As a long-time bankruptcy attorney, I am as big a proponent of the bankruptcy system as anyone else. However, a line in a recent Time® Magazine article, a line comparing bankruptcy to Apple Pie really struck me as funny. The article was a brief “history” of bankruptcy, dating back to the Romans who would dismember debtors and distribute their limbs to the creditors (Yuck!). I’m not sure what one does with the arm of a person who owed you money, but it did illustrate the dramatic change in attitude in resolving debt. Bankruptcy laws are generally seen as a more empathetic, humane means of resolving debt.
The article can be found here on Time® Magazine’s website, however, the print version contains a few other facts which I share here:
- In 450 AD Roman debtors are reportedly dismembered and their severed body parts given to their creditors in satisfaction of the debt owed;
- In 1542, England adopted a bankruptcy law that allowed a debtor to be put to death;
- In 1901, Henry Ford’s (yes, THAT Henry Ford) first automobile manufacturing company files for bankruptcy protection;
- In 1915, the Supreme Court holds that bankruptcy laws should give a debtors a chance to “start afresh,” giving rise to the often use term “Fresh Start”;
- In 2008, Lehman Bros. files for bankruptcy protection, and with $639 billion in assets, it is the single-largest bankruptcy filing to date;
- In 2009, GMC files for bankruptcy protection, and is considered to be the single-largest industrial bankruptcy filing in the history of the United States.
The article is brief, but well worth a look. Again, go check it out here.
In other Bankruptcy-Related news, today the Star Tribune announced that it has filed a reorganization plan with the Bankruptcy Court and hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 protection this fall. The plan cuts its labor costs by $20M a year, a common tact in the many news company bankruptcies currently pending. The question in my mind is, can print-media survive? Virtually every week a new print media company files for bankruptcy protection. For more information, check the Star Tribune’s website here.
**Image Courtesy of Time® Magazine’s website, http://www.time.com.**
David L. Gibbs is an attorney with The Gibbs Law firm, APC. The firm’s practice focuses on issues related to Bankruptcy, Business Law and Manufactured Housing; including community subdivision, pre-purchase diligence and analysis as well as advising community owners on operational, financial and enforcement issues. The firm also represents manufactured home dealers in a wide range of issues. David L. Gibbs is admitted to the Federal Courts for the Central and Southern District of California, and also holds a California real estate broker’s license. The firm continues to offer a wide range of real estate and business related services as it has done for 34 years from its offices in San Clemente. Mr. Gibbs can be reached at (949) 492-3350.