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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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Unsecured Creditor Not Entitled to Postpetition Attorney’s Fees Provided For Under Enforceable Prepetition Contract

In re Tribune Media Co., No. 08-13141 (KJC), 2015 WL 7307305 (Bankr. D. Del. Nov. 19, 2015)

This Memorandum from the Honorable Kevin J. Carey of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court arose from a dispute over a $30 million unsecured claim for postpetition attorney’s fees and costs (the “Fee Claim”) submitted by an indenture trustee (the “Indenture Trustee”) for certain unsecured subordinated securities issued prepetition by debtor Tribune Company.  According to the Indenture Trustee, its Fee Claim should be allowed under the express terms of the governing indenture as well as the United States Supreme Court decision Travelers Casualty & Surety Company… Read More

No “Related to” Jurisdiction Despite Stipulation and Bankruptcy Court Order Governing the Non-Debtor Parties’ Rights and Responsibilities

Seagate Tech. (US) Holdings, Inc. v. Global Kato HG, LLC (In re Solyndra, LLC), 2015 WL 6125246 (MFW) (Bankr. D. Del. Oct. 16, 2015).

In this Memorandum Opinion, Judge Mary Walrath of Delaware’s Bankruptcy Court granted a motion to dismiss an adversary proceeding between two non-debtor parties based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and also remanded similar litigation between the parties back to California state court.  Among other things, the Court concluded that an order issued by the Bankruptcy Court approving a stipulation did not confer subject matter jurisdiction over a proceeding between two non-debtors alleging state… Read More

New Delaware Bankruptcy Court Ombudsman Announced

At the first Bench and Bar meeting held for the 2015-2016 year, Chief Judge Shannon announced that Jeremy Ryan, a partner practicing with the restructuring, bankruptcy, and creditors’ rights group of the Delaware law firm of Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, has been selected by the Delaware Bankruptcy Court as its ombudsman.  Practitioners are encouraged to first contact the Court with questions and concerns regarding a particular matter, but should feel free to contact Mr. Ryan as well.  Mr. Ryan’s contact information may be found here.

Consummated Plan Based Upon Qualified Bid for Equity Received Pursuant to Sale Process Not “Sale Transaction” for Purposes of Investment Banker’s Retention Agreement

In re Hipcricket, Inc., Case No. 15-10104 (LSS), 2015 WL 5728552 (Bankr. D. Del. Sept. 29, 2015)

In this Memorandum Order, Judge Silverstein approved Canaccord Genuity Inc.’s (“Canaccord”) success fee for its work as an investment banker to Hipcricket, Inc. (the “Debtor”) over an objection of Hal L. Baume (the “Distribution Trustee”).  By the terms of Canaccord’s retention, a success fee was due to it unless a proposed buyer provided debtor in possession financing as part of “a contemplated sale transaction” and such sale transaction was consummated.  In this case, the Distribution Trustee asserted that the consummated plan,… Read More

Prepetition Claim of Third Party Service Provider for Fringe Benefits Provided to Debtors’ Employees Entitled to Priority Treatment Under Section 507(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code

In re Tropicana Entm’t, LLC, No. 08-10856 (KJC), 2015 WL 6112064 (Bankr. D. Del. Oct. 14, 2015)

In a recent post-confirmation dispute arising in the chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of Tropicana Entertainment, LLC and its related entities (collectively, the “Debtors”), the Honorable Kevin J. Carey was faced with a question over which courts are split—whether a prepetition claim asserted by a third party service provider of employee benefits is entitled to priority under section 507(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code.  The answer of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court was yes, such a claim may receive priority treatment pursuant to such section… Read More

On the Eve of the EFH Confirmation Hearing, Bankruptcy Court Issues Opinion on Unsecured Noteholders’ Entitlement to Post-Petition Interest

In re Energy Future Holdings Corp., No. 14-10979, 2015 WL 6660787 (Bankr. D. Del. Oct. 30, 2015)

On the eve of the multi-week confirmation hearing scheduled in the chapter 11 cases of Energy Future Holdings Corp., Judge Sontchi of Delaware’s Bankruptcy Court issued several significant decisions, one of which—analyzed here—rules on whether unsecured creditors are entitled to receive post-petition interest on their claims under four sections of the Bankruptcy Code—section 502(b)(2), section 1129(a)(7) (“Best Interests Test”), section 1129(b) (“Cramdown”), and section 1124(1) (“Unimpairment”).*  First, as a threshold matter, the Court held that an allowable portion of an unsecured claim… 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.

In ruling so,… Read More

Who Has Standing to Raise a Potential Conflict of Interest and an Objection to a Firm’s Retention?

Hofmeister v. Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors (In re Revstone Indus., LLC), No. 13-565 (SLR), 2015 WL 5618890 (D. Del. Sept. 24, 2015)

In this Delaware District Court Memorandum affirming the decision of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court to permit the retention of counsel (“Committee Counsel”) to the Revstone debtors’ official committee of unsecured creditors (the “Committee”), the Court addressed who may object to a retention application and press an asserted conflict of interest.  In Hofmeister, Mr. Hofmeister, former founder and insider of Revstone, objected to the retention of Committee Counsel, asserting that counsel had a conflict of interest because it… Read More

UPDATE – Scarborough-St. James Corp. Case Dismissed For Cause, Substantive Rulings Survive Dismissal

In re Scarborough-St. James Corp., No. 15-10625 (LSS), 2015 WL 5672628 (Bankr. D. Del. Sept. 24, 2015)

With the Landlord* receiving Bankruptcy Court approval to continue its previously stayed litigation against the Debtor in Michigan state court, the Debtor moved to dismiss its bankruptcy case for cause under Bankruptcy Code § 1112(b)(1), alleging no remaining purpose existed by having the Debtor remain in bankruptcy.  The Court granted dismissal, finding that this two-party dispute is properly litigated in state court and it is unlikely that the Debtor will be able to rehabilitate under the Bankruptcy Code.  Op. at 3. … Read More

District Court Denies Motion To Withdraw the Reference In Nortel, May Consider Renewed Motion At A Later Time

SNMP Research Int’l, Inc. v. Nortel Networks, Inc. (In re Nortel Networks, Inc.), No. 15-449 (LPS), 2015 WL 5275966 (D. Del. Sept. 9, 2015)

Chief Judge Stark of the District Court of Delaware recently denied a motion to withdraw the reference of an adversary proceeding in the cross-border bankruptcy case of In re Nortel Networks, Inc.  The Court held that due to the infancy of the proceeding and the Bankruptcy Court’s familiarity with the issues, the Bankruptcy Court would be better suited to preside over the proceeding until, if ever, a jury trial becomes necessary.

SNMP Research Int’l Inc. (“SNMP”), a creditor… Read More