Adler v. Walker

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down a decision affirming the dismissal of claims against clients represented by the Firm in a complex adversary proceeding arising out of a multi-million dollar bankruptcy. In 2012, the Federal District Court in New Orleans dismissed wide-ranging claims for fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract, and malpractice levied against a prominent local law firm and one of its partners, finding that the plaintiff -- the disbursing agent to a post-confirmation debtor corporation -- lacked standing because the debtor had failed to reserve effectively its claims in the plan of reorganization. The District Court held that, pursuant to controlling Fifth Circuit law, a debtor must reserve claims it seeks to bring after emerging from bankruptcy "specifically and unequivocally" in the plan. See, e.g., In re United Operating, 540 F.3d 351 (5th Cir. 2008). On appeal and after hearing oral argument, the Fifth Circuit rejected arguments raised by the plaintiff and affirmed the District Court's dismissal. Stephen H. Kupperman and Michael A. Balascio represented the defendants in the District Court and on appeal.