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The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”) is a federal statute that provides a cause of action against a railroad employer that negligently injured a railroad employee. Filing a FELA lawsuit is the exclusive remedy for recovery from a railroad employer for an employee’s injury resulting from the railroad’s negligence. As a result, successfully defending against a FELA lawsuit can insulate railroad employers from liability, and employers should work with their defense counsel to identify all viable arguments to raise.

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In his final opinion, Judge Robert D. Drain of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York held that dividends paid from proceeds of safe-harbored transactions under section 546(e) of the Bankruptcy Code are not safe-harbored. While only approximately 15 pages of Judge Drain’s 109-page final opus are dedicated to consideration of the section 546(e) issue, the relevant analysis ends with a pressing question to Congress and an appeal to modify section 546(e) to “restrict to public transactions its currently overly broad free pass . . .

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In an important decision for U.S. companies with UK subsidiaries, the UK Supreme Court recently handed down its long-awaited judgment in BTI 2014 LLC v. Sequana S.A., the first case in which the UK's highest court considered the duties of directors of UK companies to company creditors.

The Ruling

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In an important decision to private credit lenders, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a make-whole premium for an unsecured creditor tied to future interest payments is the “functional equivalent of unmatured interest” and not recoverable under Section 502(b)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code. Ultra Petroleum Corp. v. Ad Hoc Committee of OpCo Unsecured Creditors (In re Ultra Petroleum Corp.), No. 21-20008 (5th Cir. Oct. 14, 2022) (“Ultra”). Ordinarily, the story ends here.

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The economic landscape continues to remain challenging, or, in some cases, looks to be getting worse, thereby impacting trading conditions across borders. It is likely that in most jurisdictions, trading conditions will worsen before they stabilise and, ultimately, improve.

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While the Judge-made doctrine of equitable mootness continues to beguile and often stymie parties-in-interest seeking to appeal an order confirming a chapter 11 plan (as well as other orders which are on appeal prior to confirmation of a plan), appellants in the Fifth Circuit can continue to rest assured that the doctrine will be applied only as a “scalpel rather than an axe.” That is because in the Fifth Circuit, the doctrine—which can be described as a form of appellate abstention—is applied only on a claim-by-claim, instead of appeal-by-appeal basis.

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For some reason, there is a fascination out there (not sure where, exactly) with having every assignment for benefit of creditors (“ABC”) supervised by a court from the get-go. 

This fascination suggests that every ABC effort requires court action and judicial approvals, from the beginning and throughout the assignment, to assure that everything about the ABC and its administration is on the up-and-up.

Startling and Puzzling

This fascination is both startling and puzzling.  Here are some reasons why.

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The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services (the Committee) has commenced an inquiry into the “effectiveness of Australia’s corporate insolvency laws in protecting and maximising value for the benefit of all interested parties and the economy”.[1]

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