By M. Jonathan Hayes
Butner v. United States, 440 U.S. 48 (1979)
Issue: When determining the rights of lienholders, should the bankruptcy court look to state law or may it use a “federal rule of equity”?
Holding: State law governs “unless some federal interest requires a different result.”
Justice John Paul Stevens for the unanimous court.
Comment: The dispute here was between a chapter 7 trustee and a lienholder over who had the right to the rent collected on a certain piece of real property. The Supreme Court ignored all of the state law issues . . .
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