Law360 reported that the U.S. Trustee’s Office filed a motion opposing a “death trap” provision contained in Avianca Holdings’ Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. In bankruptcy, so-called “death trap” provisions reward classes of creditors for voting in favor of plans of reorganization with higher payouts as an incentive for them to vote to accept a

The Wall Street Journal reports on bond managers’ continued chase for yield, in the continuing, historically low-rate environment, in which yields on even junk bonds have reached record lows not seen in over 30 years. In particular, the Journal notes that some fund managers have even started investing in unrated, illiquid bonds, increasing the risk

Perhaps proving the maxim that people should be careful what they wish for, in a second significant ruling stemming from the Jevic Holding Corp. bankruptcy case, on May 5, 2021, the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware found that Jevic’s Chapter 7 trustee, appointed following the conversion of the debtors’ cases from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, did not have standing to continue claims originally brought against the debtors’ prepetition lenders by the Chapter 11 creditors’ committee. Assuming it is upheld on appeal, the decision leaves Jevic’s unsecured creditors without any further remedy against Jevic’s prepetition lenders—in other words, leaving those employees who successfully fought approval of a prior settlement offer by the same lenders all the way to the United States Supreme Court with no recovery from those lenders. Indeed, the decision appears to be a significant victory for secured lenders generally, underscoring the importance of “challenge” provisions typically included in DIP and cash collateral orders.

Continue Reading Be Careful What You Wish For: Jevic Court Denies Chapter 7 Trustee’s Substitution Request, Potentially Ending Action Versus Prepetition Lenders

Fallout continues from the November 2020 bankruptcy sale of Town Sports’ assets to a new entity backed, in part, by an ad hoc group of Town Sports’ prepetition lenders. A separate group of prepetition lenders who did not participate in the sale filed suit in May against the ad hoc group and the administrative agent for the lender syndicate, alleging that ad hoc group’s actions had rendered the non-participating group’s secured loans “essentially worthless.”[1]  The case, which is still in its early stages, demonstrates the importance of properly documenting a multi-party transaction and also provides another recent example of “lender on lender” violence.
Continue Reading Credit Bidding Gone Awry: Town Sports’ Prepetition Lenders Sue Each Other

Mayer Brown Restructuring Partner Lucy Kweskin recently discussed the current state of the restructuring market with the legal news site Law360.

“I don’t think we’ll really know” where the market is headed, Kweskin noted, “until we see what happens at the end of the year and in the first quarter of 2022.” We need to

Bloomberg reported that USA Gymnastics asked the Southern District of Indiana Bankruptcy Court to enforce the automatic stay and enjoin litigation filed by four plaintiffs seeking to hold the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) liable for sexual abuse committed by convicted child sexual predator Larry Nassar.  USA Gymnastics said allowing the litigation to proceed

The Wall Street Journal reported that the wave of cash raised by special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) is fueling activity in the junk debt market at levels not seen since the dot.com-boom from two decades ago.  So far this year, SPACs have issued roughly $100 billion of stock to purchase private companies and take them public,

On Friday, March 19, 2021, Congressional lawmakers introduced a bill that would amend the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to prohibit bankruptcy judges from permanently enjoining or releasing legal claims of states, tribes, municipalities or the U.S. government against non-debtors.

According to media reports, the bill, which is named the “SACKLER Act,” (i.e., the “Stop Shielding Assets from Corporate Known Liability by Eliminating Non-Debtor Releases Act”) is specifically designed to prevent members of the Sackler family, who own OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma LP, from using the bankruptcy process to obtain legal releases from government lawsuits.  Purdue Pharma LP filed for bankruptcy in September 2019, but none of the members of the Sackler family have filed for bankruptcy as individuals.  Nevertheless, the Sacklers have offered to contribute roughly $4.28 billion as part of a proposed bankruptcy plan to fund payouts to victims who suffered injuries linked to Purdue Pharma’s opioids over the next decade in exchange for legal releases that would enjoin claims against the Sackler family.  If approved, those legal releases would shield the Sackler family from further liability related to the opioid crisis, something that many state attorneys general have ardently opposed. 
Continue Reading Wither Non-Debtor Releases? Purdue Pharma and the Proposed SACKLER Act

On March 10, 2021, the parent company of sports club and gym-operator Town Sports International, LLC, filed a motion seeking to set aside a purported $250,000 settlement agreement between Town Sports and the New York Attorney General arguing that the agreement (1) was barred by the terms of Town Sports’ confirmed chapter 11 plan and (2) in any case, not authorized by Town Sports but instead only by one of its prior attorneys.

As noted in our prior post on the case, Town Sports has been embroiled in litigation with the New York Attorney General since September 2020, when the attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Town Sports arguing that it improperly failed to honor certain of its members’ cancellation requests, and instead continued to assess monthly membership fees, during the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government shutdown orders.  The parties appeared to have settled their lawsuit on March 4, 2021, when a New York state court
Continue Reading Settled or Not? Town Sports Challenges Settlement it Purportedly Entered into with New York Attorney General

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