Partially walking back her prior pronouncements suggesting that she would rule to the contrary (which we previously wrote about here), on October 13, 2021, District Court Judge Colleen McMahon denied the U.S. Trustee’s request for an emergency stay pending appeal of the Purdue Pharma confirmation order.  In a related order issued three days earlier, Judge McMahon had noted that she “fully” intended to grant the stay request so long as she had jurisdiction to do so.  In the end, however, the District Court was persuaded to deny the request based on the debtors’ agreement not to raise equitable mootness as a defense to the appeal and by the debtors’ commitment to provide 14 days’ advance notice of the plan going fully effective.  The U.S. Trustee had argued that a stay was still required, notwithstanding these conditions, given the weightiness of the issues at stake and the potential for later equitable mootness-related issues.  While sympathizing with this position, the District Court ultimately found that the U.S. Trustee had not shown a sufficient likelihood of any “concrete harm” that could arise between the date of the District Court’s ruling and the next-scheduled hearing on the nearly identical stay motion back in the Bankruptcy Court.  The District Court nonetheless emphasized that it would “not allow this appeal to be equitably mooted” and if, at any time, “it appears that imminent action might lead to that result,” the movants were invited to “knock on [Judge McMahon’s] door.”

Continue Reading Stay and Direct Appeal Requests Denied in Purdue Pharma; District Court Commits to Shielding Case from Equitable Mootness Concerns

On October 10, 2021, Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a temporary restraining order, delaying implementation of Purdue Pharma’s plan of reorganization, which was confirmed by Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain on September 17th, pending argument on the U.S. Trustee’s motion for a stay pending appeal

On September 1, 2021, Judge Robert Drain issued a much-anticipated oral ruling approving Purdue Pharma L.P.’s plan of reorganization. The plan, which has garnered significant attention from the media, legislators, academics, and practitioners, releases current and future members of the Sackler family and many of their associates and affiliated companies – none of whom filed for bankruptcy themselves – from liability in connection with any possible harm caused by OxyContin and other opioids that Purdue Pharma manufactured and distributed. In return for the liability releases, the Sacklers will, over a nine-year period, contribute up to $4.325 billion to a settlement fund from which payments will be made primarily to compensate victims and to fund initiatives to abate the opioid epidemic.

Continue Reading SDNY Bankruptcy Court OKs Purdue Pharma’s Plan of Reorganization Featuring Third-Party Releases for Sacklers in Exchange for Contributing $4.325 Billion to Opioid Victim Settlement Fund

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,