Federalist Society SCOTUScast
About This Show
SCOTUScast is a project of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies. This audio broadcast series provides expert commentary on U.S. Supreme Court cases as they are argued and issued. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker. We hope these broadcasts, like all of our programming, will serve to stimulate discussion and further exchange regarding important current legal issues. View our entire SCOTUScast archive at http://www.federalistsociety.org/SCOTUScast.
Most Recent Episode
Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corporation - Post-Decision SCOTUScast
On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court decided Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corporation. Jevic Transportation, Inc., a trucking company headquartered in New Jersey, was purchased by a subsidiary of Sun Capital Partners in 2006. In 2008 Jevic filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, at which that point it owed about $73 million to various creditors. Jevic’s former truck drivers then sued it for violating federal and state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Acts, by failing to provide the requisite 60 days’ notice before a layoff. Separately, unsecured creditors filed a fraudulent conveyance action. In March 2012, representatives of all the major parties met to negotiate a settlement of the fraudulent conveyance suit. The representatives--except for the drivers’ representative--agreed to a settlement that would provide for payment of legal and administrative fees, a schedule for the payment of various creditors (though not the drivers), and ultimately a “structured dismissal” of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy. -- The drivers and US Trustee objected, arguing that the settlement would improperly distribute estate property to creditors with lower priority than the drivers, in violation of the Bankruptcy Code. The Bankruptcy Court rejected these objections and approved the proposed settlement. The U.S. District Court and then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed, holding that the Bankruptcy Court had not abused its discretion in approving a structured dismissal that did not adhere strictly to the Bankruptcy Code’s priority scheme. -- By a vote of 6-2, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Third Circuit and remanded the case. In an opinion by Justice Breyer, the Court held that (1) the drivers have Article III standing to bring the present litigation; and (2) bankruptcy courts may not approve structured dismissals of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases that provide for asset distributions which do not follow ordinary priority rules established by the Bankruptcy Code without the consent of affected creditors. Justice Breyer’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Alito joined. -- To discuss the case, we have Thomas Plank, who is the Joel A. Katz Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law.