Stressed Family Businesses: Chapter 11 Reorganization Must Work For Them

By: Donald L. Swanson Family businesses who need to reorganize have a tough go in bankruptcy. There are lots of impediments, both legal (e.g., absolute priority rule) and economic (Chapter 11 is expensive).  The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 will help, but it only applies to businesses with less than $2.7 million of debt. An Extraneous... Continue Reading →

Distinguishing Domestic Support Obligations from Property Settlement Debts: Comparative Opinions

By: Donald L Swanson Domestic support obligations (e.g., alimony and child support) cannot be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Property settlement debts, by contrast, may be discharged in Chapter 13. Question and an Illustration Answer Question:  What distinguishes a domestic support obligation from a property settlement debt in Chapter 13? Two recent opinions out of South... Continue Reading →

Are US Trustee’s Increased Quarterly Fees Constitutional?

By: Donald L Swanson The Office of the US Trustee administers the bankruptcy system in these United States.  To fund its efforts, the US Trustee receives quarterly fees from Chapter 11 debtors, which fees are a major (and often a problematic) expense for debtor’s to pay. Back in October 2017, Congress increased the amounts of such... Continue Reading →

What To Do When No One Supports A Rule The U.S. Supreme Court Wants to Decide: Rodriguez v. FDIC

By: Donald L Swanson What should the U.S. Supreme Court Justices do when, (i) they grant certiorari to resolve a circuit split on whether a rule of law is valid, but (ii) no party to the appeal argues in favor of that rule? That’s exactly the circumstances in Rodriguez v. FDIC, Supreme Court Case No. 18-1269... Continue Reading →

The Haven Act: A Great Law That Exposes A Really-Bad Bankruptcy Policy

By: Donald L. Swanson The Haven Act is short for: “Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need Act of 2019.”  It is a newly-enacted law of the land. The Haven Act does a great and valuable thing for many of our military veterans: it allows middle class veterans to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, instead of being stuck for... Continue Reading →

Office of Solicitor General: A Biased and Conflicted Protector of Bankruptcy Laws (Ritzen v. Jackson Oral Arguments)

By: Donald L. Swanson “every creditor in the country should be lining up behind our side of the podium.” --Respondent’s counsel in Ritzen v. Jackson oral arguments at U.S. Supreme Court on 11/13/2019. Here’s a link to the transcript. On October 11, 2019, the Office of Solicitor General files an amicus brief in Ritzen v. Jackson... Continue Reading →

Accuracy on Bankruptcy Schedules: A Challenge in Representing Family Businesses

By: Donald L. Swanson “I’m very proud of the fact that, in four decades of practicing law, I’ve had only one client go to federal prison for lying on these bankruptcy schedules.” —Yours truly, emphasizing to clients the importance of accuracy and full disclosure in preparing bankruptcy schedules. One of the great challenges in representing... Continue Reading →

A Bankruptcy Exception to the Federal Arbitration Act — In the U.S. Constitution

By: Donald L Swanson “The Congress shall have Power . . . To Establish . . . uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.” --Bankruptcies Clause in the U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 4. Bankruptcy Exception to Arbitration -- A Constitutional Argument Try this argument on for size: The Constitution's... Continue Reading →

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