Individual Viewer

The More Things Change...The Supreme Court's Bellingham Decision & Its Impace on Bankruptcy Litigation

Length: 2 hours 30 minutes

A panel of experienced litigators and bankruptcy lawyers will discuss the ramifications of Bellingham, as well as more broadly address the intersection of the bankruptcy court’s statutory powers with the judicial powers created under Article III of the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s Stern v. Marshall decision in 2011 unleashed a flurry of litigation over the power of bankruptcy courts to determine matters that, until that point, had been assumed to be well within the bankruptcy courts’ adjudicative authority.  Despite the Supreme Court’s cautionary language to the contrary, there was concern that the division of labor between the federal district courts and the bankruptcy courts had fundamentally shifted.  With the release of its unanimous follow-up decision in Executive Benefits Ins. Agency v. Arkison (In re Bellingham Ins. Agency) in June of this year, the high Court effectively confirmed that it still views bankruptcy courts as the functional equivalent of a plenary court for most bankruptcy matters.  Bellingham also squarely addressed one issue Stern created (the so-called statutory “gap”), by holding that bankruptcy courts have the power to issue proposed findings on so-called “Stern claims” (claims designated for final bankruptcy court adjudication as a statutory matter, but prohibited from proceeding in that way as a Constitutional matter).  But Bellingham also left unaddressed several other important questions Stern raised:  What is the universe of “Stern claims” and does it include fraudulent transfers?  Can parties consent to bankruptcy court adjudication of “Stern claims?”  If so, can such consent be implied?  The Panel will discuss these important unanswered questions as well.

CLE credit: New York: 3.0 professional practice. New Jersey: 3.3 general MCLE. California & Pennsylvania: 2.5 general MCLE.


6:00–6:15 pm    Welcome and Introductions
                           Mark M. Elliott

6:15–6:45 pm    How We Got Here: The Intersection Between the Bankruptcy Code and   Article III of the Constitution
                           Steven Wilamowsky

6:45–7:00 pm    Break

7:00–7:30 pm    Bellingham: Filling in the “Gap”
                          Mark M. Elliott

7:30–8:00 pm    Looking Ahead: Can Parties Consent to Bankruptcy Court Adjudication of “Stern Claims?”
                          Michael E. Wiles

8:00–8:30 pm    Looking Ahead: What Constitutes a “Stern Claim?”
                          Demetra L. Liggins

8:30–9:00 pm    Panel Discussion and Q&A



Original Recording Date: 9/8/2014

Produced By:

New York City Bar Association

Course Materials

  • *The More Things Change...The Supreme Court's Bellingham Decision & Its Impace on Bankruptcy Litigation
  • Affirmation Document