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).

Mon., April 21, 2014

Mon., April 21, 2014

Mt. Gox customers with frozen bitcoin accounts are targeting Chief Executive Mark Karpeles, arguing in court papers he is unfit to lead the Japanese bitcoin exchange through its U.S. bankruptcy case, The Wall Street Journal reported. In papers filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas, lawyers for several Mt. Gox customers pointed out Mr. Karpeles has been accused of fraud and said he should no longer have power over Mt. Gox's U.S. assets in his official role as Mt. Gox Co.'s foreign representative. "At minimum, he is guilty of gross mismanagement," the lawyers for customers said in court papers. Leaders who are in charge of a bankrupt company often have a responsibility...

Fri., March 28, 2014

Fri., March 28, 2014

Among the various US property assets controlled by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the zombie corpse of Anglo, there appears to be a circus, the Irish Times reported. Okay, that’s not quite true – it’s actually a shopping centre in Tampa, Florida called the Channelside Bay Mall – but the legal furore surrounding the bank’s efforts to offload it is turning into a circus. IBRC, which has Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the US, has been hit with a blizzard of lawsuits in recent weeks over Channelside. Potential buyers are fighting to gain control of the dilapidated centre, which IBRC controls on foot of a 2006 $27 million loan to a New York company. Three rival...

Thu., March 13, 2014

Thu., March 13, 2014

Two months before Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy it was sued by a customer seeking the return of funds in a case that highlights some of the red flags raised in the run-up to the collapse of what was once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, Reuters reported. New York resident Marko Simovic filed a civil action at the Tokyo District Court on Dec. 24, seeking to recover $105,000 he had on deposit at Mt. Gox and about $14,000 in interest, court filings show. Simovic, who described himself as a software developer who previously managed the bitcoin operations for a hedge fund, said Mt. Gox dodged repeated requests to withdraw funds from his account, which as of July 1 was credited with $935,...

Wed., March 12, 2014

Wed., March 12, 2014

A federal judge in Chicago froze the U.S. assets of the chief executive of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox as part of a customer lawsuit against the defunct bitcoin trading exchange, The Wall Street Journal reported. Separately, regulators took steps to gain greater control of the fledgling virtual currency and protect consumers from bitcoin scammers. The moves are the latest in a string of legal and regulatory developments related to five-year-old bitcoin, which has exploded in value and popularity over the past year but also has attracted scrutiny for its ties to illegal activity such as money laundering. Mt. Gox collapsed last month and has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and...

Mon., February 24, 2014

Mon., February 24, 2014

Suntech Power Holdings Corp., the Chinese solar-panel maker that defaulted on $541 million of bonds, filed for bankruptcy court protection from U.S. creditors as it liquidates in the Cayman Islands, Bloomberg News reported. The company filed its Chapter 15 petition late Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan as part of a restructuring agreement with petitioners seeking an involuntary filing last year. In November, Suntech told the court that the proposed action by U.S. creditors could derail restructuring efforts. “The Chapter 15 petition is a very important step to conclude a successful restructuring of the company as it would allow a centralized process to assert and resolve...

Wed., February 5, 2014

Wed., February 5, 2014

Hibu, the Reading-based Yellow Pages company, has placed six US subsidiaries into Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection as the firm attempts to restructure its overseas operations, following the firm’s UK restructuring which started last month, IT Pro Portal reported. Hibu filed with the US Bankruptcy Court in New York, listing over $1 billion (£600 million) in assets and liabilities. Just over half of Hibu’s revenue comes from the US, where it operates the “Yellowbook” (the US version of the Yellow Pages directory) across most states. The firm employs almost 5,000 personnel in America. Hibu called itself “an integrated and complex enterprise,” according to the Daily Bankruptcy...

Case Number: 13-10888-KG
Date Filed: Fri, 04/12/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Delaware)
Judge: Kevin Gross
Case Number: 13-10954-mg
Date Filed: Fri, 03/29/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
Judge: Martin Glenn
Associated Files:
Case Number: 13-10888-shl
Date Filed: Mon, 03/25/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
Judge: Sean H. Lane
Associated Files:
Case Number: 13-00020
Date Filed: Fri, 03/15/2013
Court: Bankruptcy Division, District Court of Guam (Hagatna)
Judge: Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood
Associated Files:
Case Number: 13-11632-MLB
Date Filed: Tue, 02/26/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle)
Judge: Marc Barreca
Case Number: 13-10526-scc
Date Filed: Mon, 02/25/2013
Court: United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York
Case Number: 13-10361-mg
Date Filed: Mon, 02/04/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
Judge: Martin Glenn
Case Number: 8-13-70078-ast
Date Filed: Mon, 01/07/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip)
Judge: Alan S Trust
Case Number: 8-13-70085-ast
Date Filed: Mon, 01/07/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip)
Judge: Alan S Trust
Associated Files:
Case Number: 8-13-70087-ast
Date Filed: Mon, 01/07/2013
Court: U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip)
Judge: Alan S Trust
Associated Files:

This database collects and summarizes U.S. opinions issued in or related to chapter 15 cases. The database does not include every written decision issued in such cases, however. In addition, nothing herein is intended to provide legal advice, and no legal or business decision should be based on its content.

