In Re: Am. Capital, No. 10-2239 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
From the 1930s through the 1970s, Skinner manufactured ship engines and parts, allegedly containing asbestos. Merchant mariners began bringing injury claims in the 1980s. In 1998, AC acquired all of Skinner’s common stock. Based on lack of cash flow to maintain operations or service secured debt, Skinner and AC filed petitions for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001; more than 29,000 asbestos claims were pending against Skinner. The Bankruptcy Court converted to Chapter 7 on the basis that the plan was patently unconfirmable. Insurers, legal representative for future asbestos claimants, Maritime Asbestosis Legal Clinic, and the Trustee, joined an appeal. The Third Circuit affirmed. The court properly found, based on the disclosure statement hearing, that the fifth plan was patently unconfirmable under 11 U.S.C. 1129(a)(3) because its success is entirely contingent on speculative future litigation, and because it asks third-party asbestos claimants, who were not a cause of the bankruptcy, to serve as the sole funding source for attorneys and other creditors, under circumstances involving inherent conflict of interest and inequitable procedural provisions. Given the futility of pursuit of a Chapter 11 plan and mounting liabilities, the court acted within its discretion by converting the case.