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 →

Resisting Fraudulent Transfer Temptations — Family Businesses

By: Donald L. Swanson About a decade ago, I have an appointment scheduled in my office with two brothers. I’m excited, because they are the principals of a major family business in our region. I’m aware that their business is facing economic headwinds and am assuming they want my counsel on managing their business difficulties. Our... Continue Reading →

Enactment of the Bankruptcy Code in 1978: A Short History

By: Donald L. Swanson Congress must be allowed “to fashion a modern bankruptcy system which places the basic rudiments of the bankruptcy process in the hands of an expert equitable tribunal.” --Justice Blackmun, dissenting in Granfinanciera v. Nordberg, 492 U.S. 33 (1989). Forty years ago -- back in 1978 -- Congress enacted the current Bankruptcy Code.... Continue Reading →

A Strategy to Beat the Absolute Priority Rule in Family Business Bankruptcies

By: Donald L. Swanson The absolute priority rule is the greatest legal impediment to reorganizing a family business under Chapter 11—no other legal impediment is even close. In what follows, I offer a strategy for beating that rule. The Absolute Priority Rule The absolute priority rule is a Chapter 11 plan confirmation requirement. It says:... 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 →

Newly-Proposed Bankruptcy Legislation (“Small Business Reorganization Act”) Needs To Be Enacted ASAP

By: Donald L. Swanson New bankruptcy legislation to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, titled the “Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA),” is wending its way through the U.S. Senate. This piece of legislation is long over-due and should be enacted with all due haste. Here are some reasons why. Mom & Pop Businesses Have the Same Bankruptcy... 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 →

Congress Decided to Punish Consumer Debtors and Failed Entrepreneurs in BAPCPA — This is Terrible Policy!

By: Donald L. Swanson U.S. politicians love to talk about helping poor people—unless, that is, the poor owe money that can’t be repaid. U.S. politicians also love to talk about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs—unless, that is, the small business or entrepreneur owes money that can’t be repaid. When uncollectible debts are involved, politicians turn surly... Continue Reading →

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