State Law Preference Actions: A Thing of the Past?
Nathan, Bruce S., Cargill, Scott, Business Credit
Sherwood Partners v. Lycos, Inc.
Credit grantors usually think of a preference claim as part and parcel of a debtors bankruptcy case. However, numerous states have insolvency proceedings that also permit the recovery of preferences. Wow, another source of preference headaches!
An assignment for benefit of creditors ("ABC") is one such state law liquidation proceeding that resembles a liquidation case under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. California has a modern and widely used ABC statute, including a preference statute that is similar to Section 547 of the Bankruptcy Code (the "Bankruptcy Preference Statute"). California's preference statute enables an "Assignee" for the benefit of creditors, who is akin to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, to recover preferential transfers.
However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Sherwood Partners v. Lycos, Inc., recently ruled that the California preference statute is preempted by the United States Bankruptcy Code and directed dismissal of the Assignee's pending preference action. If that ruling stands, and it is subject to a request for rehearing and reconsideration, state law preference actions in California and possibly other states might become a thing of the past.
An Overview Of ABCs
An ABC is an alternative means of liquidating a financially troubled debtor, in lieu of a liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. An ABC is governed by state law, either by common law or by statute. ABC's are not uniform nationwide, unlike the uniform liquidation regimen of Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Each state has different ABC procedures. Some states, like California, have a modern ABC statute that has led to the widespread use of ABCs, while other states, like New York, have more antiquated, less used ABC statutes.
As a general proposition, an ABC is a contract under which a debtor transfers all of its right, title, interest in and custody and control of its property to a third party, an Assignee, in trust. An ABC is designed to be a more expeditious, less expensive liquidation than a federal bankruptcy case. In an ABC, the debtor, who could be an individual, partnership, corporation, or limited …
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Publication information: Article title: State Law Preference Actions: A Thing of the Past?. Contributors: Nathan, Bruce S. - Author, Cargill, Scott - Author. Magazine title: Business Credit. Volume: 107. Issue: 3 Publication date: March 2005. Page number: 66+. © 1999 National Association of Credit Management. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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