Small business bankruptcies increased debt ceiling sunsets on March 27, 2021

The SBRA debt limit was $2.7 million, of which 50% had to be business debt.  The CARES Act, which became effective March 27, 2020, increased the debt ceiling to $7.5 million.   That increase will terminate on March 27, 2021 unless Congress takes further action, which most of us are assuming will happen.  But it may not.  Eligible small business debtors should promptly consider whether to take advantage of Subchapter V before the CARES Act modifications expire and the eligibility debt ceiling returns to $2.7 million. Unless the March 27, 2021 deadline is extended by Congress, we expect a sharp increase of Chapter 11 filings under Subchapter V at the end of 2020 through Q1 2021.

UST Quarterly Fees changing as of April 1, 2021

From the UST website:

FEE SCHEDULE FOR CALENDAR QUARTERS BEGINNING

APRIL 1, 2021 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2025

The Bankruptcy Administration Improvement Act of 2020, Pub. L. No. 116-325, enacted on January 12, 2021, temporarily amended the calculation of chapter 11 quarterly fees for calendar quarters beginning April 1, 2021 through December 31, 2025. Under this amendment, the quarterly fee payable for a calendar quarter shall be the greater of: (1) 0.4% of disbursements or $250 for each quarter in which disbursements total less than $1,000,000, and (2) 0.8% of disbursements but not more than $250,000 for each quarter in which disbursements total at least $1,000,000. The following table displays the disbursement ranges and quarterly fees under the amended quarterly fee schedule for calendar quarters beginning April 1, 2021 through December 31, 2025.

TOTAL QUARTERLY DISBURSEMENTS QUARTERLY FEE
$0 to $62,624 $250
$62,625 to $999,999 0.4% of quarterly disbursements
$1,000,000 to $31,249,937 0.8% of quarterly disbursements
$31,249,938 or more $250,000

FEE SCHEDULE FOR CALENDAR QUARTERS BEGINNING
JANUARY 1, 2018 THROUGH MARCH 31, 2021 Read more…

Chapter 11 filings in the Central District

Notwithstanding the low number of bankruptcy cases filed in January 2021 in the Central District, there were 22 chapter 11s which I think is pretty normal.  Of those, 9 were sub V small business cases.

January 2021 filings – ugh!

Total filings in the Central District of California for January 2021 were a whopping 37% less than January of last year.

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Jan 1,783 2,828 2,745 2,741 2,839 2,872 3,364 4,704
Feb 2,781 2,754 2,708 2,795 3,299 3,829 4,574
March 2,736 3,481 3,363 3,782 3,923 4,496 5,430
April 1,669 3,631 3,277 3,209 3,584 4,486 5,364
May 2,080 3,347 3,226 3,384 3,484 3,971 5,500
June 2,257 2,967 2,981 3,252 3,545 3,966 4,386
July 2,415 3,270 3,057 2,953 3,239 3,731 4,701
Aug 2,355 3,274 3,337 3,387 3,543 3,544 4,540
Sept 2,169 2,934 2,772 3,071 3,168 3,493 4,317
Oct 2,210 3,355 3,259 3,170 3,235 3,751 4,554
Nov 1,730 2,636 2,821 3,004 3,025 3,531 3,642
Dec 1,665 2,723 2,419 2,416 2,902 2,718 3,733
Total 26,895 37,117 35,961 37,262 39,819 44,880 55,445

Filings by chapter

Non-Comm’l Commercial Chapter 7 Chapter 13 Chapter 11
1,599 184 1,597 164 22
6% 1% 6% 1% 0%

Talk about slow?  Vermont had 18 cases in total in January.  Alaska 19, Montana 38.  New York had 1,194 in the whole state.  Texas 1,429 in the whole state.

