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United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland
July 7, 2020, Decided; July 7, 2020, Entered
Case No. 20-11718-MMH, Chapter 11 (Subchapter V)
[*842] MEMORANDUM OPINION
Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy [*843] Code1 offers businesses and individuals an opportunity to reorganize their financial affairs, including their business operations. The process allows the debtor to stay in possession of its assets while working with its creditors to develop a plan that achieves a beneficial result for all, or as many stakeholders as possible. The process can, however, be lengthy and expensive; in fact, it may be cost-prohibitive for some debtors that would otherwise benefit from a chapter 11 case. Congress recognized this dilemma, which often impacts smaller entities and individual business owners more significantly than others, and enacted the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 ("SBRA").
SBRA creates a new subchapter of [**2] chapter 11 of the Code ("Subchapter V"). Subchapter V in turn offers small business debtors, including individuals, a streamlined process and tailored tools for confirming a plan. To help facilitate the process, Subchapter V establishes certain deadlines that a debtor must meet to keep its case on track. These deadlines run from the date of the order for relief in the bankruptcy case but neither Subchapter V nor section 348(b) of the Code specifically adjust these deadlines when a case is converted to chapter 11 from another chapter of the Code. That is the procedural posture of this case.
The Debtor's motion seeking extensions of the SBRA deadlines requires the Court to grapple with a simple but important question: Is SBRA available to a debtor who first files a bankruptcy case under a chapter other than chapter 11 of the Code, but then determines that it is eligible for, and could benefit from, Subchapter V? For the reasons set forth below, the Court answers this question in the affirmative and sets extended deadlines for the Debtor under sections 1188 and 1189 of the Code. To hold otherwise would preclude a debtor, who has not engaged in any dilatory or wrongful conduct, from utilizing provisions of the Code specifically [**3] designed to help small businesses and their creditors.
I. Relevant Background
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
617 B.R. 841 *; 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 1770 **; 2020 WL 3816385
In re: Gregory Trepetin, Debtor.
deadlines, conversion, convert, status conference, small business, justly, bankruptcy case, circumstances, reorganization plan, hold accountable, reorganization, election
Bankruptcy Law, Business & Corporate Compliance, Bankruptcy, Conversion & Dismissal, Conversion & Dismissal, Effects of Conversion, Reorganizations, Plans, Commencement of Case, Voluntary Cases, Order for Relief, Reorganizations, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Farming & Fishing Debtors