Addressing an issue of first impression, the Second Circuit held recently that bankruptcy courts have inherent authority to impose non-nominal civil contempt sanctions, including per diem sanctions and attorneys’ fees, arising out of an attorney’s failure to comply with the bankruptcy court’s discovery orders.
On October 4, 2022, a Second Circuit panel affirmed the lower court’s decision that defendant Sirius XM Radio Inc.’s ads showcasing The Howard Stern Show do not violate plaintiff John Edward Melendez’s publicity rights. The ruling affirmed the Southern District of New York’s grant of defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims under California common and statutory law, agreeing that plaintiff Melendez’s claims were preempted by the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 301.
Two recent decisions by U.S. District Courts have rejected attempts to include nonconsensual third party releases in chapter 11 reorganization plans. These rulings suggest third party releases may be facing increasing push back from the courts.
Traditionally, bankruptcy only operates to eliminate claims held by creditors against the debtor. Over the last few years, however, corporate debtors have increasingly attempted to include nonconsensual third party releases in chapter 11 plans of reorganization. These third party releases, when approved by the bankruptcy court, operate to preclude creditors of the debtor from pursuing claims they possess against non-debtor third parties. Despite being increasingly found in chapter 11 restructurings, however, third party releases have remained controversial and the subject of heated debates, both inside and outside the courtroom.