J. Ellsworth Summers, Jr.

J. Ellsworth Summers, Jr.

Rogers Towers

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Detroit Bankruptcy Update: Sixth Circuit Throws Wrench into Restructuring Timetable

Earlier this month the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the appeal of Syncora Guarantee Inc. must be heard by the lower federal district court before the bankruptcy court may conduct its trial on the city’s proposed...more

7/8/2014 - Chapter 11 Detroit Municipal Bankruptcy Popular Restructuring

Eleventh Circuit Doubles Down on Lien Stripping

When the Fourth Circuit handed down its opinion in the case of In re Davis, which permitted lien stripping in “Chapter 20” proceedings, the stage was set for the Eleventh Circuit to expand debtor’s ability to escape from...more

6/30/2014 - BAPCPA Chapter 13 Chapter 20 Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy Junior Lenders Lien Stripping Liens Mortgage Loan Originators Mortgages

Supreme Court Clarifies Stern v. Marshall

Not even Nostradamus could have predicted the profound effect that former Playmate Vickie Lynn Marshall (a/k/a Anna Nicole Smith) would have on the landscape of U.S. bankruptcy court jurisdiction. Nevertheless, two and a half...more

6/13/2014 - Article I Article III Commercial Bankruptcy Jurisdiction SCOTUS Stern v Marshall

Detroit Bankruptcy: The Next Step in the Grand Bargain

On Tuesday, June 2, 2014, the Michigan state senate passed a number of important bills, all of which are aimed to help lift Detroit out of its $18 billion bankruptcy. Approval by Governor Rick Snyder is all but guaranteed, as...more

6/6/2014

A Grand Bargain? Detroit Defends Restructuring Plan

Over the Memorial Day weekend, while many around the country were enjoying beautiful weather, the lawyers for the city of Detroit were busy filing a lengthy defense to their proposed restructuring plan, which is slated to be...more

6/4/2014 - Bonds Debt Restructuring Detroit Institute of Art Municipal Bonds Municipalities Pensions Public Employees Restructuring

A Lesson On What Not To Do In A § 363 Auction

For numerous corporate Chapter 11 debtors, the sale of some or all of the company’s assets may be the only way to reorganize the company’s debt. Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code sets forth a specific procedure wherein the...more

5/30/2014 - 363 Sales Chapter 11 Commercial Bankruptcy

Effect of Automatic Stay in Quasi-Criminal Proceedings

The automatic stay of § 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code is one of a debtor’s most powerful tools and protections, because it stays all proceedings and collection efforts. Under § 362(b), however, a debtor may not use the...more

5/1/2014 - Automatic Stay Consumer Bankruptcy

Eleventh Circuit Holds Replacement Value - Applies to Surrender of Collateral in Chapter 13 Plan

On March 27, 2014, the Eleventh Circuit (the “Court”) issued a ruling, which will have a major impact on how Chapter 7 and 13 debtors are able to treat claims of secured creditors. The issue in In re Brown, 13-13013, 2014 WL...more

4/3/2014 - Chapter 13 Commercial Bankruptcy

Recent Decision Caps Secured Creditor’s Credit Bid in §363 Sale to Purchase Price of Acquired Debt

It is well-settled that secured creditors are ordinarily entitled to credit bid their allowed secured claim in a sale pursuant to § 363 of the Bankruptcy Code (the “Code”). In Radlax Gateway Hotel, LLC v. Amalgamated Bank,...more

3/11/2014 - Bids Chapter 11 Commercial Bankruptcy Credit Bids Creditors Secured Creditors

Settling Pre-Petition Claims During a Pending Bankruptcy Proceeding

As we have discussed in previous posts, when a plaintiff or defendant in a pending civil lawsuit files for bankruptcy, the suit becomes part of the bankruptcy estate. Further, under § 541 of the Bankruptcy Code, the trustee...more

2/25/2014 - Consumer Bankruptcy Settlement

Paying Attorney’s Fees Not Reason to File Chapter 13

Of the three most common chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 7 offers an insolvent individual the freshest of starts; yet it is not without its pitfalls. Under Chapter 7 a debtor is not permitted to pay his attorney in...more

2/19/2014 - Attorney's Fees Chapter 13 Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy

Caveat Debtor: Disgorging Inheritance in Chapter 13 Cases

A recent case out of the 9th Circuit, In re Dale, revives a controversial subject for Chapter 13 debtors: whether an inheritance received more than 180 days after commencement of the case is part of the bankruptcy estate. ...more

2/11/2014 - Chapter 13 Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy Disgorgement Inheritance

