My oldest son asked me to look up a case in North Dakota. A related case called J&J Oilfield Services, Inc. caught my eye. The docket was some 479 items resulting in a confirmed plan. So the case is nice and complicated. But take a look at the employment app debtor’s counsel filed. Employ App North Dakota One page! And one page for the Statement of Disinterestedness. The Motion for Final Decree is here. Final Decree North Dakota One page. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.
My discussion, What is the Value of Property in a Chapter 11 Plan? The 9th Circuit Goofs, of the debacle known as Sunnyslope is here and here. Thankfully, the 9th Circuit decided to rehear the matter en banc. The en banc hearing will take place in San Francisco on January 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm. See you there?
Judge Maureen Tighe announced in court today that she is going to start sanctioning attorneys and chapter 11 debtors when the debtor does not appear personally at the Status Conference – per her status conference order.
Effective August 1, 2016,the following forms can be used in individual Chapter 11 cases in front of Judge Zurzolo:
(1) Disclosure Statement and Plan (combined document) [I WORKED ON THESE WITH HIM!]
(2) Notice of Hearing on Adequacy of Disclosure Statement
(3) Motion to Approve Adequacy of Disclosure Statement
(4) Notice of Dates and Deadlines Related to Confirmation of Plan
(5) Motion to Confirm Plan of Reorganization
Link to the Judge’s website here.
There was some serious discussion at one of the programs at the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference about Sunnyslope, more in the area of equitable mootness than in property valuation issues. Someone reminded us that a confirmed plan in a corporate chapter 11 cannot be modified after it has been substantially consummated. In Sunnyslope, everyone involved in the case agreed that the plan was substantially consummated. The opinion says, ”the plan as approved by the bankruptcy court was substantially consummated, as all parties acknowledge.” So it must be “unraveled,” – pitched out. The court (the two person majority) concluded, “As a result, the plan of reorganization confirmed by the bankruptcy court and affirmed by the district court must be set aside.” So I guess it will not be modified, the parties will simply start over four years later. Read more…
To cram down a secured creditor, the debtor must pay the “allowed secured claim” in full. Section 506(a) tells us that the allowed secured claim is the value of the property. It clarifies that by saying, “Such value shall be determined in light of the purpose of the valuation and of the proposed disposition or use of such property.” That means that if the debtor intends to keep the property, it must be valued as a going concern, i.e., the value for the use that the debtor proposes.
In In re Sunnyslope Housing Limited Partnership — F. 3d, —- (9th Cir. April, 2016), we have some weird facts that have resulted in a totally wrong ruling. Read more…
My sense is that Judge Watford should have referred to the creditor’s objection to Penrod’s 506b motion rather than its objection to her Plan’s confirmation.
By challenging the bankruptcy code’s ability to modify the vehicle loan (no use of 506 where negative equity was added to the loan originated within 910 days of the petition), the creditor was litigating enforceability of its contract as falling outside the scope of the code rather than acknowledge that it’s contact was subject to the code and fighting over how the code functions – like the more general modification of contract rights that are the focus of plan confirmation, relief from stay and such.
If you take Judge Watford’s premise that the contract rights were at play because of the creditor’s plan confirmation objection, then the only way to reconcile Bos and David’s RFS opinion is to view everything through the OJ Dream Team lense where the highest priced legal team prevail in court.
I thought I knew where we are on attorneys fees after the 9th Circuit ruled in In re Penrod that a creditor fighting with a debtor in a bankruptcy case, is an effort by the creditor to collect its debt form the debtor, and therefore an “action on the contract” and therefore, assuming there is a right to attorneys fees in the contract, the bankruptcy court can award attorneys fees to the debtor.
My friend Peter Lively was surprised to hear me say recently that I think that Penrod allows for attorneys fees to the debtor anytime the debtor defeats any creditor efforts in a bankruptcy case including stay relief motions, oppositions to plan confirmation, battles over property values, cash collateral, plan fights. His sense was that since Penrod was over the issue of bifurcating a car loan, it didn’t necessarily extend out to everything else. He promised to look into it further.
In Penrod Judge Watford wrote:
“Under California law, an action is ‘on a contract’ when a party seeks to enforce, or avoid enforcement of, the provisions of the contract. AmeriCredit sought to enforce the provisions of its contract with Penrod when it objected to confirmation of her proposed Chapter 13 plan.”
“AmeriCredit insisted that it was entitled to have its claim treated as fully secured. The only possible source of that asserted right was the contract—in particular, the provision in which Penrod granted a security interest in her Taurus to secure ‘payment of all you owe on this contract.’” Read more…
I had a good time at the annual NACBA meeting last weekend in San Fran. I did a program on individual chapter 11 cases with Judge Laurel Davis from Las Vegas and bankruptcy pundit Wayne Silver from San Jose. We decided to let the audience, which was quite substantial, ask questions and I definitely learned a few things.
One big lesson was about whether plans must be five years, in other words, whether the individual must pay his net disposable income into the plan for five years. It sure seems to say that in Section 1129(a)(15). I know that it is required only “when a creditor objects,” but I sort of assumed that less that five years would bring an objection so it should be presumed to be five years. There was a question about whether a “no” vote on the plan by an unsecured creditor is an “objection” but we obviously did not resolve that. Read more…