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Supreme Court cases (2000-2009) - Bankruptcy Law

From lawbrain.com

The Supreme Court through its opinions has sought to clarify federal bankruptcy code[1], which has seen at least one major overhaul in this period.

The list of cases below represents significant bankruptcy-related decisions in the last decade. The case captions appear with short summaries and links to the full Supreme Court opinions. For more US Supreme Court cases, you may wish to visit the FindLaw US Supreme Court Center.


Travelers Indemn. Co. v. Bailey (2009)

In objections to a settlement of tort claims against the insurer of an asbestos manufacturer, the Court of Appeals' order sustaining the objections is reversed where the terms of a prior injunction issued in bankruptcy proceedings regarding the manufacturer barred direct actions against Defendant, and the finality of the Bankruptcy Court's orders generally stood in the way of challenging their enforceability.

Florida Dep't of Revenue v. Piccadilly Cafetarias, Inc. (2008)

In the bankruptcy context, 11 U.S.C. section 1146(a)'s stamp-tax exemption does not apply to transfers made before a plan is confirmed under Chapter 11.

Travelers Cas. & Surety Co. of Am. v. Pac. Gas & Elec. Co. (2007)

Federal bankruptcy law does not disallow contract-based claims for attorney's fees based solely on the fact that the fees were incurred litigating bankruptcy law issues.

Marrama v. Citizens Bank of Massachusetts (2007)

In a bankruptcy case involving the issue of whether a debtor in a Chapter 7 proceeding, despite bad faith conduct, has an absolute right to convert under section 706(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, the Court rules that the courts in this case correctly held that the debtor forfeited his right to proceed under Chapter 13. The Court does not indicate with precision what conduct qualifies as "bad faith" sufficient to permit a bankruptcy judge to dismiss a Chapter 13 case or to deny conversion from Chapter 7, except to indicate the debtor's conduct must be atypical.

Howard Delivery Serv., Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co. (2006)

In the context of bankruptcy law, premiums owed by an employer to a workers' compensation carrier do not fit within 11 U.S.C. section 507(a)(5), which accords priorities, among unsecured creditors' claims, for unpaid contributions to "an employee benefit plan."

Cent. Virginia Cmty. Coll. v. Katz (2006)

A bankruptcy trustee's proceeding to set aside the debtor's preferential transfers to state agencies is not barred by sovereign immunity. Pursuant to the Bankruptcy Clause, Congress may, at its option, either treat states in the same way as other creditors insofar as concerns "Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies" or exempt them from operation of such laws.

Till v. SCS Credit Corp. (2004)

Four justices conclude that the "prime-plus" or "formula rate" best meets the purposes of the Bankruptcy Code's cram down provision; because the proposed 9.5% interest rate is higher than the risk-free rate, it is sufficient to account for the time value of money, which is all 11 U.S.C. section 1325(a)(5)(B)(ii) requires.

Tennessee Student Assistance Corp. v. Hood (2004)

A bankruptcy court's discharge of a student loan debt that was guaranteed by a state entity does not implicate the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity. The Court declined to decide whether a bankruptcy court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over a state would be valid under the Eleventh Amendment.

Lamie v. U.S. Trustee (2004)

11 U.S.C. Sec. 330(a)(1) does not authorize compensation awards to debtor's attorneys from estate funds, unless they are employed as authorized under Sec. 327. To be paid from estate funds under Sec. 330(a)(1) in a Chapter 7 case, the attorney must be employed by the trustee and approved by the court.

Kontrick v. Ryan (2004)

A debtor forfeits the right to challenge a creditor's objection to discharge as untimely under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 4004  if the debtor does not raise the rule's time limitation before the bankruptcy court reaches the merits of the creditor's objection to discharge.

Archer v. Warner (2003)

A debt for money promised in a settlement agreement accompanied by the release of underlying tort claims can amount to a debt for money obtained by fraud, within the terms of the Bankruptcy Code's non-dischargeability statute, 11 U.S.C. section 523(a)(2)A).

Fed. Communication Comm'n v. NextWave Personal Communications, Inc. (2003)

11 U.S.C. section 525 prohibits the FCC from revoking licenses held by a bankruptcy debtor upon the debtor's failure to make timely payments to the FCC for purchase of the licenses. It is undisputed that the FCC is a "governmental unit" that has "revoke[d]" a "license," and that NextWave is a "debtor" under the Bankruptcy Act.

Young v. United States (2002)

The lookback period under Section 507(a)(8)(A)(i) of the Bankruptcy Code is tolled during the pendency of a prior bankruptcy petition, making an IRS claim for debtor's taxes non-dischargeable due to the automatic stay imposed under 11 U.S.C. section 362  during a prior Chapter 13  bankruptcy proceeding, even if debtors obtained a discharge under their newer Chapter 7 petition.

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  1. 11 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq.


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