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

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the CAA), which President Trump signed into law on December 27, 2020, amends several provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.  While a number of the amendments are applicable only to small businesses (e.g., businesses eligible to file under the new small-business subchapter of the Bankruptcy Code and/or businesses eligible to receive PPP loans), several others have more general application, as discussed below.

Continue Reading December 2020 Appropriations Act Amends Several Provisions of the Bankruptcy Code

Reporting from S&P Global shows that from January 1, 2020 through December 13, 2020, there were 610 commercial bankruptcy filings by public and private entities with at least $2 million in reported assets or liabilities at the time of the bankruptcy filing. Entities in the consumer discretionary, industrial, energy, and healthcare industries made up over

The Wall Street Journal reports that on September 17, 2020, GNC Holdings, Inc. obtained authorization from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to sell substantially all of its assets to one of its largest shareholders, China-based Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Co., for approximately $760 million in spite of national security concerns raised

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Sherrod Brown recently introduced the Medical Bankruptcy Fairness Act, which would allow consumer debtors to discharge student loans based on either economic loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or substantial medical debt within the three years before filing for bankruptcy, reports Forbes. [Forbes; July 24, 2020]

Bloomberg reports that creditors

Mayer Brown partners Michael Fiddy, Amy Jacks, and Devi Shah, counsel Sheena Frazer and Alexandra Wood, senior associate Nicola Collins, and associates Fatema Begum and Amy Halsall recorded a five-episode podcast series focusing on the key reforms proposed by the UK government’s anticipated draft legislation (the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill), which aims to provide

Law360 reports that Bar Louie has cancelled a previously scheduled chapter 11 auction and will, instead, be sold to its secured lenders that served as the stalking horse bidder. Bar Louie reportedly received no other qualified bids. [Law360; Mar. 27, 2020]

The recently enacted CARES Act seeks to aid consumer and small business debtors, reports

Bloomberg reports on slowing U.S. growth as trade wars weigh on businesses [Yahoo News, Bloomberg; July 26, 2019]

Windstream’s dispute with its REIT spinoff Uniti heats up, as Windstream seeks to recharacterize its $650 million-per-year lease agreement with Uniti as a disguised financing [Law360; July 25, 2019]

Virginia congressman’s bill on small business bankruptcy reform

Bipartisan proposal for new small business provisions in Bankruptcy Code [American Bankruptcy Institute Journal; May 2019]

Latest memo from Oaktree’s Howard Marks on why this time market cycle isn’t different [OakTree; June 12, 2019]

Is the “vast” liquidity in the market a mirage?  Bloomberg chimes in [Bloomberg; June 13, 2019]

Morgan Stanley Business Conditions Index