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Experts who want to fix the nation’s bankruptcy laws so that more struggling companies survive kept an important question in mind during their two-year project on reform: What’s the point of fixing bankruptcy law if companies can’t afford to use it?
Some of the country’s top restructuring lawyers, professors and advisers who released a nearly-400-page report earlier this month made it clear that, aside from strengthening tools for a bankrupt company, they want to make the process cheaper.
The last overhaul of the bankruptcy code in 1978 lifted restrictions on fees, enabling sophisticated lawyers, bankers and turnaround advisers to begin profiting within an industry for financially dying companies. The army of professionals winding down Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the most expensive Chapter 11 case in history, billed more than $2.2 billion since the investment bank collapse in 2008. The fees for defunct telecommunications company Nortel Networks are estimated at more than $1.3 billion, and even Detroit’s 17-month sprint through bankruptcy has cost more than $140 million. Bankruptcy Beat
(posted 2 hours 48 min ago)

People tend to get a bit crazy during the Christmas season. We over do it on decorations, gifts, and a large family dinner. Don’t let the lack of self control cause you to file an East Troy bankruptcy. Instead, implement our tips below to have a fulfilling, yet thrifty Christmas.
thrifty Christmas to avoid East Troy bankruptcy10 Christmas Money Savings Tips to Avoid Filing an East Troy Bankruptcy
1. Although it is late to start this idea in 2014, putting aside a little money each week will help you achieve your Christmas budget goals slowly. You won’t have to spend a large sum of money in a short period of time. Some banks even offer Christmas saving programs. The new year is almost here. Why not make a Christmas savings plan?
2. Pay your bills! I can’t say this enough. Not paying bills in order to have Christmas spending money is just plain wrong. It is going to be harder for you to financially catch up afterwards and can easily cause you to end up filing an East Troy bankruptcy. Pay bills first and what is left, is left.

Wynn at Law, LLC
(posted 3 hours 9 min ago)

As the weeks of Christmas and the Holidays are upon us, please take the time to enjoy visiting with family and friends and fully appreciate the comfort brought by that fellowship. Set your cares aside, if only for a day.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all !
photo credit: ilovememphis via photopin cc

(posted 5 hours 15 min ago)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently rendered its decision in the Mwangi case, dealing whether a debtor can assert a claim against his bank for placing an administrative freeze on his bank account pending a determination of the debtor’s exemption claim as to the funds in the account.
Eric Mwangi and his wife filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.  They had several bank accounts at Wells Fargo Bank.  Following the bankruptcy filing, Wells Fargo placed an administrative freeze against the accounts and requested the trustee advise the bank on how he wanted the bank to pay the funds.  The bank informed the trustee that it would maintain the hold on the accounts until it received instructions from him, or until 31 days following the section 341 meeting of creditors.  After the bank’s action, the debtors amended their Schedule C to assert an exemption in the accounts.  Promptly after filing their amended Schedule C, the debtors requested that Wells Fargo lift the hold on their accounts so the debtors could access the funds, contending that their claiming of the exemption removed the accounts from the bankruptcy estate.  The bank refused, and the debtors filed a motion for sanctions against the bank.  After an adverse ruling against them on remand, the debtors filed an adversary class action against the bank, alleging violations of the automatic stay.

Creditors' Rights
(posted 5 hours 57 min ago)

6535579749_50238f065c_zDespite his bankruptcy discharge, my former bankruptcy client has just been bitten by naughty credit reporting, and the interim results aren’t nice.
When several years passed since the bankruptcy, my client thought he’d caught and controlled the old and the inaccurate credit reporting.
Four years after the discharge was entered,  a mortgage servicer has just begun reporting a hugely negative item  on a mortgage loan cut off by foreclosure and wiped out by bankruptcy.
And my client discovered this when he applied for a new home loan.
Worse yet, the reporting servicer didn’t service the loan when it was discharged.  So, it’s unclear why the old servicer is handing off servicing on a discharged debt.
The likely choices are incompetence and greed.
So, let’s review the law that applies here.

(posted 6 hours 5 min ago)

A Texas jury on Friday awarded hedge-fund firm Highland Capital Management $40 million in its lawsuit against Credit Suisse over inflated appraisals of a dozen luxury properties such as golf communities and ski resorts during the mid-2000s. The Wall Street Journal has the Daily Bankruptcy Review article here.
(Daily Bankruptcy Review is a daily newsletter with comprehensive coverage and analysis of emerging and in-progress insolvencies and turnarounds. For a two-week trial, visit our homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)
According to WSJ, Caesars Entertainment Corp. plans to acquire an affiliate in a stock-for-stock merger that will help the company’s debt load.
The endangered Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., remained open through the weekend while lawyers worked to complete a $20 million lifeline from billionaire Carl Icahn. Read the DBR explainer in WSJ. Bankruptcy Beat
(posted 6 hours 43 min ago)

The Weil Bankruptcy Blog is on its holiday break until 2015, but in the meantime, we leave you with our retrospective on 2014, and our look ahead to the world of restructuring in 2015.
2014 has been a tumultuous year, filled with tragedy and interstellar triumphs: Ebola; Sochi; Ukraine; Flight 370; ISIS; Flight 17; Comet 67P. Life in the corporate bankruptcy and restructuring world was considerably more sedate than in the world at large. Now five and six years removed, some of the mega cases of the 2008 and 2009 era linger on and continue to generate interesting legal developments.
Despite the relative paucity of mega cases, 2014 was not a year to forget. With every passing month, new and interesting special situations arose. In case you missed them, here’s a look back at the bankruptcy and restructuring highlights of 2014, as well as a look ahead to what 2015 might have in store.
January: Credit Bidding

(posted 6 hours 57 min ago)

Some community banks have entered into the booming energy market without taking the necessary precautions, making them vulnerable to a downturn in oil prices.

(posted 6 hours 57 min ago)

Receiving Wide Coverage ...

'Eternal' Lobbying: Banks got a big win on Thursday when the Fed agreed to delay a part of the Volcker Rule. And former Fed Chair Paul Volcker was none too pleased. In a statement distributed on Friday, Volcker criticized banks for their "eternal" lobbying to avoid having to comply with the rule. "It is striking, that the world's leading investment bankers, noted for their cleverness and agility in advising clients on how...

(posted 8 hours 15 min ago)

In an 18 page opinion released December 18, 2014 in the Conex Holdings bankruptcy (Bank. D. Del. 11-10501), Judge Sontchi of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court analyzed the “ordinary course of dealings” defense to a preference action between the Debtors and Industrial Specialists Inc, the preference defendant (“Defendant”), in granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendant.  Judge Sontchi’s opinion is available here (the “Opinion”).
On February 21, 2011, involuntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 were filed against Conex and certain affiliates.  On February 24, 2011, the involuntary chapter 11 cases were consensually converted to voluntary cases under chapter 7.  Charles A. Stanziale, Jr. (the “Trustee”) was appointed as the Debtors’ chapter 7 trustee.  As part of the Trustee’s responsibilities, he is tasked with recovering transfers made by the Debtors within the 90 days before the Debtors’ bankruptcy filing.  These transfers are presumed by the Bankruptcy Code to be “preferences”.   In addition to our various blog posts about preference actions, we have created a short guide to defending a preference action.  Our Preference Reference can be downloaded as a PDF here.

(posted 18 hours 1 min ago)