Supreme Court Strikes Blow for Deciding Cases and Explains What Is Jurisdictional and What Is Not


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.


The Valuation Paradox


In the program Who Killed the Company? Tips and Trends in Claims and Defenses, Judge Marvin Isgur and his fellow panelists confronted issues such as in pari delicto, insurance coverage and waiver of fiduciary duties. However, one discussion led by Judge Isgur focused on whether solvency should be determined based on what was known at the time of the valuation or what was known at a later date. The discussion highlighted that valuation can be a moving target based on what is known at a given point in time. 


NCBJ 2023: The View from Austin


 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.


The Bankruptcy Judges of the Western District of Texas


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.


Grammar Dooms Innocent Spouse in Non-Dischargeability Case


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


Notes on a Diversity Workshop


 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.


Counsel's Retention of "Wet Signatures" Overcomes Debtor's "Faulty" Memory


Sometimes debtors get buyer's regret after filing a bankruptcy petition.  However, once a bankruptcy petition is filed, it remains on the debtor's credit for ten years. One debtor sought to throw his attorney under the bus by claiming that the bankruptcy filing had never been authorized. Fortunately the debtor's attorney had retained his client's wet signatures and text messages which protected him from the Court's Order to Show Cause. In re Wilson, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 3378 (Bankr. D. N.J. 11/30/22).  


Judge Gargotta Nixes Non-Dischargeability Claim Against Corporate SubV Debtor


 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.