Karol Denniston

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On January 29, 2019, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the nation’s largest utilities, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  PG&E’s bankruptcy is certain to be one of the largest and most complex restructurings in recent years and will involve state and federal regulators and a myriad number of issues, including the impact of the bankruptcy case on criminal proceedings now pending against PG&E. In an article recently published in Bankruptcy Law360, restructuring partners…
Municipalities often drive economic development through subsidiaries and affiliated entities. When these “quasi-municipalities” become distressed, however, questions arise as to whether the potential debtor qualifies as a debtor under Chapter 11 or Chapter 9. This uncertainty can lead to litigation over whether the entity may proceed as a Chapter 11 debtor or is a governmental unit that must proceed through a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. In states where Chapter 9 is not authorized, Chapter 11…
Special revenues may not be as special as many bondholders have historically expected.  Two recent rulings[1] from District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain in the Puerto Rico PROMESA proceeding have held that bond issuers are not required to make post-petition special revenue bond payments during a pending Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”)[2] Title III bankruptcy proceeding.  Judge Swain also held that unless the Oversight Board authorizes special revenue payments,…
In Nortel Network’s (“Nortel”) chapter 11 case, In re: Nortel Networks Inc., et al., United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Case No. 09-10138(KG), Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross recently reduced the Indenture Trustee’s counsel fees by $913,936.00 in response to heavily litigated objections to the fees by noteholders, Solus Alternative Asset Management LP (“Solus”) and PointState Capital LP (“PointState”) (collectively the “Objecting Noteholders”).  The court’s opinion has several important takeaways for indenture trustees…
This week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its highly-anticipated ruling in Marblegate Asset Management, LLC v. Education Management Corp. (“Marblegate”).  At issue in Marblegate was whether Education Management Corp. (“EDMC”) violated the Trust Indenture Act when it implemented a restructuring that impaired the rights of Marblegate Asset Management, LLC (“MAM”).  The Second Circuit reversed the District Court’s decision in favor of MAM, and held that EDMC’s restructuring did not violate…
Recently, in Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. (“Caesars”), U.S. Bankruptcy Judge A. Benjamin Goldgar denied payment of indenture trustee Wilmington Trust’s attorneys’ fees and costs in connection with the Debtors’ motion to approve a settlement.  The U.S. Trustee objected to payment arguing that the Debtor could not rely on 11 U.S.C. § 363 (seeking settlement approval) as authority to pay Wilmington Trust’s fees and costs.  Sustaining the U.S. Trustee’s objection, the Court found that as a…
NASA defines a black hole as a place in space where gravity is relentless and pulls so much that not even light can get out.  And, so it goes with Chicago as it attempts to get out of its pension black hole. The recent Illinois Supreme Court opinion in Jones v. Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, 2016 IL 119618 (Ill. 2016) (“Jones”) may have created a wormhole or way through Chicago’s pension…
Restructuring partners Mark Salzberg and Karol Denniston, together with financial services partner, Michael Cuda, recently authored a chapter in “Inside The Minds: Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Restructuring Strategies – Leading Lawyers on Navigating Recent Trends, Cases and Strategies Affecting Chapter 11 Clients” published by Thomson Reuters/Aspatore. In their chapter, entitled “New Developments in Chapter 11 and Chapter 9 Filings,” Mark, Karol and Michael analyze, among other topics: Key judicial decisions rendered in 2015…
This is the first of several posts on gathering agreements in bankruptcy, covenants running with the land and rejection claims that arise when a debtor finds gathering agreements financially burdensome. As our readers know, we waited with much anticipation for the Sabine ruling and wait with equal anticipation for the ruling on similar issues in QuickSilver.  Being pragmatic business lawyers we decided to blog on what parties to gathering agreements should be doing now in…
Last week our Energy Restructuring Team attended the Energy CFO Roundtable in Houston that focused on “Restructuring in the Oil Patch”.  Stephen Lerner, the chair of our Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group, was one of the panelists.  In this blog we summarize some of the important takeaways from the Roundtable, along with our current thoughts and insights on the current turmoil in this sector. “This cycle is different from 1986.”  Comparing this market to the…