Thursday, November 17, 2011



                Like many things in life preparation is key.  When dealing with a Chapter 11 reorganization nothing is different.  Be ready before the first meeting with an attorney and continue to prepare all the way through filing.
Step One:  Documentation
                It is very important for you to gather all documents that would not only help you get a grasp on your financial situation but that would also help your potential attorney.  The below items are a good place to start gathering.  The list applies to the smallest business or individual to the largest businesses.
1.       Copies of any and all bills that are owed
2.       Copies of any and all loan documents
3.       Copies of any and all notes and mortgages on all property
4.       Copies of any contract or lease you are a party to
5.       Copies of any lawsuit or court paper
6.       A detailed list of personal property and its estimated value (include inventory)
7.       A detailed list of all real property owned
8.       A profit and loss for the past two years
9.       A balance sheet
10.   Any other financials
11.   Tax returns for the previous two years
Unique to Personal (Individual) Chapter 11 Cases
12.   A credit report (free at
13.   6 Months Paystubs
Step Two:  Communication
                Communication is just as important as documentation when it comes to preparing to file or even contemplating filing.  You need to be very specific on what you would like to accomplish in a filing.  Sometimes what you want and what is realistic do not match up and if you communicate it clearly the attorney should be able to let you know what can and cannot happen (or what usually happens). 
                Also make sure to ask questions, that is why the attorney is there.  It is very important that you speak with a qualified Chapter 11 bankruptcy attorney.  Chapter 11 bankruptcy is not like Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 so be careful to make sure Chapter 11 is something the attorney is comfortable with and has done in the past.
                Once you have fully communicated what you wish to accomplish and asked all of your questions you should be ready to make a decision on whether or not Chapter 11 reorganization makes sense.  Should you chose to move forward the next step is getting the papers ready and filing the Chapter 11.

The Law Office of Jason A. Burgess, LLC’s Guide to a Successful Chapter 11 Reorganization

Over the next few articles I will go through what it takes for a successful Chapter 11 reorganization.  Below is the preview of what is to come:

I.                    Preparation
a.      Documentation
b.      Communication
II.                  The Filing
a.      Review
b.      Ask
III.                First Day Motions
a.      Cash Collateral Issues
b.      Officers Pay
c.       Employee Wages
d.      Utilities
IV.                The First 40 Days
a.      Bank Accounts
b.      Documentation
c.       The “IDI”
d.      The 341
e.      Monthly Operating Reports
V.                  Other Things to Know
a.      Trustee Fees
b.      Motions for Relief from Stay
c.       Post Petition Credit
d.      Other Professionals
VI.                Getting Out of Bankruptcy
a.      Disclosure Statement
b.      Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization
                                                              i.      1129(a) Confirmation
                                                            ii.      1129(b) Confirmation
1.      Absolute Priority Rule
2.      Personal Absolute Priority Rule
VII.              Post Confirmation
a.      Payments
b.      Final Decree
c.       Discharge
d.      Life After Discharge/Closure

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

District Court in Tampa Weighs in on Individual Absolute Priority Rule.

The District Court for the Middle District of Florida Tampa Division has ruled on the absolute priority rule and its application to individual chapter 11 cases.  The Honorable Judge Susan C. Bucklew wrote in SPCP Gourp, LLC v. James John Biggins 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107728 that the absolute priority rule did not apply in individual chapter 11 cases.  The Judge stated the language is clear that the absolute priority rule was to be removed during the amendments to the code.  The Judge did put in a footnote regarding In re Gelin stating that Gelin had different facts from the case before her.  However that does not take away from the ruling that the APR does not apply to individual chapter 11 cases.  This is the first district court case in Florida to deal with the issue.  While it may not be binding in your particular district it sure is heavily persuasive.  Finally a counter for the much discussed In re Gelin (and at a higher level court)!