Fraudulent Transfer Claims — In Constitutional Limbo

By: Donald L. Swanson “we assume without deciding, that the fraudulent conveyance claims in this case are Stern claims.” [Fn. 1] From unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v Arkison (Decided June 6, 2014). [Fn. 2] It’s a curious thing, this failure-to-decide the constitutional status of fraudulent transfer claims in bankruptcy. Here’s... Continue Reading →

The Constitution’s “Bankruptcies” Clause: Assumed but Not Discussed or Cited in U.S. Supreme Court Bankruptcy Opinions

By: Donald L Swanson “It’s assumed.” That's the answer I heard, recently, to this question: “Why does the U.S. Supreme Court fail to discuss, or even cite, the ‘Bankruptcies’ clause of the U.S. Constitution when it decides constitutional questions of bankruptcy law?” [Fn. 1] Say what?!  Let’s get this straight: The U.S. Constitution has a clause empowering... Continue Reading →

Contract Rejection Damages as Administrative Claims in Bankruptcy

By: Donald L. Swanson “What is at issue for these parties, practically speaking, is whether to classify as prepetition or post-petition liability any damages caused by Debtor’s failure to honor its executory obligations.” --U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology, LLC., Case No. 16-9016 (1/12/2018), at 14. Current Posture Mission v.... Continue Reading →

Dewsnup Needs to be Overturned: It’s Out of Touch and Based on a Bizarre Foundation (But U.S. Supreme Court Passes)

By: Donald L. Swanson The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dewsnup v. Timm opinion (502 U.S. 410 (1992)) was wrongly decided and needs to be overturned. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen any time soon, since the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari on Tuesday (February 19, 2019) in the case of Ritter v. Brady, Supreme Court Case No. 18-747.... Continue Reading →

Correcting a Defect in Chapter 7: New Effort to Overturn Dewsnup v. Timm

By: Donald L. Swanson You know how bankruptcy debtors can strip-away out-of-money liens in Chapters 11, 12 and 13, using 11 U.S.C. § 506? Well . . . they can’t do it in Chapter 7. That’s because of a screw-up by the U.S. Supreme Court in an early opinion under the Bankruptcy Code—the opinion is Dewsnup... Continue Reading →

Can You Be Held in Contempt for Obeying a Court Order? The U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide (Taggart v. Lorenzen)

By: Donald L. Swanson A Hypothetical: You’ve sued an individual in state court for injunctive and other relief. Your defendant then files bankruptcy and receives a Chapter 7 discharge. Then, you ask the state court to determine that you can proceed with the lawsuit, despite the bankruptcy discharge. The state court says you can, and so... Continue Reading →

A Practical Question That’s Being Ignored at U.S. Supreme Court (Mission Product v. Tempnology)

By: Donald L. Swanson Oral arguments are scheduled for February 20, 2019, before the U.S. Supreme Court in Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology, LLC (Case No. 17-1657). Legal Question – Effect of Rejection The legal question in Mission Product v. Tempnology is whether the “rejection” of a trademark license agreement—which constitutes a breach of such agreement—terminates... Continue Reading →

Federal Arbitration Act is Superseded by U.S. Constitution’s “Uniform Laws on . . . Bankruptcies” Clause

By: Donald L. Swanson “The Congress shall have Power To . . . establish . . . uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States.” U.S. Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8 (emphasis added). Bankruptcy law is special, to begin with. There is no other area of law quite like it -- either legally... Continue Reading →

Public Rights Doctrine — A Useless Tool in Bankruptcy

By Donald L. Swanson The U.S. Supreme Court’s “public rights” doctrine has been around for a long time. Yet, during the entire time of its existence, the Supreme Court, (i) has failed to explain the distinction between public rights and private rights, and (ii) has been inconsistent in applying that distinction. Unfortunately, our bankruptcy world has... Continue Reading →

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