Dirt-for-Debt Buries Creditor with Risk and Uncertainty

In order to confirm a chapter 11 plan of reorganization, a debtor must satisfy all the provisions of §1129(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, except for §1129(a)(8). Section (a)(8) requires that each class of creditors either (i)...more

2/7/2014 - Chapter 11 Commercial Bankruptcy

Google Case Provides Spoliation Exception to Living Document Safeguard

Google has come under scrutiny in the last few years over collecting information from users’ email accounts to provide targeted advertising for its paid clients. ...more

1/28/2014 - Advertising Data Collection Data Mining Document Productions Electronic Communications Evidence Google Privacy Laws Spoliation

Gross Negligence Enough for Adverse Inference Instruction

In 2003, Judge Shira Scheindlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued five landmark decisions, which have since shaped the landscape of electronic discovery and document preservation. ...more

1/24/2014 - Adverse Inference Instructions Destruction of Evidence Document Preservation Notices Electronically Stored Information Gross Negligence Intent Record Preservation Spoliation

“Saving Everything” No Defense to Spoliation Argument

As we discussed in our previous spoliation post, parties are required to place a litigation hold on all documents once litigation could be reasonably anticipated. Although there are certain definite “trigger events”, such as...more

1/20/2014 - Adverse Inference Instructions Data Retention Discovery Document Preservation Notices Document Retention Policies Email Policies Litigation Hold Spoliation

Case Update: Authority to Endorse Note and Mortgage IS Self-Authenticating

In our August 29, 2013 post, we reported on a shift in the case law regarding the self-authentification of the authority to endorse a note and mortgage. Subsequently, however, the court in Bennett v. Deutsche Bank National...more

1/15/2014 - Banks Deutsche Bank Mortgages Self-Authentication

Status as a Debtor not Enough to Confer Appellate Standing

“Standing” is a legal term of art that refers to a party’s ability to bring a cause of action, to intercede in one or to appeal the court’s judgment. To prove appellate standing in a bankruptcy proceeding, a party must show...more

12/26/2013 - Chapter 7 Commercial Bankruptcy Debtor-Creditor Standing Trustees

Detroit Bankruptcy Update: Direct Appeal to Sixth Circuit Permitted

Yesterday Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that the appeals to his earlier holding that Detroit was entitled to proceed in its Chapter 9 Bankruptcy proceeding would be allowed to bypass a federal district court and head...more

12/18/2013 - Chapter 9 Detroit Municipal Bankruptcy

The Absolute Priority Rule in Individual Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Cases lives on … for now

The principle behind the absolute priority rule is simple: unsecured creditors should be paid before the debtor is entitled to retain property of the bankruptcy estate. In a corporate setting the absolute priority rule...more

12/12/2013 - Absolute Priority Rule BAPCPA Chapter 11 Commercial Bankruptcy Consumer Bankruptcy Creditors Debtors

Detroit Judge Clears Way for Largest Municipal Bankruptcy in Country’s History

The oral summary of Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’s opinion lasted roughly ninety minutes, and the forthcoming written opinion is rumored to be over one hundred and forty pages in length. In making his decision the Detroit...more

12/10/2013 - Chapter 9 Detroit Municipal Bankruptcy

BAPCPA Backfires: Unsecured Creditor’s Returns Decrease in Post-BAPCPA Landscape

A new study published by the American Bankruptcy Institute has found that the aggregate effect of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), which was passed in part to improve creditor...more

11/20/2013 - BAPCPA Consumer Bankruptcy Creditors

Chapter 20 in the Eleventh Circuit: Modification of Secured Claims Impermissible Without Discharge

Nearly a year ago to the day, we published a post regarding the uncertainty that bankruptcy practitioners and lenders faced when a Chapter 7 debtor received a discharge, and subsequently filed a Chapter 13 petition to strip...more

11/7/2013 - Chapter 13 Chapter 20 Chapter 7 Consumer Bankruptcy Cramdown Debtors Dischargeable Debts Lenders

When the FDCPA and the Bankruptcy Code Conflict: Which Controls?

As most lenders and banking litigators understand, courts construe the language of the Fair Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA) very broadly. As we have discussed in previous posts, an initial communication to collect a...more

10/24/2013 - Bankruptcy Code Conflicts of Laws Debt Collection FDCPA

Rogers Towers: The Shell Game: Bankrupt Debtor’s Concealment of Pre-Petition Claims

In commercial lending, as in law, no single practice area exists independently of another. Bankruptcy law often intersects with contract law and even personal injury law when debtors find themselves as the plaintiff or...more

9/5/2013 - Commercial Bankruptcy Commercial Loans Debtors

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