After more than one year since the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, was established pursuant to the US Cares Act in March 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has recently reversed its policy that prohibited companies in bankruptcy from applying for PPP funding due to their status as debtors in bankruptcy.  Specifically, on April 6, 2021, SBA released new guidance as part of its eighth version of Frequently Asked Questions for Borrowers and Lenders Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program,[1] which clarifies what it means to be “presently involved in any bankruptcy.”  As set forth in greater detail below, this newly-issued guidance removes bankruptcy as a roadblock to PPP funding and now permits companies on the road out of bankruptcy to apply for PPP loans before the program’s May 31, 2021 deadline.
Continue Reading Too Little Too Late? After Much Debate, SBA Allows Debtors to Access PPP Loans – But Only on a Limited Basis

In a March 30, 2021 announcement, the Biden administration announced that it would be extending relief to approximately 1.14 million student loan borrowers who previously were not covered under the CARES Act relief enacted last year. These are borrowers who have defaulted on loans issued pursuant to the Federal Family Education Loan Program (“FFELP”). Specifically, under the measure, borrowers who have defaulted on FFELP loans will not face further penalties (and will see penalties already assessed unwound) and will also see their current interest rates reset to 0%.[1] The Biden administration’s action will be retroactive to March 13, 2020—the day the governmental formally declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and will return FFELP loans that defaulted during this period to good standing, with credit bureaus asked to remove any related negative credit reporting, allowing the applicable borrowers to rehabilitate their credit scores.[2]
Continue Reading Approaching Student Loan Relief Piecemeal: The Biden Administration Extends CARES Relief to Defaulted FFELP Student Loan Borrowers; Weighs Options for Further Measures

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