Greetings everyone. Volume 97, Issue 3 of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal is ready for you. To read the entire issue now, click here.

Thanks for your interest and support. Happy reading.

Terrence L. Michael
Editor in Chief
American Bankruptcy Law Journal

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In the Spring 2022 ABLJ, Professor Lynn LoPucki (recipient of the 2023 ABLJ Editors’ Prize) described the sixteen-hour chapter 11 case of Belk, Inc. in February 2021 as an extreme example of what he called “Chapter 11’s Decent into Lawlessness.” In this article, Professor Robert Rasmussen and Roye Zur present an alternate analysis of the Belk case, arguing that rather than being the poster child for a lawless bankruptcy system, the case exemplifies the best of modern restructuring practice. In addition to examining the company’s prebankruptcy history, the article addresses the prefiling negotiations, prefiling notice to all creditors, terms of the plan, and a first-of-its-kind Due Process Order issued in conjunction with plan confirmation. The article concludes that instead of lawless, Belk was the result of a remarkable restructuring transaction in which all the affected parties negotiated an agreed resolution which followed the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code – a truly beautiful result. To read the article now, click here.

The most controversial issue in bankruptcy currently is third party releases and how they affect mass tort victims. While the focus has been on the opioid crisis and allowing nondebtor parties to discharge civil liability in bankruptcy, there is a related concern for sexual abuse victims. Ms. Gross’s article examines recent cases involving victims of sexual abuse, noting that these victims are not being given due process or having their damages determined by a court. Ms. Gross suggests several proposals to combat this disparity, including making sexual abuse claims a priority claim or nondischargeable in bankruptcy; limiting consensual third-party releases for sexual abuse victims; and monitoring credit costs by requiring lenders to police improper conduct through loan covenants and other lending restrictions for a borrower’s complicity involving sexual abuse claims. To read the article now, click here.

When an individual needs cash fast, she may put up her vehicle as collateral in exchange for an auto or car title loan—a short-term loan with triple-digit interest rates. If not timely repaid (typically due within 30 days), the title lender may take possession of the consumer’s car, thereby, jeopardizing her loss of reliable transportation. The consumer debtor’s filing of a chapter 13 case would seem to offer a viable solution for her to keep possession of her car and repay the loan over a three- to five-year payment plan allowed under the Bankruptcy Code. Some debtors who have traveled this path, however, have been stopped in their tracks! Certain courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, have determined that car title lenders are pawnbrokers under applicable state law and are entitled to take possession of the car (and keep all the debtor’s equity in the car), even in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Professor Johnson refers to this practice as Grand Theft Auto 2.0. To read the article now, click here.

Part III of Professor Carlson’s article continues to discuss the effect of the housing bubble by examining the multiple opportunities (or problems) that post-filing appreciation in assets can pose during a chapter 13 case for debtors and lenders alike. He highlights a variety of issues that parties should consider, including court authority for sale, value/price, capital gains, disposable income and plan modifications. In Part IV the article focuses on these same issues and the various outcomes in cases converted to chapter 7. To read the article now, click here