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Francis J. Lawall, left, and Kate Mahoney, right, of Pepper Hamiliton. Francis J. Lawall, left, and Kate Mahoney, right, of Pepper Hamiliton.

A designation of “insider” status can impact a wide range of issues within a bankruptcy proceeding and sometimes change the outcome of the case. For example, the preference clawback period is deemed extended to one year for any payments or other transfers made by a debtor to an insider. In addition, transactions involving insiders are required to be reviewed with heightened scrutiny and can impact plan voting disputes. Therefore, a bankruptcy court’s determination regarding insider status is often the subject of appeal. In an important, but arguably narrow, recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has opined that the standard of appellate review of a bankruptcy court’s finding of nonstatutory insider status is clear error, as opposed to de novo in U.S. Bank v. Village at Lakeridge, 138 S. Ct. 960 (2018).

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