Bankruptcy Case Summaries

Serving as an illustration of the principal that a financial restructuring won’t save a business that has ceased to be frequented by customers, RadioShack has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in as many years.  The prior case was filed in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware as case no. 15-10197.  This case is also in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, and is case no. 17-10506.  Prime Clerk is the noticing agent in both cases and maintains a copy of the Court’s docket on its website – http://www.primeclerk.com/case-archive/.

The first bankruptcy had three primary results: 1) RadioShack closed approximately 2,400 stores, 2) the remaining stores were sold as a going concern to General Wireless, Inc., and 3) an agreement was entered into with Sprint, providing for co-branded product, exclusive access for Sprint within the RadioShack stores, and the payment of a portion of RadioShack rents by Sprint.

At the time of this second bankruptcy filing, there were over 1,500 stores in operation.  According to the first day declaration of Dene Rogers (the “Rogers Declaration”) in support of this bankruptcy, RadioShack is again seeking to shed underperforming leases and pursue a sale or restructuring.  As part of this process, it has transferred 115 stores to Sprint in exchange for a $12 million payment and the termination of the Sprint agreement, with the possibility of receiving another $5 million following an investigation period.

RadioShack has sought authority to close and liquidate the inventory of “between 530 and substantially all of their stores.”  See Rogers Declaration at 22.  Accordingly, creditors will want to keep close tabs on this case to make sure that any debts owed or claims they may have are not eliminated.

John Bird is a bankruptcy attorney with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  John is admitted in Delaware and regularly practices before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. You can reach John at (302) 622-4263 or at jbird@foxrothschild.com.

ATopTech, Inc. (“ATopTech” or “Debtor”), an electronic design automation software company manufacturing software solutions for engineers to assist them in the physical design of integrated circuits, filed a voluntary petition for chapter 11 bankruptcy relief on January 13, 2017 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

In addition, ATopTech filed a motion to sell its businesses under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code and has selected a stalking horse bidder. The Debtor expects that the sale will be completed by March 31, 2017.

The Debtor’s petition lists between $10 and $50 million in assets and liabilities.  The case has been assigned to the Honorable Mary F. Walrath, case number 17-10111.  The Debtor is being represented by the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, LLP.

A first-day hearing has not yet been scheduled, although the Debtor has filed a notice of agenda, which can be accessed here.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

On December 21, 2016, Modular Space Corporation and its affiliated entities (“Modular Space” or the “Debtors”) filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Canada, to implement a plan to rework its $1 billion load of long-term debt.  Modular Space will continue its operations during what the restructuring. Modular Space makes, leases and sells office trailers, mobile offices, temporary classrooms, modular office complexes and portable storage units.

A restructuring that will swap out about $400 million worth of debt for equity was negotiated in advance of the bankruptcy filing in the U.S. and the initiation of Canadian restructuring proceedings in Toronto.

The slowdown in the oil-and-gas sector and mining hurt Modular Space’s sales, according to papers filed with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court. With nonresidential construction numbers falling sharply, Modular Space was up against lowered demand and pricing pressures that ate into its margins.

The Debtors are represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC, and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP.  The case is pending before the Honorable Kevin J. Carey.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

On December 2, 2016, Limitless Mobile, LLC (“Limitless” or the “Debtor”) filed a chapter 11 voluntary petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  The Debtor was formed in 2013 to provide broadband and wireless telecommunication services in certain rural counties in central Pennsylvania.  The Debtor is part of a worldwide corporate family referred to as the Limitless Group.  According to the First Day Declaration, Limitless intends to wind down its retail-side business and emerge from bankruptcy as a wholesale operator.

According to the Petition, the Debtor has an estimated $10 million to $50 million in assets, and $50 million to $100 million in liabilities.  The law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP represent the Debtor in this chapter 11 case.  The Honorable Kevin J. Carey has been assigned to the case.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

Made-in-the-USA retailer American Apparel, LLC and its affiliated entities (“Debtors”) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, Nov. 14th for the second time in just over a year, colloquially known as the “Chapter 22”.  The filing comes just about a year after the fashion retailer previously filed for bankruptcy, when the company exited court protection in early 2016 but quickly encountered trouble again.

Canadian clothing manufacturer Gildan Activewear has agreed to a $66 million deal to acquire intellectual property assets and inventory from American Apparel, including the chance to maintain some or all of the company’s Los Angeles production and distribution operations, according to a court filing.

According to chief restructuring officer Mark Weinstein, “[t]he company faced unfavorable market conditions that were more persistent and widespread than the debtors anticipated. These market conditions were particularly detrimental to retailers.”  According to Weinstein, American Apparel’s turnaround strategy “completely failed” as the company reported a 33% decline in year-over-year sales as of Sept. 30. Since its first bankruptcy, the company failed to optimize merchandising, bolster online sales, improve quality expeditiously and form a cohesive marketing plan, according to Weinsten.

With 110 stores in 28 states and the District of Columbia, American Apparel has dwindled from the time of its original bankruptcy filing, when it had about 8,500 employees at six factories and 230 stores worldwide.  The company listed about $215 million in debts. It had $497 million in net sales in 2015.

