National Diversity Event — October 24, 2019 at 4 PM — Roadways to the Federal Bench: Who, me? A Bankruptcy Judge?

In an effort to improve diversity in the bankruptcy bench and bar and the federal bench in general, the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System is hosting a simultaneous, nationwide event occurring live in 19 cities on October 24, 2019 at 4 PM Eastern. Boston is one of the cities hosting the event, where it will take place at the John J. Moakley Courthouse. The event is open to all lawyers and law students who register for the event.

The program will start with a livestreamed engaging panel discussion with Judges Bailey, Donald, and Gordon, moderated by retired Judge Davis. You will learn about bankruptcy practice (you get to go to court!), roadways to the bench, and why diversity is so important in the bankruptcy bench and bar. You will then participate in an hour of “roundtable” discussions, where judges sitting at your table will talk about their roadways and answer your questions. Every fifteen minutes, the judges will move to another table, so you will meet up to 8-10 judges in just one hour. We expect that Bankruptcy, Circuit Judges, District and Magistrate Judges will attend and participate in this event. There will be a reception immediately following the event.

Registration opens September 17, 2019, at noon Eastern. We have limited space, so availability is on a first-come, first registered basis. No charge, but you MUST register. DON’T MISS OUT! Once registration opens, you can sign up by visiting the event website HERE and clicking on the registration button when that becomes active. If space is available, you will receive an email confirming your registration within a few days. If you receive a confirmation email and are later unable to attend, please let us know immediately so that we can make space available to another lawyer or law student. In some instances, interested lawyers and law students may be placed on a wait list if space later becomes available. In the meantime, that website has more details about the event. Who, me? Yes, you! See you there.

6/21/2019: Bankruptcy Court 2019 Summer Associate Reception

Calling All Summer Associates and Interns! On Friday, June 21 from 1:00-3:00 p.m., the Bankruptcy Court Diversity Initiative Task Force and the Bankruptcy Law Section of the Boston Bar Association are hosting a reception on the 12th Floor of the John W. McCormack Post Office and Court House located at 5 Post Office Square.

The event is for 2019 Boston area summer associates to learn about the Court’s work and opportunities to practice before it. Lunch will be provided. Please encourage your summer associates and interns to attend. They can sign up for the event by clicking here.

Brown Bag Luncheon with the Honorable Frank J. Bailey 5/23/19

Thursday, May 23, 2019
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
John McCormack Post Office Court House – 5 Post Office Square, 12th Floor Library, Boston, MA

Please join the Consumer Bankruptcy Committee for an interactive discussion with the Honorable Frank J. Bailey. This will be an excellent opportunity to hear about Judge Bailey’s current concerns and to discuss hot topics of the day with fellow bankruptcy practitioners. If you have any questions that you would like to ask Judge Bailey, please email them to Kate Cruickshank at [email protected] by May 17, 2019. The questions will be screened and submitted anonymously.

This event is free and lunch will be provided to those who pre-register. Please RSVP using the link below. You do not need to be a BBA member to register. For any parties interested in attending the program by phone, a dial in number is provided.

REGISTRATION INFO.: https://www.bostonbar.org/membership/events/event-details?ID=30633


29th Annual Bankruptcy Bench Meets Bar Conference 5/22/19

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
UMASS Club – 1 Beacon Street, 32nd Floor, Boston MA

The BBA’s Bankruptcy Bench Meets Bar Conference is an annual opportunity for bankruptcy professionals and the Federal Bankruptcy Court Judges to meet and share insights, observations and analysis on key issues for 2019 and beyond.

This year’s agenda includes:
I. Recent Bankruptcy Cases of Interest (including pending at the U.S. Supreme Court)
II. Issues Regarding Individual Chapter 11 Cases
III. Issues Arising in Church and other Non-Profit Entity Bankruptcy Cases

REGISTRATION Info: https://www.bostonbar.org/membership/events/event-details?ID=30160

ABI Bankruptcy Mediation Training Program 5/9/19

ABI Bankruptcy Mediation Training Program

Date: May 9, 2019

Venue: Suffolk University

Program: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (registration starts at 1:30 p.m.)

Please join ABI for its first Three-Hour Bankruptcy Mediation Training Program on Thursday, May 9, at Suffolk University School of Law. Designed for both the consumer and business attorney, this program is more than “Mediation 101”; it is designed to simulate conceptual interests in mediation as a useful tool in districts where mediation might be underutilized and might need a local rule refresh to enhance the process.

REGISTRATION: https://www.abi.org/events/three-hour-bankruptcy-mediation-training-program-0

Help Out, Have Fun, and Feel Good!

Need a break from bankruptcy and billable hours? Connect with your colleagues while helping out our community. Join the BBA’s Bankruptcy Section and IWIRC New England for an evening of service at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

Wednesday, March 6th from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM at 70 South Bay Ave., Boston, MA 02118.

A few hours of your time will help the GBFB feed thousands of families in need throughout eastern Massachusetts.

To participate, sign up here!

Fine print: During the project, volunteers might be asked to load product onto a conveyor belt, inspect and sort nonperishable donations, sort produce, put nutrition labels on product, and package foods for distribution to partner agencies. Some tasks require the ability to lift up to 50 pounds, but there are a variety of tasks for all abilities. In general, the only requirement is that a volunteer stand and inspect products for a few hours. Please remember, closed-toe shoes are required while volunteering (no sandals or flip flops).

Case Law Update: Beware Representing the Company and the Equity in Insider Transactions

Case: Blast Fitness Group, LLC v. Gary W. Cruickshank, Chapter 7 Trustee of The Estate of Blast Fitness Group, LLC (In re Blast Fitness Group, LLC), no. 16-10236-MSH (Bankr. D. Mass.).

