Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal

Volume 33Issue 2
The Fourteenth Annual Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal Symposium

Coming to a Retailer Near You: Consumer Privacy Protection in Retail Bankruptcies

Kayla Siam | 33 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 487 (2017)

Consumers’ personally identifiable information is an extremely valuable asset for retailers. The sale of consumer information causes problems for consumers because many bankruptcy retailers transfer personally identifiable information to third parties without notifying consumers beforehand and obtaining their consent. Perhaps most troubling, however, is that retailers facing financial turmoil sometimes sell personally identifiable information in direct violation of their own privacy policies, which specifically promise the safeguarding of consumer information. Numerous regulatory bodies have objected to such transfers, but to no avail. This Comment addresses the shortcomings of current privacy regulations both inside and outside of bankruptcy. Additionally, this Comment recommends the implementation of minimum federal privacy standards and suggests that the Bankruptcy Code include stronger consumer privacy guidelines. These approaches would allow consumers to have a say in who receives their personally identifiable information while simultaneously preserving the status quo.

Read More »

Finding a “Cure”: How Much Interest Is Enough for a Chapter 11 Cure?

Jacob Dean | 33 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 523 (2017)

Default-rate interest—interest triggered by breach of a contractual obligation—implicates both a determination of claim’s status and the claim’s ultimate confirmation. Moreover, default-rate interest can not only amount to millions of dollars rapidly, but also jeopardize a chapter 11 plan’s chances at confirmation. In August 2015, a panel of judges on the Eleventh Circuit ruled on the matter, creating a circuit split for a brief time until a Ninth Circuit panel addressed the question in 2016. Last year, the Ninth Circuit eliminated the split, and all circuits now agree the plain language of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994, an amendment Congress added in 1994 to overrule a Supreme Court case, allows for collection of default interest. The circuits previously disagreed, however, whether Congress intended a requirement for “cure” to be payment of interest at the default rate. This Comment explains why both panels are incorrect.

Read More »

Mixing Business With Pleasure: Evaluating the Blurred Line Between the Ownership of Business and Personal Social Media Accounts Under § 541(a)(1)

Alexandra L. Jamel | 33 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 561 (2017)

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are household names today. Despite the current popularity of social media, however, few courts have addressed the ownership rights in social media accounts. Fewer still have addressed whether a social media account is considered property of the estate. In a case of first impression in 2015, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas concluded that a debtor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts fell under property of the estate. This Comment argues that social media accounts should not automatically fit within the broad scope of § 541(a)(1). Rather, courts should apply a factor-driven, case-by-case analysis to determine whether social media accounts constitute property of the estate. This Comment then proposes a three-prong analytical framework to guide courts’ classification of a debtor’s social media accounts.

Read More »