The First Day Hearing is today (11/15) at 9:00 a.m.  The bankruptcy proceeding has been assigned to the Honorable Brendan L. Shannon.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

In the decision of In re Metroplex on the Atlantic, LLC, 545 B.R. 786 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 2016), the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York held that an easement is an in rem property interest, subject to sale free and clear under Bankruptcy Code section 363(f).

The debtor constructed a building on property facing the Far Rockaway ocean.  Almost 100 years earlier, an easement had been granted to owners of an adjacent property, giving them a right of way to the ocean. The debtor and its secured creditor proposed a plan that provided for the property to be sold free and clear of all claims and interests, including the easement.  The owner objected, arguing that the property could not be sold free and clear of the easement.

The bankruptcy court found that the easement was an in rem property interest:  “An easement is more than a personal privilege to use another’s land, it is an actual interest in that land.”  As such, the court held it was subject to sale free and clear under section 363(f), and concluded that the easement owner could be compelled to accept a monetary satisfaction for the easement under state law.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

On August 12, 2016, petitioning creditors Beal Bank USA and CLMG Corp. filed an involuntary chapter 11 bankruptcy petition against Bennu Titan LLC (f/k/a ATP Titan LLC).  The involuntary debtor is affiliated with Bennu Oil & Gas, a deep water oil exploration firm based in Harris County, Texas.

For a link to a brief post discussing involuntary bankruptcies in general, click here.  Under Section 303 of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor can be “forced” into an involuntary bankruptcy.  11 U.S.C.§ 303(b)(1).  If a company has 12 or more creditors, an involuntary petition requires three or more creditors whose claims are not contingent as to liability or subject to a bona fide dispute as to either liability or amount to file the petition.

The involuntary bankruptcy petition was filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, and has been assigned to Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein, Case No. 16-11870.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

The operator of the Fox and Hound, Bailey’s Sports Grille and Champps Kitchen and Bar chains filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, August 10th, listing debts that significantly exceeded assets.

Last Call Guarantor LLC and at least eight affiliates (“Debtors”) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The filing constitutes the second bankruptcy filing for chain restaurants.

According to the Petition, the Debtors have up to 49 creditors and liabilities of up to $500 million, including more than a half million owed to a food services company based out of Illinois.   Assets were estimated of approximately $50 million.

In 2013, the operator of Fox and Hound and Champps restaurants sought bankruptcy protection. In 2014, a group of lenders led by distressed investor Cerberus Capital Management won bankruptcy-court approval to purchase the chains out of the original bankruptcy filing for more than $120 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The First Day Hearing was heard on August 12th.  The Debtors are represented by the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP.  The case number of the lead debtor is Case No. 16-11844-KG. The bankruptcy cases are presiding before the Honorable Kevin Gross.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

On July 29, 2016, SLJ Trucking Inc. (“Debtor” or “SLJ”) filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  The Debtor is a licensed and bonded freight shipping and trucking company running freight hauling business from Newark, Delaware.

According to the Petition, the Debtor has less than $50,000 in estimate assets, and between $100,000 and $500,000 in estimated liabilities.  The Section 341 meeting of creditors is scheduled for September 1st at 11:00 a.m. at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, 844 King St., Room 2112, Wilmington, DE.

One way in which creditors can assert their interests is to attend the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors, in order to depose the debtor’s representative regarding the assets and liabilities of the bankruptcy estate.  Creditors may retain counsel to conduct such an examination of the debtor’s representative.  The Section 341 meeting of creditors is an integral component of a bankruptcy proceeding.  Creditors often want to know what information is made available, and what procedures are followed, during a typical meeting of creditors.

General topics that are discussed during a Section 341 meeting can include the following issues:

  • The nature of scope of a debtor’s assets and liabilities;
  • The amount of accounts receivable and accounts payable;
  • To what extent the debtor is able to repay its creditors;
  • Whether insurance remains active;
  • The condition and location of goods received in the 20 days before bankruptcy;
  • The condition and location of goods received in the 45 days before bankruptcy;
  • The debtor’s or trustee’s plan to reorganize its debt or liquidate its assets;
  • The debtor’s plan after it emerges from bankruptcy (not applicable to a Chapter 7 debtor);
  • Whether the debtor experienced any changes in revenue since filing for bankruptcy; and
  • Potential avoidance actions to be commenced by the debtor or trustee.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

On July 13, 2016, Appalachian Conventional Production Comp (“Appalachian” or “Debtor”) filed a Chapter 7 liquidation in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  According to the Debtor’s Petition, Appalachian has assets less totaling less than $500,000, and liabilities between $500,000 and $1 million.  Click here to view a copy of Appalachian’s Petition, Schedules of Assets and Liabilities, and Statement of Financial Affairs.

Appalachian previously went by the name of Hayden Harper Energy KA, LLC, which was formed in August 2009 with a focus on the acquisition and development of low-risk conventional oil and gas properties in the Appalachian Basin.

The Debtor’s Section 341 meeting of the creditors is scheduled for August 11, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building, 844 King St., Room 2112, Wilmington, DE 19801.

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.