Advice that may have served House of Pain in their 1992 hit song, “Jump Around,” to “bring a shotgun” to battle likely does not translate well to plaintiffs in federal litigation contemplating bringing a “shotgun” pleading to court. In this article we explore types of shotgun pleadings identified by courts and outline potential responses to a shotgun pleading.
Shotgun Pleadings and Relationship to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
On average, the Supreme Court hears a single bankruptcy case each term. But during the October 2022 term, the Supreme Court issued a remarkable four decisions in bankruptcy cases. These decisions, which are summarized below, address appellate issues relating to sale orders, the discharge of claims obtained by fraud, and sovereign immunity issues in two different contexts.
I. Section 363(m) of the Bankruptcy Code is not a jurisdictional provision that precludes appellate review of asset sale orders.
In the recent case of Re JD Group Ltd in liquidation; Bhatia v Purkiss (as liquidator of JD Group Ltd) a company director appealed a decision that he was liable for VAT fraud.
Mr Bhatia was the sole director of a company trading in mobile phones. He was sent a HMRC notice explaining the risks of mobile phone trading and liability for involvement in VAT fraud.
Sometimes a debtor is liable for fraud that she did not personally commit,” held the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 22, 2023, when the debtor’s business partner had deceptively obtained money by fraud, thereby making the innocent partner liable for a nondischargeable debt under Bankruptcy Code (Code) §523(a)(2)(A) (“any debt from money “obtained by … fraud” not dischargeable and survives debtor’s bankruptcy). Bartenwerfer v. Buckley, 2023 WL 2144417 (Feb. 22, 2023).
In a unanimous decision handed down on Feb. 22, 2023, the Supreme Court reinforced one of the Bankruptcy Code’s important creditor protections. In Bartenwerfer v. Buckley, No. 21-908, 598 U.S. ___ (2023), the Court confirmed, in an opinion authored by Justice Barrett, that the Bankruptcy Code bars the discharge by individual debtors of debts fraudulently obtained by the debtor’s agent or business partner.
In certain circumstances the official liquidator of a Cayman company may be able to take action to recover assets which have been transferred in the run up to the company's insolvency. It is important for those concerned with the affairs of a Cayman company in the twilight of insolvency to be aware of the statutory powers available to the official liquidator and the Grand Court in the Cayman Islands.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court in Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz held a chapter 7 debtor accountable for “actual fraud” despite the absence of a specific fraudulent misrepresentation. The Court’s expansive reading of section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code gives creditors a new weapon in their fight to attack the discharge of their debts.
Recently, lawyers for 50 Cent fought against the appointment of a bankruptcy examiner to investigate Instagram photos the rapper posted of himself lying next to piles of hundred dollar bills. In one picture, the bills spelled out the word “BROKE.” The humor of the photos was lost on the Office of the U.S. Trustee, who viewed the postings as disrespectful of the bankruptcy process and possible evidence that 50 Cent committed bankruptcy fraud by concealing assets from his creditors.
On March 1, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument on the seemingly simple question of what “actual fraud” means. The Court’s decision will have a significant impact on the reach of the exception to discharge under Section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code.
When can a bank be at risk of unknowingly receiving a fraudulent transfer? How much information does a bank need to have before it is on “inquiry notice”? A recent decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals highlights the risks that a bank takes when it ignores red flags and fails to investigate. This decision should be required reading for all lenders since, in the matter before the Seventh Circuit, the banks’ failure to investigate their borrower’s questionable activity caused the banks to lose their security and have their secured loans reduced to unsecured claims.