Chapter 15 Database of U.S. Cross-border Cases


Chapter 15 is a new chapter added to the Bankruptcy Code by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. It is the U.S. domestic adoption of the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency promulgated by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL") in 1997, and it replaces section 304 of the Bankruptcy Code. Because of the UNCITRAL source for chapter 15, the U.S. interpretation must be coordinated with the interpretation given by other countries that have adopted it as internal law to promote a uniform and coordinated legal regime for cross-border insolvency cases.

The purpose of Chapter 15, and the Model Law on which it is based, is to provide effective mechanisms for dealing with insolvency cases involving debtors, assets, claimants, and other parties of interest involving more than one country. This general purpose is realized through five objectives specified in the statute: (1) to promote cooperation between the United States courts and parties of interest and the courts and other competent authorities of foreign countries involved in cross-border insolvency cases; (2) to establish greater legal certainty for trade and investment; (3) to provide for the fair and efficient administration of cross-border insolvencies that protects the interests of all creditors and other interested entities, including the debtor; (4) to afford protection and maximization of the value of the debtor's assets; and (5) to facilitate the rescue of financially troubled businesses, thereby protecting investment and preserving employment. 11 U.S.C. § 1501.

Generally, a chapter 15 case is ancillary to a primary proceeding brought in another country, typically the debtor's home country. As an alternative, the debtor or a creditor may commence a full chapter 7 or chapter 11 case in the United States if the assets in the United States are sufficiently complex to merit a full-blown domestic bankruptcy case. 11 U.S.C. § 1520(c). In addition, under chapter 15 a U.S. court may authorize a trustee or other entity (including an examiner) to act in a foreign country on behalf of a U.S. bankruptcy estate. 11 U.S.C. § 1505.

An ancillary case is commenced under chapter 15 by a "foreign representative" filing a petition for recognition of a "foreign proceeding." (1) 11 U.S.C. § 1504. Chapter 15 gives the foreign representative the right of direct access to U.S. courts for this purpose. 11 U.S.C. § 1509. The petition must be accompanied by documents showing the existence of the foreign proceeding and the appointment and authority of the foreign representative. 11 U.S.C. § 1515. After notice and a hearing, the court is authorized to issue an order recognizing the foreign proceeding as either a "foreign main proceeding" (a proceeding pending in a country where the debtor's center of main interests are located) or a "foreign non-main proceeding" (a proceeding pending in a country where the debtor has an establishment, (2) but not its center of main interests). 11 U.S.C. § 1517. Immediately upon the recognition of a foreign main proceeding, the automatic stay and selected other provisions of the Bankruptcy Code take effect within the United States. 11 U.S.C. § 1520. The foreign representative is also authorized to operate the debtor's business in the ordinary course. Id. The U.S. court is authorized to issue preliminary relief as soon as the petition for recognition is filed. 11 U.S.C. § 1519.

Through the recognition process, chapter 15 operates as the principal door of a foreign representative to the federal and state courts of the United States. 11 U.S.C. § 1509. Once recognized, a foreign representative may seek additional relief from the bankruptcy court or from other state and federal courts and is authorized to bring a full (as opposed to ancillary) bankruptcy case. 11 U.S.C. §§ 1509, 1511. In addition, the representative is authorized to participate as a party of interest in a pending U.S. insolvency case and to intervene in any other U.S. case where the debtor is a party. 11 U.S.C. §§ 1512, 1524.

Chapter 15 also gives foreign creditors the right to participate in U.S. bankruptcy cases and it prohibits discrimination against foreign creditors (except certain foreign government and tax claims, which may be governed by treaty). 11 U.S.C. § 1513. It also requires notice to foreign creditors concerning a U.S. bankruptcy case, including notice of the right to file claims. 11 U.S.C. § 1514.

One of the most important goals of chapter 15 is to promote cooperation and communication between U.S. courts and parties of interest with foreign courts and parties of interest in cross-border cases. This goal is accomplished by, among other things, explicitly charging the court and estate representatives to "cooperate to the maximum extent possible" with foreign courts and foreign representatives and authorizing direct communication between the court and authorized estate representatives and the foreign courts and foreign representatives. 11 U.S.C. §§ 1525 - 1527.

If a full bankruptcy case is initiated by a foreign representative (when there is a foreign main proceeding pending in another country), bankruptcy court jurisdiction is generally limited to the debtor's assets that are located in the United States. 11 U.S.C. § 1528. The limitation promotes cooperation with the foreign main proceeding by limiting the assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction, so as not to interfere with the foreign main proceeding. Chapter 15 also provides rules to further cooperation where a case was filed under the Bankruptcy Code prior to recognition of the foreign representative and for coordination of more than on foreign proceeding. 11 U.S.C. §§ 1529 - 1530.

The UNCITRAL Model Law has also been adopted (with certain variations) in Canada, Mexico, Japan and several other countries. Adoption is pending in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as other countries with significant international economic interests.

NOTES

  1. A "foreign proceeding" is a "judicial or administrative proceeding in a foreign country ... under a law relating to insolvency or adjustment of debt in which proceeding the [debtor's assets and affairs] are subject to control or supervision by a foreign court for the purpose of reorganization or liquidation." 11 U.S.C. § 101(23). A "foreign representative" is the person or entity authorized in the foreign proceeding "to administer the reorganization or liquidation of the debtor's assets or affairs or to act as a representative of such foreign proceeding."
  2. An establishment is a place of operations where the debtor carries out a long term economic activity. 11 U.S.C. § 1502(2).

