NexPoint v. Highland Capital Management, No. 21-10449 (5th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Highland Capital Management, L.P., a Dallas-based investment firm, managed billion-dollar, publicly traded investment portfolios for nearly three decades. However, myriad unpaid judgments and liabilities forced Highland Capital to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This provoked a breakup between Highland Capital and its co-founder. Under those trying circumstances, the bankruptcy court successfully mediated with the largest creditors and ultimately confirmed a reorganization plan amenable to most of the remaining creditors.
The co-founder and other creditors unsuccessfully objected to the confirmation order and then sought review in this court. In turn, Highland Capital moved to dismiss their appeal as equitably moot.
The Fifth Circuit first held that equitable mootness does not bar the court’s review of any claim. Second, the court affirmed the confirmation order in large part. The court reversed only insofar as the plan exculpates certain non-debtors in violation of 11 U.S.C. Section 524(e), strike those few parties from the plan’s exculpation, and affirm on all remaining grounds.
The court explained that in sum, the court’s precedent and Section 524(e) require any exculpation in a Chapter 11 reorganization plan be limited to the debtor, the creditors’ committee and its members for conduct within the scope of their duties and the trustees within the scope of their duties. And so, excepting the Independent Directors and the Committee members, the exculpation of non-debtors here was unlawful.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on August 19, 2022.