The New Bargaining Theory of Corporate Bankruptcy and Chapter 11’s Renegotiation Framework

A post by guest blogger Professor Anthony J. Casey (University of Chicago)

The prevailing theory of corporate bankruptcy law states that its purpose is to vindicate or mimic the agreement that creditors would have reached if they had bargained with each other to write their own rules. That idea – the Creditors’ Bargain theory – has held a central place in the minds of lawyers, judges, and scholars for almost forty years. At the same time, Creditors’ Bargain theorists have struggled to explain what actually prevents creditors from bargaining with each other and how efficient rules that interfere with creditors’ bargained-for rights fit into the theory.

Meanwhile, in other areas of the law, scholars have long recognized the limits of hypothetical contract theories. Notably, scholars have shown that when parties have limited or asymmetric information and incentives to bargain strategically, their contracts will be incomplete in ways that the law cannot remedy with a hypothetical contract. Bankruptcy scholars have never squarely addressed this challenge.

Taking aim at these issues, my article, The New Bargaining Theory of Corporate Bankruptcy and Chapter 11’s Renegotiation Framework, proposes a new law-and-economics theory of corporate bankruptcy. Continue reading “The New Bargaining Theory of Corporate Bankruptcy and Chapter 11’s Renegotiation Framework”

The US Sunnyslope–case: a slippery slope for creditors?

Valuation in cramdown procedures: creditors be damned?

The facts of the case

The debtor, Sunnyslope Housing Limited Partnership (“Sunnyslope”), developed and operated an apartment complex intended to provide affordable housing. When Sunnyslope defaulted on the senior loan for the project, the Department of Housing and Urban Development honored its guarantee, acquired the senior loan from the original private lender, and resold it to First Southern National Bank. First Southern started the foreclosure process, which would have wiped out affordable housing restrictive covenants related to additional financing. The debtor then was put into bankruptcy, and it exercised the cramdown option of 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(5)(B) and elected to retain the property in exchange for a new payment plan that would require it to pay First Southern an amount equal to the present value of the secured claim at the time of bankruptcy.

Sunnyslope argued that the value of First Southern’s secured interest should be calculated with the affordable housing restrictions remaining in place. Continue reading “The US Sunnyslope–case: a slippery slope for creditors?”