Articles Posted in Bankruptcy

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ConocoPhillips Co. and Alma Energy Corp. exchanged oil and gas interests under an exchange agreement in which each indemnified the other for any environmental claims related to the properties received. Alma later filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Thereafter, Noble Energy Inc. agreed to by the properties Alma had received from Conoco under the exchange agreement. After the bankruptcy proceeding concluded, an environmental contamination suit was filed against Conoco, and Noble refused to indemnify Conoco under the exchange agreement. Conoco filed suit against Noble alleging breach of the exchange agreement and seeking to recover the $63 million it paid to settle the suit. The trial court granted summary judgment for Noble. The court of appeals reversed and entered summary judgment for Conoco, concluding that the exchange agreement was an executory contract that was assumed by Alma and assigned to Noble in the bankruptcy proceeding. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that under the terms of the bankruptcy court order confirming the plan of reorganization and the agreement for sale of Alma’s assets, Noble was assigned an undisclosed contractual indemnity obligation of Alma. View "Noble Energy, Inc. v. Conocophillips Co." on Justia Law

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Mark Fisher and Reece Boudreaux were limited partners of Nighthawk Oilfield Services, Ltd. (“Nighthawk”), which acquired Richey Oilfield Construction, Inc. (“Richey Oil”) from Mike Richey. The business did not go well, and Nighthawk and Richey Oil filed for bankruptcy. Richey sued Fisher and Boudreaux in Wise County where Richey resided, alleging claims for, inter alia, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, statutory fraud and violations of the Texas Security Act. Fisher and Boudreaux responded by moving to transfer venue to Tarrant County or dismiss the suit pursuant to the mandatory venue selection clauses in the acquisition documents. The trial court denied the motions. Fisher and Boudreaux sought mandamus relief from the court of appeals, which denied relief. The Supreme Court conditionally granted relief, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to enforce the venue selection clauses in the acquisition documents. View "In re Fisher" on Justia Law

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A corporation (Infodisc) and one of its subsidiaries (M-TX) defaulted on a loan from a bank. A California court placed the borrowers in receivership to liquidate their assets securing the loan, and an ancillary receivership was opened in Texas. Meanwhile, another Infodisc subsidiary, a California corporation (M-CA), declared bankruptcy. The receiver claimed and sold property in a Texas warehouse that the Landlord alleged was not leased to Infodisc or M-TX but to M-CA. The parties disputed who the tenant was and who owned the property and fixtures in the warehouse. After the trial court rejected almost all of the Landlord's claims, the Landlord appealed. The court vacated the trial court's judgment and dismissed the case, holding that the proceedings violated the automatic stay even though M-CA was not a party to the case. The Supreme Court granted review and reversed, holding that the court of appeals should have abated the appeal to allow the application of the automatic stay to be determined by the trial court in the first instance. Remanded. View "Evans v. Unit 82 Joint Venture" on Justia Law

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Petitioner claimed a trailer was his, but, upon evidence the trailer was stolen, the justice court awarded the trailer to the State. Later, Petitioner filed for bankruptcy and scheduled the trailer as an asset of his estate. Petitioner also sued for damages for the lost use of his property as a constitutionally compensable taking. The trial court dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction, concluding that the justice court judgment was not void but was only voidable, and the judgment was voidable only if the bankruptcy court made certain determinations. The court of appeals reversed, holding (1) a judgment rendered in violation of the automatic stay is void, not merely voidable, and a state court has jurisdiction to make that determination, even though the bankruptcy court might later disagree; and (2) as to Petitioner's takings claim, subsisting fact issues precluded dismissal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a judgment that violates the automatic stay is void and subject to collateral attack in state court; but (2) the judicial award of property to the State was not, in these circumstances, a taking. Remanded. View "York v. State" on Justia Law