Corporations, Securities & Antitrust Practice Group Podcast
On June 13 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, finding that Chapter 9 of the federal Bankruptcy code preempts Puerto Rico’s Recovery Act. The decision prevents Puerto Rico from adopting a settlement plan for its debt through its own legislation and requires it to depend on Congress for a solution. Our experts discussed the opinion and its implications.
SCOTUScast 6-2-16 featuring Zvi Rosen
- Prof. G. Marcus Cole, William F. Baxter-Visa International Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
- Prof. David Skeel, S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz. Between 2003 and 2007 Husky International Electronics sold and delivered electronic device components worth more than $160,000 to Chrysalis Manufacturing Corp. Chrysalis, then under the financial control of Daniel Ritz, failed to pay for the goods and Ritz encouraged the transfer of funds from Chrysalis to various other companies. Ritz held substantial ownership stakes in these companies, which had not given reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the Chrysalis funds.
In May 2009, Husky sued Ritz in federal district court, seeking to hold him personally liable for Chrysalis’s debt. Ritz filed a voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, and Husky then filed a complaint in the bankruptcy court alleging actual fraud, to preclude a discharge of Ritz’s debts. The bankruptcy court ruled that Husky had failed to prove actual fraud, however, and the district court affirmed that decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit likewise affirmed the lower court judgments, finding no record evidence of a false representation by the debtor, which the Fifth Circuit deemed a necessary predicate to establish actual fraud.
The question before the Supreme Court was whether the “actual fraud” bar to discharge under Section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code applies only when the debtor has made a false representation, or whether the bar also applies when the debtor has deliberately obtained money through a fraudulent-transfer scheme that was actually intended to cheat a creditor.
By a vote of 7-1, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Fifth Circuit and remanded the case. Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that the term "actual fraud" in Section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code encompasses fraudulent conveyance schemes, even when those schemes do not involve a false representation. The majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.
To discuss the case, we have Zvi Rosen, who is a visiting scholar at Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law. Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group Podcast
On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor released its much-anticipated “fiduciary” rulemaking, which will greatly expand the universe of entities and persons who will be deemed fiduciaries with respect to retirement plans and accounts. The rulemaking has garnered significant interest from members of Congress, federal and state regulators, FINRA, the financial services industry and investor advocates, among others. Our experts discussed the new rules, and their history and purpose. They also explored several of the key policy issues and controversies associated with the rulemaking.
Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group Podcast
- Jeffrey T. Dinwoodie, Associate, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
- Hon. Annette L. Nazareth, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
On March 30, Federal district court Judge Rosemary Collyer struck down the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s designation of MetLife as a systemically important financial institution. MetLife v. Financial Stability Oversight Council has readily apparent implications for financial regulation, and many commentators have suggested that it may even have far-reaching effects on the future of the larger administrative state. Our expert discussed the opinion, its outlook on appeal, and its possible impact.
Financial Services & E-Commerce Practice Group Podcast
- Hon. Peter J. Wallison, Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Financial Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Bitcoin is dead. Long live Bitcoin. A counterintuitive feature of the groundbreaking cryptocurrency—and there are many—is that both statements may simultaneously be true. The Bitcoin economy is robust and growing, with access to Bitcoin-denominated services expanding and more and more startups and established businesses seeking to capitalize on its popularity. At the same time, the Bitcoin network—literally, the interconnected web of computers that records transactions in Bitcoin’s distributed ledger known as the “blockchain”—is showing the strain of the currency’s success, while disagreements threaten to stymie efforts to expand Bitcoin usage further.
But even as political disputes threaten disruption of the core Bitcoin blockchain, developers are beginning to introduce a new wave of innovation that has the potential to replace political stalemate with market competition. Alternative blockchains, or “alt-chains,” act as replacements for the Bitcoin network and blockchain that facilitate Bitcoin-based transactions off the core blockchain—in the same way that stocks can be traded on a myriad of competing electric trading networks, apart from primary exchanges like NYSE and NASDAQ. Alt-chains and related technologies may be central to preserving Bitcoin’s key speed and cost advantages over traditional financial networks in the years ahead.
As in many innovative fields, some of the greatest barriers to alt-chain success are legal and regulatory uncertainty, far more than technological issues. In a recent Federalist Society White Paper, David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman attempt to resolve some of this uncertainty by cataloguing the diversity of potential applications for blockchain alternatives and addressing the issues raised by alt-chains and other blockchain supplements and replacements under federal and state law. They discussed their paper with Federalist Society members on a Teleforum conference call.
- Andrew M. Grossman, Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP and Adjunct Scholar, The Cato Institute
- David B. Rivkin, Jr., Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP