutionality of the United States bankruptcy courts.  Although the … Continue Reading

No More Ugly American: Judge Refuses to Allow Madoff Trustee to Pursue Foreign Indirect Investors

Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York last week ruled that the U.S. Bankruptcy Code does not permit a bankruptcy trustee to recover foreign transfers.  Specifically, Judge Rakoff refused to allow Irving Picard, the trustee of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BLMIS”), to recoup monies initially transferred from BLMIS to … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Decides Not to Destroy the Current Bankruptcy Court System

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday, in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkinson, limited somewhat the ramifications of its landmark opinion two years ago in Stern v. Marshall.  The Court in Executive Benefits could have thrown the entire federal bankruptcy court system into disarray by advancing Stern’s hard line view on the limited powers of Article … Continue Reading

None Too Appealing – District Court Turns Aside Free Lance-Star Publishing Credit Bid Lender

A recent ruling in the Chapter 11 case of Free Lance-Star Publishing limited the credit bidding rights of a secured creditor.  The ruling has called into question the ability of the holder of secured debt to utilize such debt to acquire companies on a going concern basis in bankruptcy cases, particularly in instances where the … Continue Reading

Loan to Moan? Judge Limits Right to Credit Bid in Chapter 11 Case of Free Lance-Star Publishing Co.

A few months ago, a ruling in the Chapter 11 case of Fisker Automotive narrowed a secured creditor’s right to credit bid its debt in connection with a sale of the debtor’s assets.  The decision surprised many observers and resurrected uncertainty about a debtor’s ability to limit a secured lender’s credit bidding rights (a dispute … Continue Reading

Sbarro and Quiznos Serve Up Prepackaged “Cramdown” Plans

The chapter 11 filings this month of Sbarro and Quiznos share many similarities.  Both companies are looking to survive in a difficult sector of a tough industry.  Both were forced to seek bankruptcy despite recent successful efforts to reduce debt – an out-of-court restructuring for Quiznos and a 2011 chapter 11 case for Sbarro.  In addition, … Continue Reading

Fisker Automotive Chapter 11 Case: a Two-Headed Stalking Horse and a New Credit Bidding Controversy

Fisker Automotive’s chapter 11 case began in what has become a depressingly familiar fashion – a fast-tracked sale to a secured lender.  However, two rulings by Judge Kevin Gross of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware have made this a fascinating case to follow.  Judge Gross has directed  Fisker to proceed with … Continue Reading

Heard About Detroit? The First Word on Treatment of Public Employee Pension Benefits in Chapter 9 (And Absolutely Not the Last)

Last week’s ruling by Judge Stephen Rhodes finding the City of Detroit eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code has rightly received considerable attention. The determination that Detroit has met the standards under Section 109(c) of the Bankruptcy Code to be a debtor under Chapter 9 was widely expected. The surprising … Continue Reading

Interesting ResCap FactOID – Court Rejects Effort to Disallow Portion of Bond Claims Based on “Original Issue Discount”

In an opinion that will have a significant impact on the viability of debt for debt exchanges and out of court restructurings, Judge Martin Glenn of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has refused in the Chapter 11 case of Residential Capital LLC (“ResCap”) to disallow a portion of the … Continue Reading

Stockton Bankruptcy Settlement Preserves Pensions

The Chapter 9 bankruptcy case of Stockton, California has come to an unexpectedly quick and consensual resolution. The outcome here, which will see the city’s pension obligations maintained, is particularly surprising given the vehement opposition of Stockton’s bond insurers at the outset of the case. The bond insurers, who backstopped approximately $240 million of the … Continue Reading

As Madoff Five Year Anniversary Approaches, Investors Denied Time-Based Damages

Two months from now will bring the five year anniversary of the unraveling of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, one of the bookends, along with the collapse of Lehman Brothers., of the extraordinary Fall of 2008. To date, Trustee Irving Picard has recovered over $9.5 billion through litigation and settlements and distributed over $4.7 billion to former … Continue Reading

Auto-Hauler Allied Systems Holdings’ Car Wreck of a Chapter 11 Case May Finally Be at an End

Many commentators have remarked that a “new normal” has evolved for Chapter 11 proceedings, wherein the major constituents negotiate the salient terms and exit strategy of the debtor’s restructuring prior to the filing of the bankruptcy petition, generally leading to shorter, less litigious cases. This dynamic, often evidenced by a plan support agreement, a proposed sale … Continue Reading
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