Dividing Secured Claims from Under-Secured Claims: A History

By: Donald L Swanson There are things we take for granted in bankruptcy cases: like concepts of fresh start and of absolute priority and of adequate protection. But the source of such concepts is often murky. One of those take-for-granted things is this: the division of a secured claim into, (i) an allowed secured claim that... Continue Reading →

Look “Outside Bankruptcy”: A U.S. Supreme Court Standard for Resolving Bankruptcy Questions

By: Donald L. Swanson In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two opinions on bankruptcy-specific topics that identify a common legal standard. The standard is this: In deciding a question under the Bankruptcy Code, look to legal standards that apply “outside bankruptcy” for guidance Both opinions do just that.  Here’s how. FIRST OPINION The U.S. Supreme Court... Continue Reading →

Plan Confirmation Standards Under Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

By Donald L. Swanson The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 is said to provide a “Chapter 12-type” reorganization opportunity for small businesses within Chapter 11. That comparison is apt. Here’s why: Chapter 12 came into existence, back in 1986, because farmers had difficulty getting plans of reorganization confirmed under Chapter 11; The Small Business Act... Continue Reading →

Trustee’s Role Includes Financial Adviser & Mediation: Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

By Donald L. Swanson The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 became law on August 23, 2019.  But the date it takes effect is "180 days" later: on February 19, 2020. This new law helps small business reorganize under Chapter 11 in much the same way that farmers reorganize under Chapter 12 and consumers reorganize under... Continue Reading →

When “Small” is Still Too Big: The Small Business Reorganization Act

By Donald L. Swanson The Small Business Reorganization Act is now law! The House of Representatives passed it on July 25, 2019; The Senate passed it on August 1, 2019; and The President signed it on August 23, 2019. This Act is much-needed and long overdue. It provides Chapter 12-type relief for small businesses within Chapter... Continue Reading →

ABI Webinar: Three New Bankruptcy Laws Explained

By: Donald L. Swanson Three bankruptcy bills recently navigated the political morass in Washington D.C. and became law on August 23, 2019.  The three new laws are: Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 2336) HAVEN Act (H.R. 2938). On August 29, 2019, the American Bankruptcy Institute ("ABI")... Continue Reading →

Relativity: Defining “Success” for Multi-Party Mediation in Chapter 11

By: Donald L. Swanson “I stand at the window of a railway carriage which is traveling uniformly, and drop a stone on the embankment . . . I see the stone descend a straight line. A pedestrian who observes the misdeed from the footpath notices that the stone falls to the earth in a parabolic curve.... Continue Reading →

Chapter 12: In re Knudsen Revisited, After a U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

By: Donald L. Swanson Congress adopted Chapter 12 in 1986. Then, in 2005, Congress added special tax provisions to Chapter 12 at § 1222(a)(2)(A). Those provisions made taxes arising from sales of farm assets dischargeable as general unsecured claims. In re Knudsen The IRS didn’t like this new law and worked to limit its effect. That... Continue Reading →

Student Loan Crisis: High-Price Colleges Support Beautiful Campuses (and Other Luxuries) on the Backs of their Students

By:  Donald L. Swanson “Back when I was in school . . .” This is a tired-old phrase, usually followed by tales of hardship. The Olden Days But here’s an opposite twist: Back when I was in college (during the 1970s), you could actually pay your way through, with little-to-no debt, by working part-time jobs... Continue Reading →

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