On June 15, 2017, Curtis R. Smith, as Liquidating Trustee of the Hastings Creditors’ Liquidating Trust, filed approximately 69 complaints seeking the avoidance and recovery of allegedly preferential and/or fraudulent transfers under Sections 547, 548 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Liquidating Trustee also seeks to disallow claims of such defendants under Sections 502(d) and (j) of the Bankruptcy Code.

Draw Another Circle, LLC and its affiliated debtors filed voluntary petitions for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on June 13, 2015 under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.   On February 14, 2017, the Court confirmed the Debtors’ Plan.  The Trust was established in accordance with the Plan and Confirmation Order.

The various avoidance actions are pending before the Honorable Kevin J. Carey.  As of the date of this post, the pretrial conference has not yet been scheduled.

For readers looking for more information concerning claims and defenses in preference litigation, attached is a booklet prepared by this firm on the subject: “A Preference Reference: Common Issues that Arise in Delaware Preference Litigation.”

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.

Not uncommonly, a preference complaint fails to adequately allege that the transfers sought to be recovered by the trustee were made “for or on account of an antecedent debt owed by the debtor before such transfer was made”, as required under Section 547(b) of the Bankruptcy Code. Thus, when faced with a complaint to recover alleged preferential transfers, a defendant can proceed in one of two ways: (i) file an answer and raise affirmative defenses, or (ii) move to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).

Generally, if a motion to dismiss is filed on this basis, the Court will grant plaintiff leave to amend the complaint to adequately assert that such transfers are recoverable under Section 547(b) of the Bankruptcy Code.  But does the analysis change if the trustee files an amended complaint which continues to fail to meet pleading standards, and defendant once again moves to dismiss?

This question was addressed in the recent Delaware Bankruptcy Court decision of Solmonese v. Shyamsundar, et al. (In re AmCad Holdings, LLC, et al.), Adv. No. 15-51979 (Del. Bankr. Apr. 7, 2017).  There, the Liquidating Trustee commenced a lawsuit against defendants, which included former directors and officers of AmCad Holdings, LLC, et al. (“Debtors” or “AmCad”), for breach of fiduciary duty, preferential transfers, and claim disallowance.  The Court previously dismissed the original complaint because it lacked “related-to” jurisdiction over the fiduciary duty claims, and because the preference claims were not adequately pled.  The Liquidating Trustee was permitted to file an amended complaint to address the deficiencies as it related to the preference claims.

The Liquidating Trustee filed the Amended Complaint seeking to avoid and recover $651,496.50 of alleged preferential transfers made to Visagar M. Shyamsundar (“Defendant”) within one year of the petition date pursuant to sections 547 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Defendant again moved to dismiss, asserting that the Amended Complaint continued to fail to adequately allege that the transfers were made for or on account of an antecedent debt.

The Court granted dismissal as to five of the alleged transfers to Defendant for “car payments,” “payroll,” and “records storage”, totaling approximately $100,000. The Court held that the allegations did not support a claim that they were made in satisfaction of an antecedent debt owed to the Defendant.

In addition, the Court separately dismissed these transfers from the Amended Complaint because the Liquidating Trustee failed to satisfy his burden of demonstrating insolvency.  While insolvency is presumed within the 90 day period prior to the bankruptcy filing, the burden rests with a trustee to adequately allege insolvency for claims arising before such 90 day period.

Finally, the Court denied the Liquidating Trustee’s request to further amend as to the aforementioned transfers.  The Court noted that the Liquidating Trustee was put on notice of his deficiencies when the Court previously granted dismissal of the original Complaint, and did little to correct the deficiencies.  See Krantz v. Prudential Invs., 305 F.3d 140, 144 (3d Cir. 2002) (denying leave to amend previously amended complaint where motion to dismiss original complaint put plaintiff on notice of deficiencies, yet plaintiff failed to rectify them in his first amended complaint).  Accordingly, dismissal was granted with prejudice as to the five aforementioned transfers.

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 September 7-8, 2016, various debtors in the ADI Liquidation, Inc. (f/k/a AWI Delaware, Inc.), et al. bankruptcy proceeding filed approximately 332 complaints seeking the avoidance and recovery of allegedly preferential and/or fraudulent transfers under Sections 544 and/or 547, 548 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code (depending upon the nature of the underlying transactions).  The Debtors also seek to disallow claims of such defendants under Sections 502(d) and (j) of the Bankruptcy Code.

Of the 332 avoidance actions, AW Liquidation, Inc. (f/k/a Associated Wholesalers, Inc.), filed approximately 294, WR Liquidation, Inc. (f/k/a White Rose Inc.) filed approximately 27 avoidance actions, and RT Liquidation Corp. (f/k/a Rose Trucking Corp.) filed 11 avoidance actions.