Thu., May 28, 2015

Thu., May 28, 2015

The liquidators of a pair of failed Cayman Islands-based hedge funds run by a former Harvard quarterback are suing Barclays PLC to claw back some $80 million they say was illegally funneled to the bank to cover margin calls, The Wall Street Journal reported. The offshore funds--ICP Strategic Credit Income Fund Ltd. and ICP Strategic Credit Income Master Fund Ltd. -- were so-called feeder funds managed by ICP Asset Management LLC, a money-management firm founded by Thomas C. Priore. Lawyers for the liquidators said in a suit filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York that Mr. Priore, ICP’s 46-year-old founder and former Harvard University quarterback, fraudulently transferred...

Thu., April 9, 2015

Thu., April 9, 2015

Rizzo Bottiglieri de Carlini Armatori SpA, a marine freight transportation services provider, moved to shield its U.S. assets by filing a bankruptcy petition in Texas after seeking protection from creditors in Italy, Bloomberg News reported. The company filed under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which would prevent creditors from taking action against the company’s U.S.-based assets while it reorganizes under Italian law. The company listed assets and debt of more than $500 million each in court documents filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. The Italian proceeding is before the Court of Torre Annunziata. The company is asking a U.S. judge to recognize the Italian...

Tue., March 17, 2015

Tue., March 17, 2015

South Korean bulker operator Daebo International Shipping has filed for bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York, TradeWinds News reported. The Chapter 15 petition follows an application to commence rehabilitation proceedings in the Seoul Central District Court, which was submitted on 11 February 2015. Since then, at least five creditors have filed lawsuits against Daebo and its affiliates in the US, which is why observers say they aren't surprised by today’s revelation. They note it’s not uncommon for debtors to seek Chapter 15 recognition of foreign restructurings, particularly when a petitioner's assets are targets of domestic suits. On Friday a judge in the...

Tue., December 2, 2014

Tue., December 2, 2014

Three units of PT Bumi Resources, Asia’s most-indebted coal miner, filed for creditor protection in the U.S. after failing to make a semi-annual interest payment, Bloomberg News reported. Bumi Investment Pte Ltd listed assets and debt of as much as $1 billion each in Chapter 15 papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Bumi Capital Pte and Enercoal Resources Pte also sought court protection. Companies use Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code to fend off creditor claims in the U.S. while they reorganize their finances elsewhere. Bumi Investment and Jakarta-based Bumi Resources failed to make a coupon payment on $700 million of October 2017 notes last month, following a 30-day...

Wed., October 22, 2014

Wed., October 22, 2014

LDK Solar Co., the Chinese solar-cell maker that defaulted on its bonds this year, filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. to help carry out restructurings already under way in Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands, Bloomberg News reported. Xinyu, China-based LDK filed for Chapter 15 protection today in Wilmington, Delaware, listing about $1.13 billion in debt and $510 million in assets as of May 31. Chapter 15 is the section of the bankruptcy code used by foreign companies restructuring abroad to fend off creditors and distribute payments in the U.S. Affiliates in the U.S., including LDK Solar Systems Inc., sought protection under Chapter 11. “Since 2011, the group’s financial performance has...

Fri., August 1, 2014

Fri., August 1, 2014

Zodiac Pool Solutions SAS, the Paris-based swimming pool and spa manufacturer, filed Thursday for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. as part of its debt-restructuring effort now under way in the U.K., The Wall Street Journal reported. Formerly known as Zodiac Marine & Pool, Zodiac Pool filed for protection under Chapter 15—the section of the Bankruptcy Code that deals with international insolvencies—in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. In 2007, Washington-based private-equity firm Carlyle Group CG -3.83% LP bought Zodiac and then merged its WaterPik business into the company. Carlyle later split off Zodiac's aerospace division form the pool maker. The company, which...

Fri., December 12, 2014

Fri., December 12, 2014

1. The Momentive Decisions: Cram-Down Interest Rates and Make-Whole Mania

5. Update on the Recognition of the AustralianLiquidation of Octaviar: Satisfying the Debtor Eligibility Requirements in a Chapter 15 Case

6. Speeches, Events and Publications

8. An Introduction to Puerto Rico’s New Public Corporation Debt Enforcement and
Recovery Act

10. Q&A: Puerto Rico’s Public Corporation Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act

12. UK Supreme Court Modernizes Agent’s Duty to Account

Thu., December 11, 2014

Thu., December 11, 2014

On August 27, 2014, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the “Court”) issued a decision enforcing the terms of a Brazilian reorganization plan pursuant to Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In re Rede Energia, S.A., Case No. 14-10078 (SCC) (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. August 27, 2014), ECF No. 35 (the “Decision”). Bankruptcy Judge Shelley C. Chapman rejected challenges by a minority group of bondholders who had alleged that the Brazilian Bankruptcy Proceeding was contrary to U.S. public policy. The Decision is favorable for foreign companies seeking recognition and enforcement of their foreign restructuring proceedings in the United States. It also represents...

Fri., August 29, 2014

Wed., August 6, 2014

Fri., May 30, 2014

Thu., May 15, 2014

Thu., May 15, 2014

Chapter 15 Update (2014 Caribbean Insolvency Symposium) - David J. Molton, Hon. Allan L. Gropper, Hon. Robert A. Mark, Leyza F. Blanco, Prof. Andrew B. Dawson