The Proceduralist Inversion – A Response to Skeel
Yale Law Journal Forum Vol.130, p. 335, 2020
22 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2020
Date Written: December 7, 2020
In Distorted Choice in Corporate Bankruptcy, David Skeel offers a nuanced description of restructuring support agreements (RSAs) and how they can help a debtor to achieve the necessary consensus around a proposed Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. In this Essay we take issue with Skeel’s permissive view toward RSAs that include provisions, such as pre-disclosure lock-ups, milestones, and coercive deathtraps, that short circuit the “process” protections contained in Chapter 11. Chapter 11 contemplates bargaining in the shadow of certain basic statutory “distributional” entitlements: equal treatment, best interests, full cash payment of administrative expenses, and a guaranteed minimum-cramdown distribution. As such, RSAs can either reinforce the link between entitlement and distribution, or they can sever it. Skeel insufficiently appreciates the purpose of process—how procedural protections such as classification, disclosure, and solicitation surrounding the vote forge the crucial link between bankruptcy bargaining and core principles of corporate governance and prebankruptcy entitlement. We offer, instead, an approach which sorts between process-enhancing RSAs and those that facilitate end-runs.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation