Meet Judge Robinson
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
2M ago
Shad Robinson took the bench as the twelfth bankruptcy judge to serve in the Western District of Texas on February 21, 2023. Judge Robinson, by his own telling, took an unlikely path to law school and practicing bankruptcy law. He is fairly unique among his bankruptcy colleagues in that he practiced in a small firm in a small city and practiced both consumer and business bankruptcy. However, he does possess one credential common among the current judiciary in that he clerked for one the Western District Bankruptcy Judges. Practitioners were introduced to Judge Robinson at a brown bag lunch fol ..read more
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Supreme Court Strikes Blow for Deciding Cases and Explains What Is Jurisdictional and What Is Not
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
3M ago
Author's Note: I started writing this post in April. My life has been a bit busy this year so I haven't blogged as much as in prior years. If you are already familiar with the holding of Moac Mall Holdings, you may want to skip to the end to the What It Means section. In Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson's first major opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that 11 U.S.C. Sec. 363(m) is not a jurisdictional bar and batted away an appellate mootness argument. The ruling means that Mall of the Americas may continue to challenge the assignment of a lease to a subsidiary of a purchaser in the Sears bankruptc ..read more
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NCBJ 2023: The View from Austin
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
4M ago
 The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges came to Austin for its 2023 conference with the slogan Blues, Barbecue and Bankruptcy. Here are some images from the conference.   Sheriff Ronnie King was the Master of Ceremonies for the Conference. Chief Judge Craig Gargotta welcomed conference goers to Austin. The Western District delegation Judge Shad Robinson Judge Ronnie King Law Clerk Bach Norwood The Rockestra                           That's a lot of bu ..read more
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The Bankruptcy Judges of the Western District of Texas
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
1y ago
The Western District of Texas crosses two time zones, has a population of 7.6 million and contains 93,000 square miles.  It is larger than the State of Oklahoma but smaller than the State of New Mexico. It contains the 7th, 11th and 24th largest cities in the United States (San Antonio, Austin and El Paso respectively). Since the Bankruptcy Code was adopted, the Western District has been served by 12 judges.  The judges of the Western District have come from San Antonio, Houston, Waco and El Paso. I have appeared in front of nine of them (which will increase to ten as soon as I appea ..read more
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Grammar Dooms Innocent Spouse in Non-Dischargeability Case
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
1y ago
While we often recite that bankruptcy is for the honest but unfortunate debtor, a new case from the Supreme Court shows that getting into bed or business with the wrong person can lead to a non-dischargeable debt for an innocent spouse. The case is No. 21-908, Bartenwerfer v. Buckley, which you can find here. What Happened The case involved David Bartenwerfer and his then-girlfriend, later wife, Kate. They jointly bought a house to remodel in San Francisco. Their first mistake was that they apparently formed a general partnership to buy the property. Kate's second mistake was leaving the const ..read more
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Notes on a Diversity Workshop
A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer's Blog
by Steve Sather
1y 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
1y 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
1y 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
1y 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
1y 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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