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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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Karen B. Skomorucha Owens, Esq.
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kowens@ashbygeddes.com

Ashby & Geddes, P.A.
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Practice Pointers – When Faced With A Dispute Over a Court Order, Seek Court Intervention Sooner Rather Than Later or Face Civil Contempt Sanctions

In re Washington Mutual, Inc., No. 08-12229 (MFW), 2018 WL 704361 (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 2, 2018)

In this Opinion, Judge Walrath of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court imposed sanctions against the Washington Mutual Liquidating Trust (the “Liquidating Trust”) for its failure to comply with the Court’s final fee order (“Final Fee Order”) that awarded, among other things, a contingency fee (the “Contingency Fee”) to Grant Thornton, LLP (“Grant Thornton”) in connection with certain tax related work it provided postpetition to the Liquidating Trust.

Prepetition, Washington Mutual engaged Grant Thornton to develop a theory to challenge the constitutionality of… Read More

Anti-Assignment Clauses Enforced to Void and Nullify Claims Purchases

In re Woodbridge Group of Cos., LLC, No. 17-12560 (KJC), 2018 WL 3131127 (Bankr. D. Del. June 20, 2018)

Prior to the commencement of the Woodbridge chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, one of the many debtors (“Woodbridge”) issued three promissory notes, each containing an anti-assignment clause.  The clause prohibited the lenders from assigning the notes, the related loan agreements, and any other instruments executed in connection therewith absent the written consent of Woodbridge.  If a non-consensual assignment was attempted, the provision provided that the assignment would be null and void.  Similar language existed in the related loan agreements… Read More

Practice Pointers: Bankruptcy Court Lacks Authority to Transfer Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 and A Post-Petition Action Satisfies “Is Commenced” Element for Purposes of Mandatory Abstention

Troisio v. Erickson (In re IMMC Corp.), No. 15-1043 (GMS), 2018 WL 259941 (D. Del. Jan. 2, 2018)

In this Opinion from the Delaware District Court, Judge Sleet affirmed the Bankruptcy Court’s decision denying a liquidating trustee’s motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1631 to transfer an adversary proceeding to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Relying on plain statutory language, the District Court found that the Bankruptcy Court lacked transfer authority under 28 U.S.C. § 1631 – which limits transfer power to only the courts listed in section 610 – because… Read More

Bankruptcy Court Determines Issue of First Impression – Holds That Recovery Under Section 550 is Not Capped by The Amount of Creditor Claims

PAH Litigation Trust v. Water Street Healthcare Partners, L.P. (In re Physiotherapy Holdings, Inc.), Adv. Proc. No. 15-51238 (KG), 2017 WL 5054308 (Bankr. D. Del. Nov. 1, 2017)

On cross-motions for partial summary judgment, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court was confronted with a complex issue of first impression in the Third Circuit – whether damages in a fraudulent transfer action are capped to permit creditors to receive only the amount of their claims. Competing interests made the decision difficult.  On the one hand, there are numerous decisions outside of the Third Circuit holding that there is no cap… Read More

Judge Silverstein Tosses Bad Faith Filing in Rent-A-Wreck of America But Doesn’t Award Sanctions – Finds That a Filing to Employ the Powers of the Code is Alone Insufficient to Support Good Faith

In re Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc., 580 B.R. 364 (Bankr. D. Del. 2018)

In this February 13, 2018 Opinion, Judge Silverstein of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court dismissed the voluntary chapter 11 proceedings filed by Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc. (“RAWA”) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Bundy American, LLC (“Bundy”, and together with RAWA, the “Debtors”).  Judge Silverstein found that the Debtors did not file their petitions in good faith as required by 11 U.S.C. § 1112(b).  While the Court found that the Debtors’ actions in commencing the cases fell “on the dark side of the spectrum” which ranges… Read More

Security Interest Determined as of the Date of Petition, Not the Transaction, for Purposes of Stating a Preference Claim Under Section 547(b)(5)

Simplexity, LLC v. Sprint Corp. (In re Simplexity, LLC), 578 B.R. 255 (Bankr. D. Del. 2017)

In this Opinion, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court addressed when a security interest is determined for purposes of stating a preference claim under section 547(b)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code.  Distinguishing an earlier ruling by the Court in the context of insurance premium financing, Judge Kevin Gross ruled that security interests generally must be determined as of the petition date rather than the transaction date.  Judge Gross also set forth guidelines for how the valuation should be conducted using an “add back” method.

Under… Read More

Lease Profit Sharing Provisions Held Per Se Unenforceable Under 11 U.S.C. § 365(f)(1)

Antone Corp. v. Haggen Holdings, LLC (In re Haggen Holdings, LLC), No. 15-1136 (GMS), 2017 WL 3730527 (D. Del. Aug. 30, 2017)

In this Opinion, Judge Sleet of the Delaware District Court affirmed the holding of Judge Gross of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court that profit sharing provisions contained in leases are per se unenforceable anti-assignment provisions under section 365(f)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code.  The provision at issue on appeal entitled the landlord to fifty percent of any “net profits” of the subject lease should the debtor-tenant assign it.  In connection with its proposed sale in… Read More

A Third Circuit Analysis of Fiduciary Duties in the Face of Bankruptcy

In re Ultimate Escapes Holdings, LLC, 682 Fed. Appx. 125 (2017)

In re Ultimate Escapes Holdings, LLC, No. 12-50849 (BLS), 2015 WL 1590132 (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 5, 2015)

In affirming the decisions of the courts below, the Third Circuit in its Opinion of In re Ultimate Escapes Holdings, LLC not only provides a refresher on Delaware’s entire fairness and business judgment standards; it also sends a comforting signal to officers and directors faced with difficult decisions when a company is in financial distress and on the verge of bankruptcy.

As the merger negotiations continued, UE’s financial situation deteriorated.  An… Read More