Justia Class Action Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Bankruptcy
In Re: Fed-Mogul Global, Inc.
The company and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sought to resolve asbestos-related liability through the creation of a personal-injury trust under 11 U.S.C. 524(g). As part of its reorganization plan, it sought to transfer rights under insurance liability policies to the trust. The Insurers had provided liability policies to the debtors prior to bankruptcy and objected that the transfer violated the policies' anti-assignment provisions. The bankruptcy and district courts held that 11 U.S.C. 1123(a)(5)(B) preempts those provisions. The Third Circuit affirmed. Section 524 trusts are the only national statutory scheme available to resolve asbestos litigation through a quasi-administrative process. The plain language of 11 U.S.C. 1123(a) evinces clear intent for a preemptive scope that includes transfer of property to a 524 trust; that preemption reaches private contracts enforced by state common law. View "In Re: Fed-Mogul Global, Inc." on Justia Law
State of Nevada v. Bank of America Corp., et al.
The State of Nevada filed a parens patriae lawsuit against Bank of America in Clark County District Court, alleging that the Bank misled Nevada consumers about the terms and operation of its home mortgage modification and foreclosure processes, in violation of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Nev. Rev. Stat. 598.0903-.0999. Nevada also alleged that the Bank violated an existing consent judgment in a prior case between Nevada and several of the Bank's subsidiaries, entered in Clark County District Court. The Bank removed the action to federal district court, asserting federal subject matter jurisdiction as either a "class action" or "mass action" under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), and as arising under federal law, 28 U.S.C. 1331. Denying Nevada's motion to remand, the federal district court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the action as a CAFA "class action," but not as a "mass action," and that it also had federal question jurisdiction because resolving the state claims would require an interpretation of federal law. The court concluded that because parens patriae actions were not removable under CAFA, and the action did not otherwise satisfy CAFA's "mass action" requirements, the district court lacked jurisdiction under CAFA. The court also exercised its interlocutory appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1453(c) to review the district court's determination that it had federal question jurisdiction because the complaint referenced the federal Home Affordable Mortgage Program and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCP), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq. The court concluded that the district court lacked federal question jurisdiction. Because there was no basis for federal subject matter jurisdiction, the case was remanded to Nevada state court. View "State of Nevada v. Bank of America Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Gentry v. Circuit City Stores, Inc.
Named Claimants filed "class proofs of claims" in these consolidated bankruptcy cases in which Circuit City and related entities are the debtors. Named Claimants alleged that they, together with unnamed claimants, were owed almost $150 million in unpaid overtime wages. The court affirmed the decisions of the bankruptcy court with a different procedural approach for allowing claimants to file class proofs of claim and to present Rule 9014 motions. With respect to the bankruptcy court's ruling that in the circumstances of this case, the bankruptcy process would provide a process superior to the class action process for resolving the claims of former employees, the court concluded that the court's ruling fell within its discretion. With respect to these Named Claimants' challenge to notice, the court concluded that the notice to them was not constitutionally deficient - a conclusion with which they agreed - and that, with respect to unnamed claimants, the Named Claimants lacked standing to challenge the notice. View "Gentry v. Circuit City Stores, Inc." on Justia Law
The RGH Liquidating Trust v. Deloitte & Touche LLP, et al.
This case stemmed from Reliance Group Holdings, Inc.'s ("RGH") and Reliance Financial Services Corporation's ("RFS") voluntary petitions in Bankruptcy Court seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the trust that was established as a result. The trust subsequently filed an amended complaint alleging actuarial fraud and accounting fraud against respondents. At issue was whether the trust qualified for the so-called single-entity exemption that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 ("SLUSA"), 15 U.S.C. 77p(f)(2)(C); 78bb(f)(5)(D), afforded certain entities. The court held that the trust, established under the bankruptcy reorganization plan of RGH as the debtor's successor, was "one person" within the meaning of the single-entity exemption in SLUSA. As a result, SLUSA did not preclude the Supreme Court from adjudicating the state common law fraud claims that the trust had brought against respondents for the benefit of RGH's and RFS's bondholders. Accordingly, the court reversed and reinstated the order of the Supreme Court.