In re Kaiser Gypsum Co., Inc., 60 F.4th 73 (4th Cir. 2023), pet. for cert. granted, Truck Ins. Exchange v. Kaiser Gypsum Co., Inc., 2023 WL 6780372, (U.S., October 13, 2023).

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a plan proposal to create an asbestos trust through Chapter 11 bankruptcy was “insurance neutral,” and the debtor’s insurer was not a party in interest under Code § 1109(b), which contains a noncomprehensive list of parties in interest to a Chapter 11 case. Whether the insurer was a party in interest determined whether it had standing to appeal the confirmation order.  The issue before the Supreme Court may require consideration of the scope of standing for plan objection as well as appeal. The Court’s decision should be watched for any potential Chapter 13 impacts, but it is unlikely that the decision will address Chapter 13 confirmation.

Code § 1325(b) provides that “the trustee or the holder of an allowed unsecured claim” may object to confirmation, and in event of such objection, the tests of whether a plan satisfies subsections 1325(b)(A) or (b) come into play. Section 1325(a)(5) addresses confirmation requirements for allowed secured claims.  These confirmation requirements and related standing triggers present different issues than are raised in the Kaiser Gypsum appeal.

William-1_print_2019
Editor/Adviser, Academy for Consumer Bankruptcy Education

The Honorable William Houston Brown retired in 2006 as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and he had been designated to sit also in the Middle District of Tennessee, Southern District of Florida, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Kentucky. Judge Brown served a four-year term on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit from 1999 through 2002. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he was Order of the Coif. Judge Brown is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, having served on its Board and Executive Committee, and he is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. He is the author or co-author of several texts, including Bankruptcy Exemption Manual, 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Legislation with Analysis 1st and 2d editions, Bankruptcy and Domestic Relations Manual, The Law of Debtors and Creditors, as well as bankruptcy form books, all published by Thomson West. He is also a principal contributing editor for Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice 3rd, published by Thomson West. Judge Brown prepares a quarterly update of consumer cases for the Federal Judicial Center, which distributes those materials to all bankruptcy judges, and he is a speaker at the Federal Judicial Center’s annual seminars for bankruptcy judges. He also speaks regularly at seminars throughout the United States, on consumer bankruptcy topics. Judge Brown co-authors Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 4th ed., a digital publication, available at ch13online.com. Judge Brown also acts as a mediator in bankruptcy-related disputes, has conducted mock trials, and has testified as an expert witness in bankruptcy court proceedings.

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