An Early History of Bankruptcy Statutes and Economic Conditions in the U.S.: 1776 to 1978

By: Donald L. Swanson This article is a two-centuries history of Federal bankruptcy laws and economic conditions in the United States: from the Declaration of Independence in 1776 through the enactment of the current Bankruptcy Code in 1978. The Late 1700s In 1776, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, thirteen colonies along the... Continue Reading →

An Example of Mediation Success in Hostile and Difficult Circumstances (City of San Bernardino Bankruptcy)

By Donald L. Swanson Timeline for a Plan Confirmation Dispute November 11:  Creditor requests an order requiring mediation November 14 (a.m.):  Debtor objects to request for mediation order November 14 (p.m.):  Court orders mediation December 6:  Debtor and creditor reach a settlement agreement February 7:  Debtor’s bankruptcy plan is confirmed This timeline is from a... Continue Reading →

Oddities at U.S. Supreme Court Continue in Oral Arguments on U.S. Bank v. Lakeridge

By:  Donald L. Swanson The U.S. Supreme Court has already dismissed one bankruptcy appeal this term as “improvidently granted.”  This is an oddity. And it should have also dismissed U.S. Bank National Association v. Village at Lakeridge, Case No. 15-1509, for the same reason. Instead, the Court held oral arguments in the Lakeridge case on... Continue Reading →

Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 is Enacted Into Law

By:  Donald L. Swanson Financially strapped farmers and their lenders finally get some much-needed bankruptcy tax relief. Normally, pre-bankruptcy income and capital gains tax claims have a priority and non-dischargeable status in bankruptcy. And the same taxes, when arising during bankruptcy, add an administrative claim status. Some Farm History Such normal rules had a devastating... Continue Reading →

We Need a Bankruptcy System for Small Businesses Without the Absolute Priority Rule: Two Alternatives

  By Donald L. Swanson During the entire existence of the Bankruptcy Code (enacted in 1978), Chapter 11 rules have been essentially the same for large and small businesses. General Motors, for example, is governed by the same Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules that govern every small Mom & Pop enterprise. I've always thought this same-treatment to... Continue Reading →

Federal Arbitration Act Needs a Bankruptcy Exception

By Donald L. Swanson This article is in follow-up to a prior one titled, "Federal Arbitration Act vs. Stern v. Marshall: So . . . What's Fair About This?"  The point here is that we need a bankruptcy exception to the Federal Arbitration Act. Litigation in bankruptcy: Here's how the issue arises. A Chapter 7, 11,... Continue Reading →

Recovering Tax Payments From IRS as Fraudulent Transfers (§ 544(b)): The “Actual Creditor” Issue

By: Donald L. Swanson The fact scenario is this. An S corporation pays its own taxes each year. Then it files bankruptcy. So, the bankruptcy trustee sues the IRS for recovery of those tax payments as fraudulent transfers.  It does so under two different sections of the Bankruptcy Code: (i) Under § 548, for payments within... Continue Reading →

“Bad” Fraud v. “Desperate” Fraud: The Ancient Pitkin / Brerewood Affair

By Donald L. Swanson Fraudulent conduct is as old as humanity itself. And it’s not going away. A Distinction: Bad Fraud v. Desperate Fraud Not all fraud is alike. --Two Illustrations My first experiences with fraud [or what might have been fraud – I’m not really sure] are in early high school days. Growing up on... 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 →

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