Beware the “Related To” Jurisdiction for Post-Confirmation Lawsuits on Inadequately-Disclosed Claims

By Donald L. Swanson Here are some basic rules on bankruptcy court jurisdiction: --“Core” proceedings can be heard and decided by bankruptcy courts; --“Related to” proceedings can be heard and decided by bankruptcy courts upon consent of the parties but, otherwise, must be resolved through proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the district... Continue Reading →

Four Decades of Rocking the Boat on Bankruptcy Court Authority: The U.S. Supreme Court

By: Donald L. Swanson The U.S. Supreme Court has, for four decades, been rocking the boat [that's Justice Blackmun's metaphor] on bankruptcy court authority. First, they almost kill the Code—coming within one vote of declaring the entire Bankruptcy Code unconstitutional. Then they limit and mess with it some more. And now, finally, it seems they are... Continue Reading →

Federal Arbitration Act vs. Stern v. Marshall: So . . . What’s Fair About This?

By Donald L. Swanson I’m irritated [not that anyone actually cares]. Here’s why. Federal Arbitration Act I’ve been reading some bankruptcy cases on requirements of the Federal Arbitration Act. These cases talk about submitting a bankruptcy dispute to arbitration based on an arbitration provision in the disputing parties’ pre-petition contract. Never mind that the dispute is... Continue Reading →

“Public Rights” Doctrine for Bankruptcy Court Jurisdiction, While Always Tenuous, Is Now Dead and Buried

By Donald L. Swanson "Public rights" doctrine enters the bankruptcy scene thirty five years ago in the four-Justice plurality opinion of Northern Pipeline v. Marathon Pipe Line, 458 U.S. 50 (1982). Three Justices in that case write an vigorous dissent to such a use of public rights doctrine, while two other Justices concur with the... Continue Reading →

Justice Gorsuch’s First Supreme Court Dissent is Scaliaesque on Statute Construction but Non-Scalia on Public Rights Doctrine (Perry v. Merit Systems)

By Donald L. Swanson On June 23, 2017, Neil Gorsuch issues his first dissenting opinion as a Supreme Court Justice. The case is Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board (Supreme Court Case No. 16-399). It's about statutory procedures for litigating Federal employee claims.  The dissent by Justice Gorsuch illuminates a comparison of ideas with those... Continue Reading →

A Unified Theory of Bankruptcy Court Jurisdiction: Wellness International v. Sharif

By Donald L. Swanson Federal courts in the U.S. bankruptcy system have been struggling for decades with the extent and limits of bankruptcy court jurisdiction under the U.S. Constitution. The difficulty begins with Articles I and III of the U.S. Constitution: --Article I, Section 8, says: “The Congress shall have power to . . .... Continue Reading →

U.S. Supreme Court and Its Private Rights v. Public Rights Problem in Bankruptcy (Spokeo v. Robins)

By:  Donald L. Swanson The opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court is Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (issued on May 16, 2016, in Case No. 13-1339). The Facts of the Case Here are the facts: Spokeo, Inc., operates a “people search engine”: you can search its website for a person’s name and get information about him/her. Spokeo... Continue Reading →

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