Notes on a Diversity Workshop
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
1M ago
 At the ABI Winter Leadership Conference, I attended a diversity and inclusion workshop put on by Elton Ndoma-Ogar of Alix Partners and Peter S. Salib of Perkins Coie, LLP. I wasn't sure that writing about an interactive workshop would be useful, but a friend encouraged me to try. At the end of the article, I have included a link to their materials, which you can access if you are an ABI member. If you are not an ABI member, contact me and I can send them to you. First Exercise In the first exercise, participants were shown three photographs and asked to write two adjectives abo ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: Gradually, Then Suddenly. The Bankruptcy of Detroit
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
1M ago
This program looked at the bankruptcy of the City of Detroit through the lens of a documentary filmmaker. I thought it was a clever way to look at one of the most consequential bankruptcies of our time through the eyes of someone who was not a bankruptcy lawyer or judge. While filmmaker Sam Katz is not part of the bankruptcy profession, he did have substantial experience in municipal finance, having served as Chair of the Fiscal Oversight Board in Philadelphia in the 1990s. It took him six years to make the film compared to the fourteen months that Detroit was in bankruptcy. I have included a ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: The Role of the Bankruptcy Judge
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
2M ago
 This panel asked the question, what is the role of the bankruptcy judge? To answer that question, they featured two retired judges, Judge Robert Drain from the Southern District of New York and Judge Harlan "Cooter" Hale from the Northern District of Texas along with sitting judges Erithe Smith from the Central District of California and Grace Robson from the Middle District of Florida. Rather than trying to recreate their panel, I will try to distill their presentation into a series of rules. 1. Bankruptcy is a collective proceeding. It involves many more people than traditional liti ..read more
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Judge Gargotta Nixes Non-Dischargeability Claim Against Corporate SubV Debtor
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
2M ago
 Distinguishing a precedent from his own district and disagreeing with the Fourth Circuit, Judge Craig Gargotta has ruled that non-dischargeability only applies to human Subchapter V debtors. Adv. No. 22-5052, Avion Funding, LLC v. GFS Industries, LLC (Bankr. W.D. Tex. 11/10/2022).  The decision can be found here. The decision was especially sweet for me personally because the case it distinguished, New Venture Partnership v. JRB Consolidated, Inc. (In re JRB Consolidated, Inc.), 188 B.R. 373, 374 (Bankr. W.D. Tex. 1995), was one that I lost and always thought was wrongly decide ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: The Devastating Impact of the Opioid Crisis featuring Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Eric Eyre
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
 "The opioid crisis is nothing short of sinister." Eric Eyre and Patrick McGinley from the West Virginia University College of Law, told the story of how a small town journalist discovered the cause of the opioid epidemic in Appalachia. Along the way, Mr. Eyre developed Parkinson's disease, won the Pulitzer Prize for his book and had his newspaper file for Chapter 11 relief. Prof. McGinley represented the newspaper pro bono in making open records act requests which were repeatedly rebuffed.   The story began in 2005 when William Bull Preece died in a ladder fall in ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: Mass Torts in Bankruptcy: Two Steps Forward or Two Steps Back
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
  One of the big themes appearing in this year's National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges was the effect of mass tort cases on the bankruptcy system. The panel Mass Torts in Bankruptcy: Two Steps Forward or Two Steps Back focused on third party releases. The speakers were Hon. Craig Goldblatt (Bankr. D. Del.), Karen Cordry from the National Association of Attorneys' General, Prof. Douglas Baird and Sander Esserman.   Third party releases have been in the news a lot lately. In Purdue Pharma and Mahwah Bergen Retail Group, District Courts struck down overly b ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: Bankruptcy Boom or Bust - How Far Is Too Far and Is the Day of Reckoning Here?
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
The first plenary session of NCBJ was a panel consisting of Professor Melissa Jacoby, Jennifer Hagle from Sidley and Austin and Judge Lisa Beckerman (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). My overall impression of the panel was that it consisted of Prof. Jacoby asking why parties in big bankruptcy cases should be allowed to bend the rules, Ms. Hagle saying that its necessary to meet the demands of her creditor clients and Judge Beckerman trying to make sense of what parties are telling her. The Moderator, Judge Elaine Hammond, brought in the views of some of her judicial colleagues in the audience. Do Traffic L ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: Five Secrets to a Magical Sub-V
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
Judge Catherine McEwen (Bankr. M.D. Fla.) and panelists David Mawhinney (Bowditch, Framingham, Mass.), Amy Denton Mayer (Stichter Riedel Blain Postler, PA, Tampa, Fl) and Kirk Burkley (Bernstein-Burkley, P.C., Pittsburgh, PA) donned their wizard's hats to present 5 Secrets to a Magical Sub-V. Both David and Amy serve as Subchapter V trustees and represent SubV debtors, while Kirk offered the creditors' viewpoint. Their program covered five areas of Subchapter V law and practice. 1.    Who Goes There? Eligibility. While many of the early cases dealt with Subchapter V eligibility, f ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: Awards Edition
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
Every year numerous awards are presented at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. These awards are an opportunity to recognize people who have contributed to the insolvency profession. Ingrid Hillinger received the Excellence in Education Award. Her accomplishments include establishing the Boston College School of Law Public Interest Law Fund. Five oof her students have gone  on to be judges. However, she was a reluctant bankruptcy educator. In 1985, she was invited to be a guest teacher at the University of Texas School of Law. She was asked to teach secured credit and bankruptcy ..read more
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NCBJ 2022: What's Hot
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
When the nation's bankruptcy judges, academics and practitioners get together for the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, there are certain topics that tend to dominate. This year mass torts were a through line in many of the presentations.  A presentation on pushing the boundaries of chapter 11 suggested that mass tort cases did not have the same urgency as melting ice cube operating businesses. A panel on third party releases noted the difference between the use of third party releases to protect guarantors as opposed to those developed in mass tort cases. ABI Editor at Large Bill ..read more
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