Posts in Bankruptcy.
Time 4 Minute Read

In granting a summary judgment motion on June 16, 2023, the Southern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court developed a new framework to determine the ownership rights to a corporate social media account. The court found that Vital Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer and seller of “Bang” energy drinks, is the rightful owner of three social media accounts used to market Vital’s products, rather than the company’s former CEO who often posted to the accounts.

Time 5 Minute Read

In an anticipated decision, on May 30, 2023, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision approving a Chapter 11 plan’s inclusion of a nonconsensual release of direct claims against non-debtor third parties. Purdue Pharma LP v. City of Grand Prairie (In re Purdue Pharma LP), No. 22-110 (2d Cir. May 30, 2023).

Time 4 Minute Read

On Monday, January 30, 2023, the Third Circuit in In re LTL Management, LLC1 ordered debtor LTL Management, LLC’s (“LTL”) chapter 11 petition dismissed for failure to demonstrate that the petition was filed in good faith pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code.2 The dismissal of LTL’s bankruptcy will also result in the termination of an injunction staying numerous lawsuits against third-parties—including lawsuits against certain third-party retailers being sued for allegedly having sold certain allegedly contaminated products.

Time 3 Minute Read

Over the last two years, courtesy of a once-a-century pandemic, government-mandated business closures, nationwide stay-at-home orders, and—unprecedented—disruptions to the global supply chain have illuminated, previously unknown, vulnerabilities across a whole host of industries. Would anyone have seriously questioned the viability of office space two years ago? Now, inflation, in keeping with the recent chaos, may be upending the viability of another tried-and-tested institution: the supply contract.

Time 1 Minute Read

In an underreported amendment to the Bankruptcy Code, the Small Business Reorganization Act amended §547(b) of the Code to add an explicit requirement for the bankruptcy trustee or debtor in possession to conduct “reasonable due diligence” before filing a preference action. The apparent goal of this amendment to the Bankruptcy Code is to reduce the number of frivolous preference lawsuits pursued by trustees. In view of these new explicit due diligence requirements, creditors should reconsider their initial response strategy by impressing upon trustees the risk of filing a ...

Time 2 Minute Read

While there were already a number of high profile retail bankruptcies in 2019, current economic conditions and pandemic-related market challenges have exacerbated an already difficult retail environment, which has led to a significant increase in bankruptcies in 2020. Year to date, more than 30 major retail and restaurant chains have filed for bankruptcy, which is more than in all of 2019. Furthermore, 2020 is on track to have the highest number of retail bankruptcies in 10 years. Although the Q4 holiday season often provides the strongest quarterly financial performance for many retailers, which may slow the pace of bankruptcy filings, projected holiday sales numbers may be uncertain this year, and additional bankruptcies are still likely to follow by year end.

Time 3 Minute Read

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on retailers in an already battered industry. Commencing in mid-March, governors from a majority of states issued executive orders requiring nonessential businesses to close to combat the spread of COVID-19. Retailers who rely on foot traffic to support their businesses felt a swift and severe impact. Retailers who recently had filed bankruptcy under chapter 11 had their reorganization efforts disrupted in unprecedented fashion.

Time 1 Minute Read

Innovation and developments in technology bring both opportunities and challenges for the retail industry, and Hunton Andrews Kurth has a sophisticated understanding of these issues and how they affect retailers. On January 23, 2020, our cross-disciplinary retail team, composed of over 200 lawyers, released our annual Retail Industry Year in Review. The 2019 edition, Spotlight on Technology, provides an overview and analysis of recent developments impacting retailers, as well as what to expect in 2020 and beyond. Topics discussed include: braille gift cards as the next wave of ...

Time 3 Minute Read

Bankruptcy filings of big box retailers such as Sears, Shopko and Charming Charlie have left landlords with difficult space to fill, especially at a time when few retailers are looking to expand and open new brick-and-mortar stores. Charming Charlie will close all of its 261 stores in 2019 (35 of which are located in Texas) while Sears announced 80 new store closures at the beginning of 2019 in addition to the 220 store closures it announced last year. Sears owned 687 stores at the time it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October. In March, Shopko announced that it would close all of its 370 stores in connection with its bankruptcy filing at the beginning of this year. With other big box retailers including David’s Bridal and Bon-Ton both trying to hold onto their retail stores despite entering Chapter 11 protection, there is uncertainty as to how much empty space landlords will be left to fill. Due to the current state of the retail market, landlords may need to get creative in order to lease important anchor tenant space left empty by these recent bankruptcy filings.

Time 1 Minute Read

Recently, in Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology LLC, the Supreme Court held that a trademark licensee may continue using a licensed trademark after its licensor files for bankruptcy and rejects the relevant license agreement. While a debtor-licensor may “reject” a trademark license agreement under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code, such rejection is only a breach of the agreement and does not allow the licensor to revoke the licensee’s rights.

Click here to read the full alert.

Time 1 Minute Read

Hunton Andrews Kurth restructuring partner J.R. Smith joins the latest installment of Debtwire's Middle Market Podcast to discuss challenges faced by the restaurant industry, particularly the casual dining franchise space.

Time 2 Minute Read

Leveraged loans may have a role in recent retail bankruptcies. Leveraged loan volume is nearing pre-recession highs and is on track to surpass 2007 levels, concerning many regulators and investors. Leveraged loans are typically offered to companies that already have large amounts of debt, and therefore, leveraged loans carry higher interest rates due to an increased risk of borrower default. Companies often use leveraged loans to finance mergers, refinance debt or for general company purposes. Private equity firms also utilize leveraged loans in order to fund takeovers of companies, including struggling retailers. Loans issued to fund leveraged buyouts from private equity firms rose 74 percent in 2017 and totaled 88.5 billion dollars. Additionally, nearly a third of loans to companies backed by private equity firms are leveraged six times or more.

Time 3 Minute Read

In March of this year, consumer electronics and home appliance retailer Gregg Appliances, Inc., better known as H.H. Gregg, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Indianapolis, Indiana. H.H. Gregg, which took over many of the retail spaces previously occupied by Circuit City, is one of many big-box retailers that have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy over the past several years. Like Circuit City, H.H. Gregg was unsuccessful in reorganizing in bankruptcy and is now seeking to recover payments made to vendors and other creditors within 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing.

Time 4 Minute Read

Earlier this month, teen clothing retailer Aéropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, seeking to immediately close 154 of its over 800 stores located throughout the United States and Canada. Many of these stores are located in smaller shopping malls, which have been hit the hardest by the shift to online shopping.

The continued march of retail bankruptcies since 2015 includes Sports Authority, Vestis Retail Group, Inc. (the operator of Sports Chalet, Eastern Mountain Sports, and Bob’s Stores), Radio Shack, American Apparel, Quicksilver, Wet Seal, Delia’s and PacSun.

Time 1 Minute Read

On August 4, 2014, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) of the US Department of the Treasury issued new guidance outlining sound banking practices related to consumer debt sales to third-party debt buyers. The bulletin sets forth the OCC’s expectations for banks that engage in debt-sale arrangements and applies to all OCC-supervised banks.

Read full client alert.

Time 1 Minute Read

The Eighth Circuit recently issued an opinion in the Interstate Bakeries Corporation bankruptcy case reversing its previous holding that a perpetual royalty-free trademark license constituted an executory contract that could be assumed or rejected in bankruptcy.  The Eighth Circuit, in a rehearing en banc on its earlier decision in Interstate III2, determined that the contract at issue should be considered part of an integrated agreement with another contemporaneously executed deal. When the Eighth Circuit expanded the parameters of the contract being considered, it ...

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