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Showing posts in Judge Christopher S. Sontchi

Tribal Sovereign Immunity Bars Preference Claims Against Casinos Subject to Recoupment Rights

Casino Caribbean, LLC v. Money Ctrs. of Am., Inc. (In re Money Ctrs. of Am., Inc.), Adv. Nos. 14-50437 (CSS), 16-50410 (CSS), 2017 WL 775780 (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 28, 2017)

In this Opinion, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court addressed for the first time whether tribal sovereign immunity bars preference actions against casinos operated by (or on behalf of) Indian tribes.  After considering split authority from other jurisdictions, the Court ruled that it does, although the right to use preference liability defensively in support of a recoupment claim may still be preserved.

The facts underlying the Opinion concern preference claims brought… Read More

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Tackles Challenges to Email Privacy

In re Irish Bank Resolution Corp. (In Special Liquidation), 559 B.R. 627 (Bankr. D. Del. 2016)

Late last year, the foreign representatives (the “Foreign Representatives”) of chapter 15 debtor Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (“IBRC”) were forced to get creative after their more traditional efforts to obtain discovery from a Yahoo! email account failed.  In connection with IBRC’s liquidation, significant international litigation is on-going related to the repayment evasion of billions in loans advanced by IBRC to companies owned or controlled by the Quinn Family.  In the course of that litigation, the… 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

Insider’s Scoop: Judge Sontchi’s Decision to Confirm Horsehead’s Plan Was One of His Honor’s Most Difficult and Closest Calls in Ten Years on the Bench

In re Horsehead Holding Corp., No. 16-10287 (CSS) (Bankr. D. Del. Sept. 2, 2016)

Following a three day confirmation trial, which attracted scores of shareholders and running commentary via live tweets from the courtroom, Judge Sontchi confirmed the second amended plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) proposed by Horsehead Holding Corp. and its affiliated debtors (“Horsehead”) over the objection of the official committee of equity holders (the “Equity Committee”), holding that the Plan was proposed in good faith and satisfied the absolute priority rule.  His Honor described the decision as one of the most difficult and closest calls… Read More

Practice Point: Substance Matters – Recent Rulings Confirm and Clarify Pleading Standards under Section 547

THQ, Inc. v. Starcom Worldwide, Inc. (In re THQ, Inc.), No. 14-51079 (MFW), 2016 WL 1599798 (Bankr. D. Del. Apr. 18, 2016).

Giuliano v. Haskett, (In re MCG Ltd. P’ship), No. 14-50536 (CSS), 545 B.R. 74 (Bankr. D. Del. Jan. 28, 2016).

Two recent rulings by the Delaware Bankruptcy Court confirm the well-known pleading standards that a preference complaint must do more than “merely parrot[] the language of section 547” to survive a motion to dismiss.  The cases also clarify the type of particularized facts that must be alleged to state a claim under section 547.

In THQ, Inc. v. Starcom Worldwide, Inc…. Read More

Insider’s Scoop: Bankruptcy Court Grants Motions to Form an Official Equity Committee Due to Dramatic Adjustments to Valuation Over a Short Period of Time

In re Horsehead Corp., No. 16-10287 (Bankr. D. Del. May 2, 2016) (CSS)

In a packed courtroom, full of shareholders appearing pro se, Judge Sontchi granted motions to appoint an official equity committee.  Acknowledging that he was going “out on a limb here from the standpoint on where the law puts me”, Judge Sontchi cautioned that “something doesn’t smell right to the Court.”  Hr’g Tr. 100:17-19, 100:25-101:1.  The Court based its ruling on His Honor’s experience and the “unusual circumstances” attendant to the Debtor’s valuation, which had… Read More

The Insider’s Scoop: Boomerang Tube Decision Already Endorsed in Delaware

In re Samson Resources, Corp., Case No. 15-11934 (CSS) (Bankr. D. Del. Feb. 8, 2016)

The Boomerang Tube decision has already been followed by one other Delaware bankruptcy judge.  In a letter ruling in In re Samson Resources Corp., Judge Christopher S. Sontchi agreed with, endorsed, and applied Judge Walrath’s… 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, — B.R. —, 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… Read More

Preference Defendant Establishes Ordinary Course Of Business Defense Despite Ruling To The Contrary On Summary Judgment

Burtch v. Revchem Composites, Inc. (In re Sierra Concrete Design, Inc.), Adv. No. 10-52667 (CSS), 2015 WL 4381571 (Bankr. D. Del. July 16, 2015)

After a trial on the merits, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Opinion and entered judgment for defendant Revchem Composites, Inc. (“Revchem”), finding that Revchem established that all of the transactions in question were made in the ordinary course of business, thereby protected from avoidance as a preference.  The ruling came after the Court’s previous Opinion whereby Judge Sontchi held, on summary judgment, that “the parties’ pre-preference relationship was insufficient to establish the existence of… Read More

UPDATE – After Trial And Despite Likelihood Of Success On The Merits, Bankruptcy Court Holds No “Cause” To Lift Automatic Stay, Ending Make-Whole Adversary Proceeding in EFH

Delaware Trust Co. v. Energy Future Intermediate Holding Co. (In re Energy Future Holdings Corp.), Adv. Pro. No. 14-50363 (CSS), — B.R. — (Bankr. D. Del. July 8, 2015)

Previously, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court determined that an evidentiary hearing was necessary on the issue of whether “cause” exists to lift the automatic stay with respect to the make-whole dispute.  For a general background of the facts and law, see our recent blog post here.  Now, after a three-day trial, Judge Sontchi has held that, under the totality of the circumstances, cause does not exist to lift the… Read More