In chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, it is not uncommon for secured parties/lenders to provide a “carve-out” for various professional fees.  Frequently there may be a “carve-out” for “all chapter 11 professionals” or the “carve-out” may be broken out in different amounts for the debtor’s professionals as opposed to, for example, Creditors’ Committee professionals.  These “carve-outs” can often be in a Cash Collateral Order (assuming the debtor is using the secured party’s collateral) or in a DIP Order (debtor-in-possession financing). So what does a carve-out mean?

Continue Reading So What Does a Bankruptcy Carve-Out Clause Really Mean? Delaware Bankruptcy Court Concludes It is Not a Cap on Fees After All

A previous blog post addressed lender liability for environmental conditions on property a lender might acquire as a result of foreclosure.  Another issue lenders in Connecticut must consider prior to foreclosing on a property is the Connecticut Transfer Act.  The Transfer Act requires transferors of “establishments” to make specific disclosures to transferees regarding the environmental condition of the property being transferred and also requires one party (usually either the transferor or transferee) to be a certifying party, i.e., the party responsible for all investigation and remediation of the property in accordance with Connecticut’s Remediation Standard Regulations (or “RSRs”).

An establishment includes properties where certain enumerated operations have occurred at any time since May 1, 1967:  dry cleaners, auto body repair, and furniture stripping; as well as any property where greater than 100 kg of hazardous waste was generated in any one month, on or after November 1, 1980; and/or where any hazardous waste, generated at a different location, was recycled, reclaimed, reused, stored, handled, treated, transported or disposed of.

Continue Reading Transfer Act for Lenders

In a win for secured creditors, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a debtor who sought to cure a pre-petition default of its loan through its Chapter 11 plan must pay the default rate of interest set forth in the note. In Pacifica L 51 LLC v. New Investments Inc., the debtor proposed to pay the outstanding amount due under the note at the pre-default interest rate.  This proposal was in accordance with law in the Ninth Circuit, which held that even if a loan agreement provided for a higher post-default interest rate, a debtor who cured a default was entitled to repay at the lower, pre-default rate.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds Debtor Must Pay Default Interest Rate in Order to Cure Under Bankruptcy Plan

Are you ready to jump on the tax-exempt bond bandwagon? Over the last eight years, the landscape of tax-exempt bond financing has changed and more and more bonds are being sold directly to banks across the nation.

Do you have customers or potential customers that are: hospitals, health centers, visiting nurses associations, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, child care organizations, colleges, universities, private independent schools, museums, theaters, zoos, adult day care facilities, boys & girls clubs, community action agencies, and social service agencies?

Continue Reading The Bond Bandwagon

Massachusetts is notorious for having hyper-technical rules about notarization.  The trouble started in 2009 with the bankruptcy case of Matthew H. Giroux.  Mr. Giroux signed a mortgage in front of a notary public.  He acknowledged to the notary public that he signed the mortgage voluntarily for its stated purpose.  The notary public signed where he was supposed to, affixed his notarial seal, and inserted the expiration of his commission.  The mortgage was then recorded in the appropriate registry of deeds.  The notary public, however, forgot to insert Mr. Giroux’s name in the certificate of acknowledgement (the notary block on the mortgage); so it said: “[B]efore me personally appeared _____________ to me known to be the person (or persons) described in and who executed the foregoing instrument . . . .”  The bankruptcy court didn’t like that and invalidated the mortgage.

Ok, lesson learned.  Notaries—don’t forget to fill in the name of the person who signed the mortgage.

Continue Reading New Forms May Alleviate Some Concerns About Massachusetts Notarizations

Last week, a Texas federal judge temporarily blocked the federal Department of Labor’s proposed overtime regulation that would have increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay by increasing the salary level for the “white collar” exemptions to $47,476 per year.

Under the FLSA, employees must be paid time and a half of the employee’s regular hourly rate for each hour worked over 40 hours a week, unless the employee falls within an exemption from overtime by meeting the criteria for salary and duties.  As it stands, to qualify for a white collar exemption, the employee must meet the minimum salary level of $455 per week or $23,660 per year.  The proposed regulation would have doubled that minimum salary level, allowing fewer employees to be exempt. The regulation would have also raised the salary used for “Highly Compensated Employees” from the current threshold of $100,000 to the 90th percentile of average weekly salaried earnings – about $122,000.

Continue Reading DOL’s New Overtime Regulation Will NOT Go in to Effect on December 1

Readers may recall an earlier blog post regarding a bank’s potential liability for damage to private property caused by a tree falling onto a neighbor’s property.  In addition to property damage from obvious unsafe conditions, banks should also consider the potential liability associated with potential, unseen environmental conditions on property it has foreclosed upon.  Under Connecticut and federal law, landowners are typically responsible for the remediation of environmental contamination that exists on their property, regardless of who caused the contamination in the first instance.  However, there are exemptions that protect lenders from liability for environmental conditions so long as certain requirements are met. Continue Reading Protecting Lenders from Environmental Liability for Foreclosed Properties

As I type this blog post, I am sitting at my desk with a four-inch-thick binder filled with title insurance forms—form policies, form endorsements, premium rate tables, survey requirements, etc.—and it occurs to me that many people who deal with real estate loans and title insurance on a daily basis may have never read a title insurance policy.

It’s probably not necessary for a loan officer involved in a real estate transaction to read the whole title insurance policy, but it may be helpful to have a basic understanding of the benefits and limitations of a lender’s title policy as well as some of the optional endorsements.  To provide a basic understanding of title insurance, this post is the first in what will be a series of articles on title insurance from a lender’s perspective.

Continue Reading Title Insurance: What is its Value?

The use of unitranche financing creates opportunities for lenders and value for borrowers.  There are some risks that lenders must understand in these structures.

With the volume and competition of middle market financings growing, many loan officers and lenders are asking, “What can we do better in order to get more business?”

In an acquisition financing scenario, unitranche may be a good path for you and your borrower.  Continue Reading Unitranche Financing – is it for you?

For better or worse, banks frequently obtain possession of, or title to, pieces of property.  Often times, these parcels of land have been neglected and are in poor condition.  It would not be surprising to find a property that a bank obtained via foreclosure that had decaying trees looming over a neighbor’s fence.  But what happens when that tree falls, causing damage to the neighbor’s property?  Is the bank liable?  Continue Reading TIMBER! – Liability for damage to private property caused from a fallen tree?