Opinion By: Judge Melvin S. Hoffman

January 8, 2019

Facts:

Chapter 7 Trustee brought forth an adversary proceeding seeking damages and injunctive relief against the law firm of Goodwin Proctor, a Goodwin partner, and a former Goodwin attorney (collectively the Goodwin Defendants), along with dozens of other defendants, for allegedly depriving Blast Fitness Group, LLC (BFG) of profit opportunities and diverting valuable assets which lead to BFG’s Chapter 7 filing.

Goodwin, on behalf of BFG and a BFG subsidiary, had drafted an asset purchase agreement to acquire three fitness clubs in 2012 (the Bally Transaction). In order to raise capital for this acquisition, members of BFG agreed to sell a preferred member interest to Dixon Limited Partnership, an affiliate of BFG’s controlling equity holder (Mr. Dixon). The member consent was drafted by the Goodwin Defendants and stated that a direct subsidiary of BFG would be acquiring the three fitness clubs. These member funds were used to subsidize the purchases and upon closing BFG had not received the clubs because they were sold to three LLC’s in which Mr. Dixon managed and effectively owned. Mr. Dixon then directed BFG to make above market rent payments to the LLC’s which managed the three fitness clubs.  In 2012, Mr. Dixon also transferred profitable BFG clubs for less than full consideration to Newfit, LLC, another LLC effectively owned by him.  Goodwin had drafted that asset transfer agreement. Mr. Dixon also transferred BFG received clubs from Lexfit, LLC (also owned by him) to Newfit. Goodwin drafted that agreement as well.

The Trustee’s causes of action against the Goodwin Defendants included legal malpractice, breach of professional fiduciary duty, breach of contract, violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, § § 2 and 11, and unjust enrichment in the form of attorneys’ fees paid to Goodwin. The Trustee also sought to recover attorneys; fees in the Newfit and Lexfit transactions as fraudulent transfers under MFTA § § 5 and 6 and Bankruptcy Code § 550. Goodwin filed motions to dismiss all counts and moved for partial summary judgment on the fraudulent transfer counts and unjust enrichment count with the Goodwin partner joining in on the motion for partial summary judgment. The former Goodwin partner sought dismissal of all counts against him.

Holding:

The Goodwin Defendants’ motions to dismiss relating to the 2012 Bally transaction were denied. The Court found unconvincing the Goodwin Defendants’ arguments that claims relating to this transaction were time-barred by the three year statute of limitations governing malpractice under M.G.L. ch. 260, § 4 because BFG should have realized they did not receive the fitness clubs upon closing, their payment of rent for these properties to Mr. Dixon’s LLC’s, and Mr. Dixon’s knowledge of this should be imputed to the other members. The Court agreed with the Trustee that the statute of limitations was tolled under M.G.L. ch. 260, § 12 which governs tolling when a defendant fraudulently conceals a cause of action from the plaintiff. The Court found that because a fiduciary relationship existed between the Goodwin Defendants and BFG, they had a duty to inform BFG members that they were paying for but not acquiring the fitness clubs. The Court also ruled that rental payments were irrelevant because members were not required to make inquiry into non-BFG entities and Mr. Dixon’s knowledge of the transfer should not be imputed to BGF members because under the adverse domination doctrine his knowledge of the transaction was not enough to prevent tolling.

The Court denied the Goodwin Defendants’ motions to dismiss the Trustee’s claims of malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of M.G.L. ch. 93A, and breach of contract relating to the Newfit and Lexfit transactions.  The Court found unconvincing Goodwin’s arguments that there was no breach of duty because there was no conflict of interest in simultaneously representing BFG and its controlling equity holder, Mr. Dixon, because it is not unlawful and is common for firms to represent an LLC and its controlling equity holder in transactions designed to favor that main equity holder. The Court ruled that the Trustee’s amended complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted because a duty of undivided loyalty was owed to BFG and they were harmed through lost revenue and club sales to Newfit and Lexfit for less than market value.

The unjust enrichment claim against the former Goodwin partner was dismissed because the claim did not specify that he had received substantial payments from BFG to which he was entitled. The Court ruled that the motion for partial summary judgment on fraudulent transfers under MFTA §§ 5 and 6 and Bankruptcy Code § 550 in the form of attorneys’ fees paid to Goodwin and the partner was premature and denied without prejudice. Goodwin argued that BFG received sufficient value for the transfers in the form of legal services and that the second fee was not paid by BFG. The Court allowed the Trustee to seek additional discovery to determine whether the second payment was in fact from BFG and if sufficient value was given for the transfers.

Read The Full Case Here

Summary Prepared By:

Erica James

New Lawyers Section Liaison to Bankruptcy Law Section

FinTech in the Commonwealth – 3/21/19

FinTech in the Commonwealth: Regulatory and Privacy Considerations
March 21, 2019 @ 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

From coins and banknotes, to credit cards and ATM machines, “financial technology” has a long history of finding new and betters ways for people to exchange goods and services and leverage their capital. So why (and how) is today’s financial technology “disrupting” the way we save money, pay for services, make investments, and take out loans? This program provides a general overview of financial services in the age of the smartphone, the regulations governing the applications, processes, products and business models known as “FinTech,” and forecasts the challenges of data privacy and artificial intelligence decision-making that entrepreneurs, consumers, and the legal industry will inevitably grapple with in the years ahead.

LINK TO REGISTER:  https://www.bostonbar.org/membership/events/event-details?ID=29991