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Aaron Kaufman advises clients on a full range of commercial restructuring matters, including representation of debtors, creditors, committees, trustees, receivers, banks, landlords, tenants, equity holders and prospective purchasers in small, mid-sized and large bankruptcy cases and related litigation. He has experience in a wide range of industries including retail, health care and senior living, hospitality, wholesale distribution and manufacturing, commercial and residential real estate, technology, and energy.

Over the years, much has been written about the Bankruptcy Code’s treatment of small businesses, and the American Bankruptcy Institute Commission’s testimony to Congress this summer made clear that the existing law fell short of providing necessary relief for small businesses. For example, of the 18,000 small business bankruptcy cases filed between 2008 and 2015, less than 27% of those cases resulted in confirmed plans of reorganization. And these numbers excluded countless small businesses that, for a variety of reasons, did not or could not seek bankruptcy relief. See Robert J. Keach, ABI Testifies on Family Farmers and Small Business Reorganizations, XXXVIII ABI Journal 8, 8-9, August 2019, available at https://www.abi.org/abi-journal/abi-testifies-on-family-farmers-and-small-business-reorganizations (subscription required). 
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A Supreme Court ruling this week should give creditors a powerful tool to collect their debts from debtors who try to transfer assets before seeking bankruptcy protection. The primary reason an individual may turn to personal bankruptcy is to protect assets from creditor collection while obtaining a “discharge” from debts. Such protection is increasingly necessary where an individual is being pursued by one or more creditors, particularly where those creditors may have obtained (or are about to obtain) judgments against the individual. Once a debtor obtains a discharge in bankruptcy, creditors are prohibited from continuing to pursue collection efforts against the debtor. The Bankruptcy Code generally favors “fresh starts” for honest debtors, but there are several important exceptions to this general rule. Section 523(a) of the Bankruptcy Code contains at least 19 such exceptions, ranging from exceptions for unpaid taxes to exceptions for judgments arising from securities law violations. One of the more frequently litigated discharge exceptions is the “actual fraud” exception under section 523(a)(2)(A) of the Bankruptcy Code. That issue was front and center in Husky International, Inc. v. Ritz, 15-145 (May 16, 2016) (slip op.)

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