The ADI Liquidation Debtors filed voluntary petitions for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on September 9, 2014 under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.   A hearing on the confirmation of the Debtors’ Second Amended Chapter 11 Plan of Liquidation is scheduled for September 30, 2016.

The various avoidance actions are pending before the Honorable Kevin J. Carey.  The pretrial conference has not yet been scheduled.

For preference defendants looking for an analysis of defenses that can be asserted in response to a preference complaint, below are several articles on this topic:

Preference Payments: Brief Analysis of Preference Actions and Common Defenses

Minimizing Preference Exposure: Require Prepayment for Goods or Services

Minimizing Preference Exposure (Part II) – Contemporaneous Exchanges

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.

From May 11 to May 13, 2016, SRC Liquidation, LLC International Holdings, LLC (“Liquidating Debtor”), unleashed yet another wave of preference actions, filing approximately 257 additional complaints seeking the avoidance and recovery of allegedly preferential and fraudulent transfers under Sections 547 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Liquidating Debtor also seeks to disallow claims of such preference defendants under Sections 502(d) and (j) of the Bankruptcy Code.

The second wave of preference action filings brings the total preference actions filed in the SRC Liquidation bankruptcy to 393 in total.  To review a prior post concerning the first wave of preference actions filed by the Liquidation Debtor, click here.  These avoidance actions are pending before the Honorable Brendan L. Shannon.

For preference defendants looking for an analysis of defenses that can be asserted in response to a preference complaint, below are several articles on this topic:

Preference Payments: Brief Analysis of Preference Actions and Common Defenses

Minimizing Preference Exposure: Require Prepayment for Goods or Services

Minimizing Preference Exposure (Part II) – Contemporaneous Exchanges

Carl D. Neff is a bankruptcy attorney with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in Delaware and regularly practices before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272 or at cneff@foxrothschild.com.

On May 5, 2016, SRC Liquidation, LLC International Holdings, LLC (“Liquidating Debtor”), filed approximately 137 complaints seeking the avoidance and recovery of allegedly preferential and fraudulent transfers under Sections 547 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Liquidating Debtor also seeks to disallow claims of such preference defendants under Sections 502(d) and (j) of the Bankruptcy Code.

SRC Liquidation, LLC (f/k/a SRC Liquidation Company f/k/a The Standard Register Company) and/or its related debtors (collectively, the “Debtors”) filed voluntary petitions for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on March 12, 2015 under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.   On November 19, 2015, the Court entered an order confirming the Debtors’ Second Amended Chapter 11 Plan of Liquidation for SRC Liquidation Company and its Affiliates (the “Plan”).  The Plan became effective on December 18, 2015.

The law firms of ASK LLP and Bayard, P.A. represent the Liquidating Debtors in these various preference cases.  The pretrial conference has not yet been scheduled.

For preference defendants looking for an analysis of defenses that can be asserted in response to a preference complaint, attached is a reference guide prepared on the subject: “A Preference Reference: Common Issues that Arise in Delaware Preference Litigation.”

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in Delaware and regularly practices before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272.

In the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Peter Kravitz, as the Liquidating Trustee of the CWC Creditors Liquidating Trust, filed approximately 106 preference actions on March 15, 2016 seeking the avoidance and recovery of allegedly preferential and fraudulent transfers under Sections 547, 548 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code, along with the disallowance of claims under Section 502(d) and (j).

CWC Liquidating Inc. (f/k/a Coldwater Creek Inc.) (the “Debtors”) filed voluntary petitions for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on April 11, 2014 under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  By order dated September 17, 2014, the Court entered an order (the “Confirmation Order”) confirming the Modified Third Amended Joint Plan Of Liquidation Of Coldwater Creek Inc. And Its Debtor Affiliates Pursuant To Chapter 11 Of The Bankruptcy Code (the “Plan”), which became effective on September 26, 2014 (the “Effective Date”).

In accordance with the Plan and the Confirmation Order, the Trust was established on the Effective Date of the Plan. Also on the Effective Date, as contemplated by the Plan and Confirmation Order, the Debtors and the Liquidating Trustee entered into that certain CWC Creditors’ Liquidating Trust Agreement (the “Liquidating Trust Agreement”)

The law firm of ASK Financial represents the Liquidating Trustee in these various preference cases.  The pretrial conference has not yet been scheduled.

For preference defendants looking for an analysis of defenses that can be asserted in response to a preference complaint, below are several articles on this topic:

Preference Payments: Brief Analysis of Preference Actions and Common Defenses

Minimizing Preference Exposure: Require Prepayment for Goods or Services

Minimizing Preference Exposure (Part II) – Contemporaneous Exchanges 

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in Delaware and regularly practices before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272.

