American Bankruptcy Institute Update

February 15, 2005

In This Issue


Legislation Update

Senate to Mark Up Bankruptcy Bill on Thursday

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up bankruptcy legislation on Thursday. The bill (S. 256), introduced by Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R–Iowa), is similar to bankruptcy legislation that passed the House during the last Congress. A number of amendments are expected, meaning that more than one markup session will be needed. The Senate is in recess during the week of Feb. 21, pushing the timeframe into at least March. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R–Tenn.) has said he hopes to move it to the floor as soon as possible. A companion bill (H.R. 685) was introduced in the House last week.

House to Vote on Senate-passed Class-action Bill

The House vote on the class-action measure is expected tomorrow or Thursday, CongressDaily reported. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R–Texas) and Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R–Wis.) promised expedited passage of the Senate compromise bill “without alteration” if senators refrained from amending it during last week’s debate. The Senate approved the measure last week. The bill would move many class-action lawsuits from state courts to federal courts, where more stringent rules would govern the cases. It is identical to a compromise that had the support of more than 60 senators last year, but stalled after GOP and Democratic leaders clashed over unrelated amendments.

GOP Working to Strike Balance on Asbestos Legislation

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R–Pa.) is reviewing GOP concerns that could doom his flagging asbestos proposal, CongressDaily reported. Sen. John Cornyn (R–Texas), a Judiciary Committee member who is the GOP point person on asbestos legislation, said today he is reaching out to Democrats and Republicans, meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.), while also working with Republicans to fashion a bill. Cornyn and Feinstein are discussing concerns from the right and left with Specter’s draft. Republicans have been critical of elements of the asbestos proposal, including provisions that would allow some cases to continue in court. Despite the GOP concerns, Democrats have yet to embrace Specter’s bill, either. Lobbyists and staffers watching the bill say Specter is struggling to find the right balance needed to appease all sides.

Register for ABI’s New York Bankruptcy Conference

Make plans to attend the Seventh Annual New York City Bankruptcy Conference, to be held May 9 at the Millennium Broadway in New York. Bringing together a faculty of bankruptcy judges from the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and practitioners from the top national insolvency firms, this day-long educational forum is designed to appeal to both experienced and new practitioners.

The stand-alone primer course “Bankruptcy Fundamentals: Nuts and Bolts for New and Young Practitioners” will be offered on May 6. At this special program, to be held at the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, an outstanding faculty of judges, academics and practitioners will explain the fundamentals of bankruptcy. Register online today.

What’s New at

A paper on “Ancillary Proceedings—Should the Tail Wag the Dog?: Select Examples of Broad Ancillary Relief in Canadian and U.S. Insolvency Courts,” presented at the ABI’s Canadian–American Symposium on Cross-border Insolvency Law in Toronto is available online.

Register for ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting by Feb. 25 and Save!

Join ABI for the 23rd Annual Spring Meeting, to be held April 28–May 1, 2005 in Washington, D.C. Register by Friday, Feb. 25 and save $70 off the regular registration rate. Join top faculty, prominent judges and practitioners from around the nation for four days of networking, CLE/CPE programming and top notch entertainment. This year’s program features the Ninth Annual Great Debates and workshops on suppliers to distressed industries, dealing with state regulators in utility industry bankruptcies, pre– and post-confirmation issues in consumer conversions between chapters 13 and 7, consumer credit issues, asset sales, mass torts litigation in chapter 11, secured property in chapter 7, churches and nonprofits in chapter 11, new commercial lending vehicles and trends, legislative and case law developments, professional fees, a judges’ roundtable on hot bankruptcy issues and more. Register online today!

Latest Job Postings at ABI Career Center

Check out the ABI Career Center. The Center is a one-stop site for job seekers and employers in the insolvency community. Career Center resources are available free to both employers and job seekers. New positions are featured daily. The latest listings include: