What does it mean to own something? When should the law acknowledge that somebody really owns something, even if they don't formally own it?
And when will courts recognize the economic reality that one person — say, a judgment debtor — in truth owns something, notwithstanding that person's painstaking efforts to keep formal legal title in the hands of others?
The law has long recognized doctrines to disregard the existence, or pierc the veil, of corporate entities to which a debtor has transferred assets.
On Monday, January 30, 2023, the Third Circuit in In re LTL Management, LLC1 ordered debtor LTL Management, LLC’s (“LTL”) chapter 11 petition dismissed for failure to demonstrate that the petition was filed in good faith pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code.2 The dismissal of LTL’s bankruptcy will also result in the termination of an injunction staying numerous lawsuits against third-parties—including lawsuits against certain third-party retailers being sued for allegedly having sold certain allegedly contaminated products.
The concept of “property of the estate” is important in bankruptcy because it determines what property can be used or distributed for the benefit of the debtor’s creditors. Defined by section 541 of the Bankruptcy Code, “property of the estate” broadly encompasses the debtor’s interests in property, with certain additions and exceptions provided for in the Code. See 11 U.S.C. § 541. Difficult questions can arise in a contractual relationship between a debtor and a counterparty about whether an entity actually owns a particular asset or merely has some contractual right.
In a decision likely to have significant impact on certain types of bankruptcy filings going forward, this morning, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the dismissal of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed by Johnson & Johnson affiliate LTL Management LLC.
In Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC v. Mallinckrodt PLC,1 the United States District Court for the District of Delaware ruled that a debtor that purchased intellectual property under a prepetition asset purchase agreement could continue to retain and use the property post-confirmation while discharging its obligations to pay any future royalties otherwise owed. The decision highlights the importance of structuring transactions up-front to minimize the consequences of future bankruptcies.
Should a bankruptcy court’s preliminary injunction be subject to appellate review?Taking the negative position, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently held that it had the “discretion … to decline to hear” an appeal from a bankruptcy court’s preliminary injunction. Navient Solutions, LLC et al. v. Homaidan et al., 2022 WL 17252459, *4 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 28, 2022), quoting In re Kassover, 343 F.3d 91, 95 (2d Cir.
When a court-appointed trustee or liquidator is tasked with liquidating an entity, they need to gain possession of all of the entity’s assets. In crypto cases, this task can prove difficult when trying to identify and control all of the entity’s different digital assets and obtain cooperation from the entity’s former operators. Unfortunately, in the case of Three Arrows Capital (“3AC”), the two founders have refused to cooperate with recovery efforts and have absconded to unknown foreign countries.
Cryptocurrency in Celsius’ Earn Accounts belongs to the bankruptcy estate, and not to the depositors who placed it there, according to a January 4 memorandum opinion from Judge Martin Glenn of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.
The United States’ Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has recognised the liquidation of a Cayman company, Saad Investments Finance Company (No5) Limited (“SIFCO5”) (an SPV established to operate as an investment company), as a “foreign main proceeding” under Chapter 15 of the United States’ Bankruptcy Code.
Recognition of the liquidation as foreign main proceedings provides for an automatic stay of proceedings with respect to any assets of SIFCO5 within the United States, amongst other things.