Substantive consolidation is a process in corporate bankruptcy in which the assets of related debtor entities are placed into a single vehicle subject to the undifferentiated claims of all the creditors. Doing so resolves inter-debtor claims and vindicates the interests of creditors who thought they were transacting with a unitary debtor, albeit at the expense of those who relied on a strict separation of entities. The Note argues that these functions would be more properly executed under a cause of action created by state law than under federal law. Part I of the Note examines the current law of substantive consolidation in the context of federal bankruptcy law and state corporate law. Part II analyzes the role and constitutionality of state law in bankruptcy remedies. It notes that states may create causes of action as corporate property, which can mirror the effects of substantive consolidation. Part II asserts that this does not violate the Bankruptcy Clause of the Constitution because the Supreme Court’s bankruptcy jurisprudence respects state characterizations of property. Part III sketches a range of possible implementations of state law actions for substantive consolidation. The Note argues these causes of action would yield greater deference to state policy decisions regarding corporate structure, give sophisticated debtors and creditors more flexibility in structuring their relationships, and promote more efficient bankruptcy through increased use of substantive consolidation.
Case Comment: Bhogaita v. Altamonte
EVERY DOG CAN HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT: THE USE OF ANIMALS AS DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS Kyle R. Kroll, Volume 100, Online Managing Editor In Bhogaita v. Altamonte, the Eleventh Circuit recently decided whether to allow a dog in the courtroom as a demonstrative exhibit. Although the case presented many serious [...]
Revisiting Water Bankruptcy
REVISITING WATER BANKRUPTCY IN CALIFORNIA’S FOURTH YEAR OF DROUGHT Olivia Moe, Volume 100, Managing Editor This spring, as “extreme” to “exceptional” drought stretched across most of California—indicating that a four-year streak of drought was not about to resolve itself—Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented order to reduce potable urban water [...]
Defying Auer Deference
DEFYING AUER DEFERENCE: SKIDMORE AS A SOLUTION TO CONSERVATIVE CONCERNS IN PEREZ v. MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION Nicholas R. Bednar, Volume 100, Lead Articles Editor* On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association. The Court overturned the D.C. [...]