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United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
September 7, 2022, Filed
[*424] ON PETITION FOR REHEARING
Stuart Kyle Duncan, Circuit Judge:
The petition for panel rehearing is GRANTED. We withdraw our previous opinion, reported at 2022 WL 3571094, and substitute the following:
Highland Capital Management, L.P., a Dallas-based investment firm, managed billion-dollar, publicly traded investment portfolios for nearly three decades. By 2019, however, myriad unpaid judgments and liabilities forced Highland Capital to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This provoked a nasty breakup between Highland Capital and its co-founder James Dondero. 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.
Dondero 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. First, we hold that equitable mootness does not bar our review of any claim. Second, we affirm the confirmation order in large part. We reverse only insofar as the plan exculpates certain [**3] non-debtors in violation of 11 U.S.C. § 524(e), strike those few parties from the plan's exculpation, and affirm on all remaining grounds.
In 1993, Mark Okada and appellant James Dondero co-founded Highland Capital Management, L.P. ("Highland Capital") in Dallas. Highland Capital managed portfolios and assets for other investment advisers and funds through a complex of entities under the Highland umbrella. Highland Capital's ownership-interest holders included Hunter Mountain Investment [*425] Trust (99.5%); appellant The Dugaboy Investment Trust, Dondero's family trust (0.1866%);1 Okada, personally and through trusts (0.0627%); and Strand Advisors, Inc. (0.25%), the only general partner, which Dondero wholly owned.
Dondero also manages two of Highland Capital's clients—appellants Highland Capital Management Fund Advisors, L.P. and NexPoint Advisors, L.P. (the "Advisors"). Both the Advisors and Highland Capital serviced and advised billion-dollar, publicly traded investment funds for appellants Highland Income Fund, NexPoint Strategic Opportunities Fund, Highland Global Allocation Fund, and NexPoint Capital, Inc. (collectively, the "Funds"), among others. For example, on behalf of the Funds, [**4] Highland Capital managed certain investment vehicles known as collateral loan obligations ("CLOs") under individualized servicing agreements.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
48 F.4th 419 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 25107 **
IN THE MATTER OF: HIGHLAND CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, L.P., Debtor, NEXPOINT ADVISORS, L.P.; HIGHLAND CAPITAL MANAGEMENT FUND ADVISORS, L.P.; HIGHLAND INCOME FUND; NEXPOINT STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES FUND; HIGHLAND GLOBAL ALLOCATION FUND; NEXPOINT CAPITAL, INCORPORATED; JAMES DONDERO; THE DUGABOY INVESTMENT TRUST; GET GOOD TRUST, Appellants, versus HIGHLAND CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, L.P., Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas. USDC No. 19-34054. USDC No. 3:21-CV-538.
NexPoint Advisors, L.P. v. Highland Cap. Mgmt., L.P. (In re Highland Cap. Mgmt., L.P.), 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 23237, 2022 WL 3571094 (5th Cir. Tex., Aug. 19, 2022)
bankruptcy court, exculpation, confirmation, equitable, mootness, Claimant, non-debtors, provisions, Advisors, reorganization, Funds, injunction, parties, consummation, factual findings, entities, gatekeeper, reorganization plan, distributions, class-8, absolute-priority, manage, per curiam, liquidated, employees, portfolio, voted, bankruptcy proceedings, motion to dismiss, gross negligence
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