The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has addressed the tension that may exist between the needs of a bankrupt debtor attempting to reorganize and the rights of nondebtor litigants in In re Philadelphia Newspapers, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15419 (3d Cir. July 26, 2012). The Third Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania abused its discretion in finding that an appeal had been rendered equitably moot as a result of substantial consummation of the Philadelphia Newspapers debtors’ Chapter 11 plan of reorganization and the appellants’ failure to seek a stay. The Third Circuit held that the doctrine of “equitable mootness” may not be applied merely when a plan has been substantially consummated, but instead requires that the appeal at issue would actually undermine that plan.
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