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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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Delaware Bankruptcy Court Permits Attorneys’ Fees in Fee Defense, Distinguishing ASARCO and Boomerang Tube

In re Nortel Networks Inc., No. 09-10138 (KG), 2016 WL 932947 (Bankr. D. Del. Mar. 8, 2017)

In the Nortel family of cases, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court sustained, in part, an objection to the attorneys’ fees sought by the Nortel Networks Capital Corporation Bonds Indenture Trustee (the “Indenture Trustee”), slashing its attorneys’ fee request by almost one million dollars.  However, the more noteworthy ruling came when Judge Gross permitted the Indenture Trustee’s attorneys’ fees for defending their fees, distinguishing the Supreme Court’s ruling in ASARCO and the Delaware Bankruptcy Court’s recent ruling in Boomerang Tube. … Read More

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Finds Debtor Did Not Properly Terminate Contract, Faces Significant Breach of Contract Damages

In re Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC, No. 16-10283 (LSS), 2017 WL 696676 (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 21, 2017)

In the context of a claims objection, the Court adhered to unambiguous contract language in determining that the presence of a termination triggering event did not automatically terminate a contract, opening the door for potentially significant damages.  This matter will now proceed to the damages phase, where the non-debtor contract counterparty has alleged in its proof of claim an approximate $13.3 million in, among other things, breach of contract damages.

Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC (the “Debtor”) provided stevedoring services—docking and loading/unloading… Read More

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… 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.

In Molycorp, the Committee, the debtor Molycorp, Inc. (the “Debtor”), and the DIP… 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… 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.

After Reichhold Holdings US, Inc. (the “Debtor”) filed its chapter 11 petition, Covestro LLC… 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,… 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).

Defendant’s pre-petition employment agreement provided for monthly compensation in the amount of $186,000, payable in $100,000 of cash and $86,000 of company stock.  After the bankruptcy… 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)

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… 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… Read More