New Falls Corp. v. LaHaye, No. 19-30795 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
After a grocery went bankrupt, a creditor filed a proof of claim for about $325,000, the balance on a loan it had made to the grocery. In the business's Chapter 11 plan, the bankruptcy court awarded the creditor the grocery store and the land where it was located. After assessing the value of the property at $225,000, the bankruptcy plan reduced the outstanding balance on the loan to $100,000, which the owners of the grocery remained liable for. The owners then filed for bankruptcy and the creditor again filed a proof of claim for the entire debt. The creditor argued that the $225,000 credit against the guaranteed loans should not apply in the owners' personal bankruptcy, because the store had not yet been transferred and the vacant property had declined in value.
The Fifth Circuit concluded that the terms of the first bankruptcy are binding in the second bankruptcy. The court explained that, under section 1141(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, the provisions of a confirmed bankruptcy plan bind both the debtor and its creditors. Therefore, the creditor is bound by the provision of the first bankruptcy plan awarding it the grocery store in exchange for a fixed-value credit against the guaranteed debt. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment upholding the bankruptcy court's orders sustaining the owners' objection and confirming their individual bankruptcy plan.