Some thoughts on City of Chicago v. Fulton

So now we have to file something to get the auto lender to turn over the vehicle, or the judgment creditor who has seized something like money in the bank, equipment or other assets.  The attorneys in our office, who have more boots on the ground than I, are not particularly concerned.  The attitude in our office, at least with the auto lenders, is you contact them, give them proof of insurance, offer to make adequate protection payments and there likely will not be a problem.  I’m not so sure.  My spidey sense says that they now have a lot more clout and will use it. Read more…

San Fernando Valley Bar Assn program this Friday Feb 5, 2021

Email from Steve Fix:

Dear All:

This program, dismissing complaints under Rule 12, is anything but boring.  The bar association has put two top notch (and quite humorous) speakers together on the panel.  The Honorable Barry Russell and Scott Bovitz will take us through a neat power point presentation on taking apart an opponent’s complaint, strategies whether you should bring a motion to dismiss and all of the fun that goes into these motions. Read more…

December filings, pretty low again

There were a total of 1,665 bankruptcy petitions filed in the Central District of California in December 2020.  That is the lowest month of 2020.  Total filings for the year are 26,895 or 28% fewer than last year.

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Jan 2,828 2,745 2,741 2,839 2,872 3,364 4,704
Feb 2,781 2,754 2,708 2,795 3,299 3,829 4,574
March 2,736 3,481 3,363 3,782 3,923 4,496 5,430
April 1,669 3,631 3,277 3,209 3,584 4,486 5,364
May 2,080 3,347 3,226 3,384 3,484 3,971 5,500
June 2,257 2,967 2,981 3,252 3,545 3,966 4,386
July 2,415 3,270 3,057 2,953 3,239 3,731 4,701
Aug 2,355 3,274 3,337 3,387 3,543 3,544 4,540
Sept 2,169 2,934 2,772 3,071 3,168 3,493 4,317
Oct 2,210 3,355 3,259 3,170 3,235 3,751 4,554
Nov 1,730 2,636 2,821 3,004 3,025 3,531 3,642
Dec 1,665 2,723 2,419 2,416 2,902 2,718 3,733
Total 26,895 37,117 35,961 37,262 39,819 44,880 55,445

Filings by chapter for the year were

Non-Comm’l Commercial Chapter 7 Chapter 13 Chapter 11
24,451 2,449 23,072 3,525 299
91% 9% 86% 13% 1%

It’s not only slow here:  Texas had 1,789 – that is the total for the four Texas districts!  So the whole state of Texas.  New York had a total of 1,365 – again for all four districts!  The whole state of New York.  More?  The state of Washington – 552 cases in December.  Alaska you ask?  36 cases in December – 313 cases the whole year!  You get the idea.  Filings are slow.

Chapter 11 filings in December 2020 – 14 total.

There were 18 chapter 11 petitions filed in the Central District of California in December 2020.  Five of those appear to be related, and will be jointly administered – so the total is really 14.  Of the 14, five were “subchapter V, small business” cases.  One case is SFV, two Santa Ana, one SB and one Riverside.   The “big one,” i.e., five filings, Airport Van Rental, Inc., was filed by Zev Shechtman and John Tedford, assigned to Judge Sheri Bluebond.

Brown v. Board of Education redux

I was looking up something the other day and saw the Supreme Court opinion in Brown v. Bd of Ed.  I’m not sure I’ve ever actually read the case.  So I copied it and read it this morning, Saturday morning after my daily walk with my wife to get coffee.

My first thought about the case is the length of the opinion – 4 and a half pages before footnotes, 1873 words!  Oh for those days again, simplicity!

As for the merits, there is an interesting (and short) summary of grade school education in 1868 when the 14th Amendment was enacted, trying to figure out what Congress and the state meant when ratifying the 14th amendment.   Grade school education was largely non-existent then, certainly public education and especially in rural areas – so not much help there.  “We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.” Read more…

Small Business Reorganization Task Force Issues its Report

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California Small Business Reorganization Task Force has issued its report.  The report can be accessed here.    They created some new forms, suggested four new local rules and refinements of seven other existing rules.  The report has a spreadsheet with the names of all the SBRA cases filed (or converted) so far in our district.  Looks like a ton of effort was made.  Let me know what you think.