GLF Bankruptcy As American As Apple Pie

GLF Bankruptcy As American As Apple Pie

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.

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