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Reporting from the Wall Street Journal details an independent monitor’s conclusion that Texas’ Public Utility Commission overcharged market participants by approximately $16 billion dollars during Texas’ recent energy crisis by electing to keep wholesale prices raised for 33 hours longer than the monitor deemed necessary. Although the monitor urged the Public Utility Commission of Texas

In a recent opinion issued in the Cinemex theater bankruptcy cases, In re Cinemex USA Real Estate Holdings, Inc., Case No. 20-14695-BKC-LMI, 2021 WL 564486 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. Jan. 27, 2021), Judge Laurel M. Isicoff of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that while Cinemex was excused from paying rent under a lease for one of its Florida theaters for the time period during which Cinemex, and other non-essential businesses, were barred entirely from opening under Florida’s COVID shutdown orders, Cinemex’s obligation to pay rent was not excused, and the lessors were entitled to payment of rent as an administrative priority expense, once Florida’s shutdown orders were lifted and Cinemex was allowed to reopen, even if only at partial capacity.

Continue Reading Opinion of Interest – In re Cinemex:  COVID or Not, Parties Still Bound by Lease Terms

Reuters reports that the involuntary bankruptcy proceeding filed against Navient by three student loan borrowers on February 8, 2021 was dismissed on February 25, 2021. In dismissing the case, Judge Martin Glenn of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York noted that there was no evidence Navient was not paying its

Perhaps not unexpectedly, on February 25, 2021, a New York bankruptcy court dismissed the involuntary bankruptcy petition brought earlier in the month by three student loan borrowers against Navient Solutions (see our prior post on the borrowers’ petition here).  Navient is the student loan servicing arm of Navient Corporation, one of the world’s largest student loan-originators.

Continue Reading Navient Case Dismissed Confirming High Bar to Involuntary Bankruptcy Petitions

Just after 5:00 p.m. Central Time on February 23, 2021, Belk, Inc. and its affiliates filed chapter 11 petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, along with a proposed “prepackaged” plan of reorganization.   Before midnight, the US Trustee objected to Belk’s plan, and, by 8:00 a.m. the next day, the parties were in court to decide plan confirmation.  Two hours later, Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur confirmed the plan, and it became effective that afternoon, just 20 hours after the Chapter 11 cases were filed.  Typically, chapter 11 debtors take many months, if not longer, to confirm a plan, and even prepackaged bankruptcy cases like Belk’s often take several weeks from filing to confirmation.   As we discuss in this post, Belk’s swift bankruptcy case is part of a growing trend of bankruptcy courts confirming chapter 11 plans shortly after case filing where there is adequate notice and creditor buy-in prior to the filing.

Continue Reading Belk Chapter 11 Plan Confirmed and Effective Within 24 Hours of Bankruptcy Filing

On February 8, 2021, three student loan borrowers filed an involuntary petition against Navient Solutions LLC in New York bankruptcy court seeking to force Navient into bankruptcy.[1]  Navient Solutions is the loan servicing arm of Navient Corporation, a student loan originator which manages approximately $300 billion in student loan debt for more than 12 million borrowers.  Involuntary petitions like the one instituted by the borrowers here are somewhat rare, at least in the case of larger companies like Navient, and the Bankruptcy Code provides special procedural rules, discussed below, which are designed in part to protect against potential abuses.

Continue Reading Navient Solutions & The High Bar to Involuntary Bankruptcy Petitions

As Texas recovers from its winter energy crisis, hard hit consumers and retail power providers may be facing potential bankruptcies caused by the extreme price fluctuations experienced during the cold. The New York Times describes the plight faced by consumers who may face energy bills in the thousands. And retail power companies that supplied power

In a January 2021 decision issued in the re-opened United Refining Company1 bankruptcy case, Judge Lopez of the Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Court addressed when a tort claim is deemed to arise for purposes of determining whether it was discharged.  In particular, the court had to determine whether an asbestos-related claim arose at the time of exposure (in other words, the time at which the damaging act occurred) or at the time when the harm is diagnosed (in other words, when the claim was discovered).  Complicating things for the court was a lack of records from the 1980s bankruptcy case at issue, which also led to uncertainty as to whether the claimant had notice of the bankruptcy.  That in turn could have led to the conclusion that his claim had not been discharged regardless of the court’s determination of when the claim accrued.  As discussed below, the Court concluded that the claim was a prepetition claim discharged under the plan, and that all creditors were bound by such plan absent a showing that there was no proper notice.

Continue Reading Opinion of Interest – In re United Refining Company: Destruction of Records and the Accrual of Tort Claims

The Wall Street Journal reports that high demand for corporate debt has allowed even the riskiest of companies to refinance their debt at interest rates that have typically been reserved for only the safest types of debt. Since the beginning of the year through February 10, over $13 billion of new debt has been issued,

Bloomberg reports that at least seven new-issue CLOs are currently marketing, with January new-issue volume at nearly $9 billion.  The rise in sales comes as risk premiums for new transactions have tightened to pre-pandemic levels, prompting managers to market new deals at favorable terms and refinance and reset existing bonds at cheaper costs.  [Bloomberg; Feb.