Category Archives: business filings

TowneSquare Media, LLC v. Brill (7th Cir.)

Justia.com Opinion Summary

Defendant owned companies forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but was not a debtor in the proceedings. The plan was confirmed and prohibited suits against the bankruptcy professionals and certain litigation against pre-bankruptcy creditors. Years later defendant sued plaintiff, pre-judgment creditors, and the bankruptcy professionals in an Indiana state court, based on Indiana law. The creditors removed the suit to bankruptcy court (28 U.S.C. 1452(a)) rather than asking the bankruptcy judge to enforce his order. The statute authorizes removal of any claim of which that court would have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1334, which confers on the district courts original jurisdiction of all civil proceedings arising under the Bankruptcy Code, or “arising in or related to cases under” the Code. The bankruptcy judge determined that the suit against the bankruptcy professionals was barred. Defendant filed an amended complaint eliminating all defendants except plaintiff and stating that the only claims arose from alleged violations of confidentiality agreements. The bankruptcy judge ruled that, as amended, the complaint was unrelated to the bankruptcy and ordered the suit remanded to the state court. The district judge affirmed. The Seventh Circuit concluded that the dismissal was not subject to review.

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7th Cir. Opinions

7th Circuit Opinion Summaries courtesy of Justia.com

United States v. Rogan

Bankruptcy, Criminal Law, Government, White Collar Crime

River Road Hotel Partners, LLC v. Amalgamated Bank

Bankruptcy

Bloomfield State Bank v. United States

Bankruptcy, Real Estate & Property Law, Tax Law

Costello v. Grundon

Bankruptcy, Commercial Law, Securities Law

CDX Liquidating Trust v. Venrock Assocs., et al

Bankruptcy, Business Law, Securities Law

Reedsburg Util. Comm’n v. Grede Foundries, Inc.

Bankruptcy, Utilities Law

Kimbrell v. Brown

Bankruptcy, Injury Law

Reedsburg Util. Comm’n v. Grede Foundries (7th Cir.)

Justia Case Summaries

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Justia.com Opinion Summary:

Wisconsin smelting plant owed more than $1.3 million in delinquent utility charges to the local municipal utility when it filed for Chapter 11. Months later, despite the Automatic Stay, a utility company implemented a process pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes and Local Ordinances 66.0809 and 66.0627 by which the plant’s unpaid utility bills became a lien against the Debtor‘s property. Both the Bankruptcy and District Courts found that none of the exceptions to the Automatic Stay applied to make their actions. They were, in fact, a violation of the Stay.  The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that no exception to the Stay applied and the offending utility company creditor did not obtain a pre-petition security interest in the plant’s property by providing services or by giving notice in the form of billing. Finally, the 7th Circuit agreed with the District Court that the utility bills produced did not amount to a “tax or special assessment” that would have exempted them from the operation of the Stay.

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In re Netzel, 08-046723 (ND IL ED) (J. Doyle)

Bankruptcy_court_logo

Issued: January 20, 2011 by Judge Doyle

Case #: 09 B 46723, 10 A 01292

The Issue: Whether an individual creditor has  standing under  § 523(a)(4) to bring a direct action against directors of an insolvent corporation for breach of fiduciary duty.

The Story: Debtor owned a plumbing company.  Plaintiff claimed that Debtor breached his fiduciary duty to creditors after the plumbing company became insolvent due to the diversion of company funds to pay for the Debtor’s personal debts.  Creditor claimed that the debt was non-dischargeable in bankruptcy under Rule 523(a)(4).  The court held that the individual creditor lacked standing.   Also a good walk thru on Illinois law about “Special Circumstances Fiduciary Duty.”

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Harris v. Gander Partners (ND IL)

Harris N.A. v. Gander Partners LLC ,(N.D.Ill.)

Issue: When an LLC is in Chapter 11 reorganization, can a creditor collect directly from the principals of the company instead?

Answer: Apparently not in the Northern District of Illinois

Upshot: Here, the Court upheld an injunction entered by the Bankruptcy Court after determining that

  • The participation of these principles was essential to the company’s reorganization
  • If these principles were distracted by this lawsuit the reorganization would likely fail
  • Many other creditors would be harmed financially if this reorganization failed; and
  • The creditor seeking to collect only faced only a temporary stay, anyway.

In the immortal words of Spockcirca Star Trek IIthe needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

 

In re Adolph, 09-32836 (ND Ill. ED)(J. Goldgar)

In re Braden J. Adolph, 09-32836
Issued: January 28, 2011
By:  A. Benjamin Goldgar

The Issues
: The proper use and interpretation of 11 USC 707(a) and (b), the dynamic duo of bankruptcy dismissal. Under consideration is the distinction between dismissal for cause via 707(a) and the presumption of abuse in 707(b).

The Upshot
: Judge Goldgar engages in a close analysis of 11 USC 707 and determines that bad faith is not a reason to dismiss under 707(a) and only consumer debts can be excepted from discharge under 707(b) – especially in light of BAPCPA. In this case, where an Attorney seeks his fees from a business debtor of his Client, the Court finds him to be out of luck – not a consumer debt, and not a bad faith filing. Boom shakalaka.

Click here to view and download the opinion in .pdf format.

 

In re Berman, 7th Cir.

The Upshot: A Chapter 7 Debtor that was the sole shareholder and director of a debt-ridden company is not a fiduciary as to creditor of his company merely because the company was insolvent when he filed his personal bankruptcy.

Discussion: Chapter 7 Debtor was the sole shareholder and director of a company that owned money as the result of activity that pre-dated his filing. One of the creditors of his company argued that since it had incurred debts while it was presumptively insolvent, the debts were presumptively fraudulent, making the Debtor a “special fiduciary” as to creditors under Illinois law. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that even if the Debtor did constitute a so-called “special fiduciary” under state law, he was not a fiduciary under 11 USC 523(a)(4). In other words, not all fiduciaries as the term is defined in State law stand in a “fiduciary capacity” under Bankruptcy law. Moreover said the Court, Congress did not intend for Sec. 523(a)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code to render officers and directors de facto liable for corporate debts; although they might be, if some other rationale justified holding them liable (i.e. fraud or defalcation).