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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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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

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

Two Clear-Cut Decisions of the Supreme Court – Narrowing Both Section 546(e)’s Securities Safe Harbor in Merit and the Standard of Review for Non-Statutory Insider Determinations in U.S. Bank

Merit Mgmt. Group, LP v. FTI Consulting, Inc., 583 U.S. __ (2018)

U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n v. Vill. at Lakeridge, LLC, 583 U.S. __ (2018)

On February 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued its unanimous holding in Merit Management Group, LP v. FTI Consulting, Inc.  The Opinion, delivered by Justice Sotomayor, addressed a Congressional limitation placed on a trustee’s power to avoid certain transfers, such as preferential transfers under 11 U.S.C. § 547 or constructively fraudulent transfers under 11 U.S.C. § 548(a)(1)(B).  More specifically, section 546(e) of the… Read More

We’re Back!

We’re back!  Thank you for your patience while the Delaware Bankruptcy Insider worked behind the scenes to address website matters.  While not all of the issues are completely resolved, the Insider will re-start blogging and bring to you its analysis regarding some recent Supreme Court rulings.  It will also analyze the other important rulings from the Delaware District Court and Delaware Bankruptcy Court that have been made over the last few months.  Thanks again for your patience and loyalty.

Please Pardon Our Appearance

Hi loyal Delaware Bankruptcy Insider readers!  For the next month, our blog will be transitioning to a new web host.  During this time, please pardon our appearance and any issues that may arise when trying to access documents and links embedded in our posts.  If you are unable to access any documents or links (or if any other issues arise), please do not hesitate to contact Karen B. Owens at kowens@ashbygeddes.com.  Thanks!

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Finds It Has Constitutional Adjudicatory Authority to Enter a Final Confirmation Order Containing Nonconsensual Third Party Releases

In re Millennium Lab Holdings II, LLC, No. 15-12284 (LSS), 2017 WL 4417562 (Bankr. D. Del. Oct. 3, 2017)

Following the United States Supreme Court’s ruling six years ago in Stern v. Marshall, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), the constitutional adjudicatory authority of bankruptcy courts to enter final orders has been challenged in a variety of proceedings, leading to varied interpretations of the reach of the Stern decision.  In Millennium, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court was asked on remand from the Delaware District Court whether it had the constitutional authority to enter a final order confirming a plan that contained nonconsensual third party releases, i.e. releases… Read More

Third Circuit Holds That Layoffs Must Be Probable (Not Just Possible) for WARN Act Liability

Varela v. AE Liquidation, Inc. (f/k/a Eclipse Aviation Corp.) (In re AE Liquidation, Inc.), No. 16-2203, 2017 WL 3319963 (3d Cir. Aug. 4, 2017)

As we have discussed prior, under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, employers may be liable if they do not give fair warning to their employees before a mass layoff.  Liability can be avoided if, among other things, the “mass layoff is caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable at the time that notice would have been required.”  20 C.F.R. § 2102(b)(2)(A).  The question for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals… Read More

Bankruptcy Court Fails to Find Wholesaler-Debtor Constructively Received Goods Delivered to Third Parties Twenty Days Before Bankruptcy; 503(b)(9) Claim Reclassified

In re ADI Liquidation, Inc., No. 14-12092 (KJC), 2017 WL 2712287 (Bankr. D. Del. June 22, 2017)

In this Opinion, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court examined whether a debtor, formerly known as Associated Wholesalers, Inc. (“AWI”), constructively received goods that were ordered by and delivered to its customers from claimant, Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. (“BBU”) during the twenty day period prior to AWI’s petition date (the “Twenty Day Goods”).  While the goods were never in AWI’s physical possession, AWI’s customers remitted payment for the goods to AWI, which then remitted payment to BBU after retaining a percentage.  BBU filed a large… Read More

Creditors Committee Suing on Behalf of Estates Is Unable to Invade Debtors’ Attorney-Client Privilege Without a Showing of Insolvency

Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors of HH Liquidation, LLC v. Comvest Grp. Holdings, LLC (In re HH Liquidation, LLC), No. 16-51204 (KG), 2017 WL 1906585 (Bankr. D. Del. May 8, 2017)

This adversary proceeding was commenced derivatively by an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the “Committee”) against the Haggen, Inc. debtors’ officers, directors, and non-debtor affiliates (collectively, the “Defendants”) for, among other things, fraud and fraudulent transfers.  During the course of discovery, the Committee filed a motion to compel production of over 2,000 documents withheld by the debtors and the Defendants based on attorney-client privilege (the “AC Privileged Documents”).  Importantly,… Read More

Insider’s Scoop: An Rare Examination of Challenge Period and Release Provisions in a Final DIP Order

n re Outer Harbor Terminal, LLC, 16-10283 (LSS) (Bench Ruling, May 5, 2017)

In issuing this Bench Ruling, the Honorable Laurie Selber Silverstein of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court had the unusual opportunity to analyze and parse challenge period and lender release provisions contained in a final DIP order.  Examining the plain language of the provisions in light of the entire context of the DIP documents before it, the Court concluded that a creditors committee’s investigation period expired long before it was formed by the United States Trustee.  Her Honor also held that the general… Read More