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The New Jersey Law Journal presents its annual analysis of the key issues facing this practice today not only in the legal market, but to a wide range of consultants throughout the financialcommunity as well. Topics include: an analysis of a Chapter 11 debtor’s right to terminate collective bargaining agreements and retiree benefits, exploring the interplay between the rights of secured creditors and trust requirements imposed under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, filing bankruptcy petitions and handling small business bankruptcies.
Landlords Can Get Trapped in Servitude to Debtors Even though the statutory requirement for payment of all post-petition lease obligations is clear and unambiguous, the question arises: How is it that landlords in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases — and particularly, in the large retail cases that occupy the bankruptcy courts every year — find themselves trapped in involuntary servitude to debtors who continue to use a leased location, generate income from that use, and then stiff the landlord for significant amounts of rent? Reducing Costs by Terminating Retiree Benefits in Chapter 11 The Employee Retirement Income Security Act does not vest in retirees any rights to their nonpension retiree benefits and, since companies treat such benefits as current expenses, they are often targeted for reductions when companies enter Chapter 11. When a State Law Statute of Limitations Lapses During a Bankruptcy On occasion, dismissal of bankruptcy cases no doubt results in the concomitant dismissal of adversary proceedings involving state law claims with respect to which the statute of limitations elapsed during the bankruptcy case. The question arises: What can the plaintiff in such proceedings do to safeguard its rights relating to its claims? The Expanding Scope of Lender Liability Bankers beware. Lenders are under stricter scrutiny regarding who they conduct business with and what they know about their debtors, particularly when a debtor subsequently files for bankruptcy. Secured Creditors May Not Be As Secure As They Think They Are Did you ever think that a tomato could trump a secured creditor’s ability to recover assets in a bankruptcy proceeding? It may seem absurd, but for lenders involved with grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants or other purveyors of fruits and vegetables, this is a harsh reality. Bankruptcy Notice: How Critical Is It? The filing of the bankruptcy petition begins the case but does not itself commonly serve as the vehicle for notification of creditors and other parties in interest of the bankruptcy proceedings. Actually, the creditor matrix filed with the petition is perhaps the most critical first-day document filed. Representing the ‘Small Business’ Bankruptcy Representing the small business debtor successfully can be quite challenging. There are potential benefits for electing to file a small business bankruptcy, however, such a filing is not devoid of risk — especially if there is a question as to whether the debtor will be able to file a plan within the strict statutory deadlines.

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