Case Name Foreign proceeding Locations Bankruptcy Provisions Summary
In re Qimonda AG, 2011 WL 5149831 (Bankr. E.D.Va. 2011) German insolvency proceeding Europe, Germany 1506, 1521, 1522, 365 On remand from the District Court, the Bankruptcy Court held that the failure of German insolvency law to afford patent licensees the protections they would enjoy under section 365(n) of the Bankruptcy Code (a) is “manifestly contrary” to the public policy of the United States, and (b) did not ensure that licensees of the debtor’s United States patents are “sufficiently protected.” The Bankruptcy Court accordingly denied the foreign representative’s motion to remove reference to section 365(n) of the Bankruptcy Code from the order granting relief in favor of the foreign proceeding, and clarified that section 365(n) applies in the chapter 15 case with respect to the foreign debtor’s US patents.
In re Daewoo Logistics Corporation, 2011 WL 4706197 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Oct. 5, 2011) Korean rehabilitation proceeding Asia, South Korea 1517, 1518, 1520, 1521, 362 Bankruptcy Court denied foreign debtor's motion seeking an order directing a creditor to release funds the debtor had posted as security for releasing a vessel that the creditor had arrested following the close of the Korean proceeding. The Bankruptcy Court held that, consistent with the ancillary nature of Chapter 15, absent exigent circumstances, a stay imposed pursuant to Chapter 15 is coterminous with the stay in the corresponding foreign proceeding. Accordingly, when the Korean rehabilitation case closed, the corresponding chapter 15 stay also terminated.
In re Millennium Global Emerging Credit Master Fund Ltd., 2011 WL 3805787 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Aug. 26, 2011) Bermuda liquidation proceeding Bermuda, North America 108, 1502, 1515, 1516, 1517 Bankruptcy Court entered an order recognizing the Bermuda liquidation proceeding of two offshore investment funds as foreign main proceedings, or alternatively, as foreign nonmain proceedings. The Bankruptcy Court held that the date of the commencement of the foreign proceeding, not the date on which the chapter 15 petition was filed in the US, was the relevant date for purposes of determining the existence of the foreign debtors’ “center of main interests” or “establishment.” The Bankruptcy Court also adopted the reasoning of In re Fairfield Sentry, 452 B.R. 52 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2011), holding that the two-year tolling period of section 108 of the Bankruptcy Code applies in Chapter 15 cases.
In re Glitnir banki hf, 2011 WL 3652764 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Aug. 19, 2011) Icelandic liquidation Europe, Iceland 1521 Bankruptcy Court entered an order granting in part and denying in part a motion to quash subpoenas served by the Foreign Representative of Glitner banki hf, an Icelandic bank, seeking production of documents containing, among other things, personal financial information of two individuals who allegedly acted as “ring leaders” of a scheme to loot the bank. Among other rulings, the Bankruptcy Court held that the scope of the Foreign Representative’s discovery should meet the criteria of Chapter 15 and accordingly, should be limited to those materials that were germane to the assets, affairs, rights and obligations or liabilities of the foreign debtor.
In re Fairfield Sentry Ltd., 2011 WL 1998376 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. May 23, 2011) British Virgin Islands liquidation. British Virgin Islands, North America, Road Town 108, 1507, 1521 Bankruptcy Court entered order holding that the two-year tolling period of section 108 of the Bankruptcy Code applies in chapter 15 cases or alternatively, is otherwise appropriate as discretionary or additional relief available in a chapter 15 case.
In re Fairfield Sentry Ltd., 2011 WL 1998374 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. May 23, 2011) British Virgin Islands liquidation British Virgin Islands, North America, Road Town 1334, 1452, 1521, 157 Bankruptcy Court denied motion to remand to the state court numerous lawsuits filed by the foreign representatives of the foreign debtors in the U.S., holding among other things (a) that the Bankruptcy Court had core jurisdiction over the actions; (b) that Chapter 15 did not otherwise prohibit subject matter jurisdiction over the action; (c) that even if the actions were not core proceedings, they were “related to” the foreign debtors’ Chapter 15 cases; and (d) that equitable remand and permissive abstention were unavailable or otherwise denied; (e) mandatory abstention was unavailable; and (f) deadline for removal was 90 days after recognition order.

Tue., January 7, 2014

Thu., December 5, 2013

Mon., September 30, 2013

Mon., September 23, 2013

Mon., September 23, 2013

It’s a Small World, After All: Cross-Border Bankruptcies (ABI/GULC Views from the Bench, 2013) - Hon. Martin Glenn, Hon. James M. Peck, Hon. Francis J.C. Newbould, Hon. Christopher S. Sontchi, Gregg M. Galardi, Gary T. Holtzer

Tue., September 10, 2013