Oral Arguments in Appling Case: Writing Requirement for Nondischargeability

By: Donald L. Swanson In our uncommonly vicious and partisan political culture, it’s refreshing to hear oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on a non-partisan and apolitical issue.  Here’s one: --Oral arguments held on April 17, 2018, in the bankruptcy case of Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, Case No. 16-1215 [here’s the transcript] .... Continue Reading →

No Quorum on U.S. Supreme Court?! And § 546(e) Issues Heading Back to Courts Below? (Deutsche Bank v. McCormick)

By: Donald L. Swanson On April 3, 2018, Justices Kennedy and Thomas issue this Statement for the U.S. Supreme Court in Deutsche Bank v. McCormick, Case No. 16-317 [photo of entire Statement is above]: “consideration of the petition for certiorari will be deferred . . . given the possibility that there might not be a quorum... Continue Reading →

Prosecution of Presidents for Political Revenge: A Bankrupt System

By: Donald L. Swanson “Any judicial process brought about as the direct consequence of . . . a political struggle is political.” “Score-settling, blood-letting, revenge and political calculation played a crucial role in these and many other post-war trials and purges.” Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, at 49 (Penguin Press 2005). One... Continue Reading →

Footnote 5 in Supreme Court’s Merit Management Opinion: “Settlement Payment” Under a “Securities Contract”

By: Donald L. Swanson Whenever a court goes out of its way to say in an opinion, “We aren’t deciding issues X and Y,” it’s time to take notice. The omitted issues must be significant, in some way, to what’s being decided; otherwise, there’s no reason to mention them. And when the opinion is from the... Continue Reading →

Student Loans: The Modern-Day Debtor’s Prison (A “Certainty of Hopelessness” Standard for Discharge?!) and a Tax Glitch

By: Donald L Swanson A student loan cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, unless the loan “would impose an undue hardship on the debtor and the debtor’s dependents.” --11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8) So, what qualifies as “undue hardship” under § 523(a)(8)? --You might think that an, “I can’t pay both rent and child care, let alone student... Continue Reading →

Enforcing Arbitration in Bankruptcy: Second Circuit Puts Pressure on a Slam-Dunk Issue

By: Donald L. Swanson “[T]he Supreme Court has time and time again held: where parties have agreed to arbitration, . . . the agreement of the parties is to govern. There is no reason to think that, with time, the bankruptcy courts will not get there too.” --Collier on Bankruptcy, ¶ 9019-05 (15th Ed. 1998). Bankruptcy... Continue Reading →

An Oddity: Supreme Court Decides Nothing in its U.S. Bank v. Village at Lakeridge Bankruptcy Opinion

By Donald L. Swanson On March 5, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issues its latest bankruptcy opinion in the case of U.S. Bank v. Village at Lakeridge, LLC., Case no. 15-1509. The Facts Village at Lakeridge has a single owner: MBP Equity Partners.  And it has two creditors: it owes “over $10 million” to U.S. Bank... Continue Reading →

Supreme Court’s Bankruptcy Opinion on § 546(e): Merit Management v. FTI Consulting, and an Important Footnote 2

By Donald L. Swanson On February 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an eagerly awaited bankruptcy opinion on the § 546(e) safe harbor defense against trustee avoidance actions. The new opinion is Merit Management Group, LP v. PTI Consulting, Inc., Case No. 16-784. The opinion, at first read, appears to dramatically narrow the reach and effect... Continue Reading →

Government Bankruptcies: Needs of Citizens Take Priority Over Creditor Claims (Assured Guaranty v. Puerto Rico)

By: Donald L Swanson Puerto Rico’s long-standing financial straits, rendered more dire by Hurricane Maria, create an issue of bankruptcy priority: should available funds be used to, (i) address hurricane devastation and daily citizen needs, or (ii) pay creditor claims when due? --The answer to this priority is simple and easy in Puerto Rico: citizen needs... Continue Reading →

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