On March 14, 2016, Charles A. Stanziale, Jr., as the Chapter 7 Trustee of Simplexity, LLC, et al. (the “Debtors”) filed approximately 44 preference complaints seeking to avoid and recover alleged preferential transfers pursuant to Sections 547 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code, and to disallow claims of the defendants pursuant to Section 502(d).

By way of background, the Debtors filed petitions for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on March 16, 2014 under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.  By order dated January 7, 2015, the Debtors’ Chapter 11 cases were converted to cases under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, currently administered under Case No. 14-10569.

The law firm of ASK Financial represents the Chapter 7 Trustee in these various preference cases.  The pretrial conference is set for May 4, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.  These adversary actions, as well as the Debtors’ bankruptcy proceeding, are before the Honorable Kevin Gross.

Defenses to a Preference Action

Preference actions are a form of litigation specifically provided for by the Bankruptcy Code which are intended to recover payments made by the Debtor within the 90 days prior to declaring bankruptcy.  The presumption is that the Debtor knew it was going to file bankruptcy, so any payments it made during this 90-day window went to friends and people it wanted to keep happy, and stiffed those the Debtor’s management didn’t like.   Recognizing that these payments aren’t always made for inappropriate reasons, the Bankruptcy Code provides creditors with many defenses to preference actions. Included among these are the “ordinary course of business defense” and the “new value defense.” For reader’s looking for more information concerning claims and defenses in preference litigation, attached is a booklet that we have prepared on the subject: “A Preference Reference: Common Issues that Arise in Delaware Preference Litigation.”

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in Delaware and regularly practices before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272.

In the month of February 2016, Charles A. Stanziale, Jr., in his capacity as the Chapter 7 Trustee of BMT-NW Acquisition, LLC (“Debtor”), filed approximately 49 preference actions seeking the avoidance and recovery of alleged preferential actions under Sections 547 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code.

By way of background, the Debtor filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code on February 14, 2014.  On the same day, Mr. Stanziale was appointed as the Chapter 7 trustee to the Debtor’s bankruptcy estate.

Defenses to a Preference Action

Preference actions are a form of litigation specifically provided for in Section 547 of the Bankruptcy Code, which allows a Debtor or Trustee to recover payments made by the Debtor within the 90 days prior to declaring bankruptcy.   Recognizing that these payments are not always made for inappropriate or “preferential” reasons, the Bankruptcy Code provides creditors with many defenses to preference actions. Included among these are the “ordinary course of business defense” and the “new value defense.” For readers looking for more information concerning claims and defenses in preference litigation, the below-linked reference guide prepared on this subject will prove helpful: “A Preference Reference: Common Issues that Arise in Delaware Preference Litigation.”

Carl D. Neff is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP.  Carl is admitted in Delaware and regularly practices before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. You can reach Carl at (302) 622-4272.

By way of update to the Capsule International Holdings preference action filings (see original post here), the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the “Committee”) recently filed a Motion for Authority to Settle Classes of Preference Claim Controversies Pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9019(b) and to Modify Compromise Procedures (the “Motion”).  For a copy of the Motion, click here.

Through the Motion, the Committee seeks the authority to settle certain classes of claims without seeking Court approval under Section 9019(b) of the Bankruptcy Code.  Per the motion, the Committee has filed approximately 80 claims, seeking the recovering of approximately $21 million for the Debtors’ estate.

The deadline to object to the Motion is February 9th at 4:00 p.m. (ET), and the hearing date on the Motion is scheduled for February 16, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. (ET) at the United States Bankruptcy Court, 824 Market St., 5th Fl., Courtroom #6, Wilmington, Delaware.

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 17th and 18th, 2015, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the “Committee”) of Capsule International Holdings, LLC, and its affiliated debtors and debtors in possession (the “Debtors”), filed approximately 80 complaints seeking the avoidance and recovery of allegedly preferential and fraudulent transfers under Sections 547, 548 and 550 of the Bankruptcy Code.  The Committee also seeks to disallow claims of such preference defendants under Sections 502(d) and (j) of the Bankruptcy Code.

The Debtors filed voluntary petitions for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on December 19, 2013 under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code.   On January 6, 2014, the Office of the United States Trustee for the District of Delaware appointed the Committee.

The law firms of ASK LLP and Gellert Scali Busenkell & Brown, LLC represent the Committee in these various preference cases.  The pretrial conference has not yet been scheduled.  For a sample complaint filed by the Committee, click here.

For preference defendants looking for an analysis of defenses that can be asserted in response to a preference complaint, below are several articles on this topic:

Preference Payments: Brief Analysis of Preference Actions and Common Defenses

Minimizing Preference Exposure: Require Prepayment for Goods or Services

Minimizing Preference Exposure (Part II) – Contemporaneous Exchanges 

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.