When a business is unable to service its debt or pay its creditors, the business or its creditors can file with a federal bankruptcy court for protection under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 11.
In most Chapter 11 cases, the debtor remains in control of its business operations as a debtor in possession, and is subject to the oversight and jurisdiction of the court.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy retains many of the features present in all, or most bankruptcy proceedings in the United States. It also provides additional tools for debtors as well. Most importantly, 11 U.S.C. § 1108 empowers the trustee to operate the debtor's business. In Chapter 11, unless appointed for cause, the debtor acts as trustee of the business.
Bankruptcy affords the debtor in possession a number of mechanisms to restructure its business. A debtor in possession can acquire financing and loans on favorable terms by giving new lenders first priority on the business' earnings. The court may also permit the debtor in possession to reject and cancel contracts. Debtors are also protected from other litigation against the business through the imposition of an automatic stay. While the automatic stay is in place, most litigation against the debtor is stayed, or put on hold, until it can be resolved in bankruptcy court, or resumed in its original venue.
If the business's debts exceed its assets, the bankruptcy restructuring results in the company's owners being left with nothing; instead, the owners' rights and interests are ended and the company's creditors are left with ownership of the newly reorganized company.
Call (619) 702-5015 to speak to a knowledgeable attorney if you have any questions regarding this information.