Weinman v. Walker, No. 14-1236 (10th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff Jeffrey Weinman was the Chapter 7 Trustee for Adam Aircraft Industries (“AAI”). Defendant Joseph Walker was an officer of AAI and served as its president and as a member of its Board of Directors. Throughout his employment, Walker had neither a written employment contract nor a severance agreement with AAI. In February 2007, the Board decided it wanted to replace Walker as both president and as a board member. Since AAI did not want Walker’s termination to disrupt its ongoing negotiations for debt financing, AAI suggested that Walker could voluntarily “resign” in lieu of termination and could also continue to support the company publicly. Subsequently, Walker agreed, and the parties executed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) outlining the terms of Walker’s separation, and they also embodied these terms in two Separation Agreements and Releases. About a year after terminating Walker, AAI declared bankruptcy. It then sued in bankruptcy court to avoid further transfers to Walker, to recover some transfers previously made to Walker, and to disallow Walker’s claim on AAI’s bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court denied AAI’s claims. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (“BAP”) affirmed this ruling in its entirety. AAI appealed part of the ruling, arguing that its obligations and transfers to Walker were avoidable under the Code on two alternative bases. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the BAP's decision.