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In its February 25, 2020, decision in Rodriguez v. FDIC, the US Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “Bob Richards rule” (so named for a 1973 Ninth Circuit decision) and held that federal common law does not govern the allocation of tax refunds within a consolidated corporate group in the absence of a tax allocation agreement to the contrary.1 The decision is likely to have significant implications with respect to inter-corporate disputes over the proper allocation of tax refunds.2


Continue Reading US Supreme Court Discards Bob Richards Rule, Holds “Federal Common Law” Does Not Govern Inter-Company Distribution of Tax Refunds

On December 19, 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held in In re Millennium Lab Holdings II, LLC1 that bankruptcy courts have the constitutional authority, well within the constraints of Stern v. Marshall,2 to confirm Chapter 11 reorganization plans containing nonconsensual third-party releases. This decision is notable not only because it is the first federal circuit court of appeals decision addressing (and overruling) a Stern challenge to a bankruptcy court’s authority to approve such releases but also because it was issued in a circuit where the ability of a plan to otherwise provide for nonconsensual releases of third-party claims is already generally recognized.3

Continue Reading Third Circuit Holds Bankruptcy Courts May Constitutionally Confirm a Chapter 11 Plan Containing Nonconsensual Third-Party Releases

Yesterday, in an 8-1 decision, the US Supreme Court held in Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC1 that under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor-licensor’s rejection of a trademark license agreement does not terminate the rights of the licensee to continue using the trademark where those rights would otherwise survive the licensor’s breach of the agreement under non-bankruptcy law.2  The Tempnology decision resolves the most significant unanswered question regarding the treatment of trademark licenses in bankruptcy.

Continue Reading Trademark Licensee May Continue Using Trademark Following Debtor’s Rejection of License Agreement, Supreme Court Rules

On April 23, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, in fraudulent transfer litigation arising out of the 2007 leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company, ruled on one of the significant issues left unresolved by the US Supreme Court in its Merit Management decision last year (which we addressed in a previous post).  The district court held Tribune’s post-bankruptcy litigation trustee was barred from asserting certain constructive fraudulent transfer claims against former Tribune shareholders based on what Judge Denise Cote termed a “straightforward” application of the Section 546(e) settlement payment safe harbor.  See In re Tribune Co. Fraudulent Conveyance Litigation, No. 12 cv 2652 (DLC), 2019 WL 1771786 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2019). In addressing the extent to which a party’s status as a customer of a “financial institution” (as defined in the Bankruptcy Code) affects the applicability of Section 546(e), the district court was the first court post­-Merit Management to squarely address that question.
Continue Reading Debtor Is a Financial Institution for Purposes of Settlement Payment Safe Harbor, Rules Southern District of New York