Bankruptcy matters have been the focus of several recent posts by A. Benjamin Spencer, a rising star who is currently Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law and the brains behind two terrific blogs that have recently caught my attention.
His first blog, started last September, is the Federal Practice Bulletin blog, which I highly recommend to all bankruptcy litigators. His latest post is entitled “Fourth Circuit Holds that Class Action Not Superior Method Under Rule 23(b)(3) Compared to Adversarial Bankruptcy Proceeding.” In it, he cites to a recent decision, Gregory v. Finova Capital Corp., 2006 WL 619063 (4th Cir., 3/14/06) (pdf), where the Fourth Circuit issued another fractured opinion, this time reversing as an abuse of discretion a decision of the South Carolina district court certifying a securities fraud class action case commenced by the debtor’s noteholders against the debtor’s principal lender on the basis that the Creditors’ Committee had already commenced an adversary proceeding against the lenders containing similar securities fraud allegations.
Given the split within the 4th Circuit itself, Professor Spencer must have had a tough time deciding whether to include the Gregory case on his Federal Practice Bulletin blog or his second blog, started last October, called “Split Circuits” (though “split circuits” generally relate to splits among the circuits, not splits within a single circuit itself). Bankruptcy practitioners have long known that if you look hard enough, you’ll find a bankruptcy court opinion to support just about any litigation position asserted, so don’t be surprised then to see Professor Spencer blogging about bankruptcy quite frequently in his Split Circuits blog, as he did in these two recent posts:

Petition for Cert. Filed to Settle Circuit Split re application of 28 U.S.C. § 1367 to Bankruptcy Jurisdiction; and

Fourth Circuit Notes Circuit Split re Whether Bankruptcy Law “Property of the Estate” Includes Property the Debtor Fraudulently Transferred.

Best of luck Professor Spencer and thanks for your contributions to the blogosphere!
UPDATE: Special thanks to Craig Goldblatt of WilmerHale’s DC Office for sending along pdf’s of the cert. petition and the corresponding appendix in the Sasson v. Sokoloff case regarding the applicability of 28 USC § 1367 and principles of “pendant,” “ancillary,” and “supplemental” jurisdiction in bankruptcy cases. With bankruptcy-related procedural issues among Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s favorite topics, we sure hope that the Supreme Court grants the cert. petition. It certainly is an issue that daily affects the decisions of bankruptcy judges and litigators.
© Steve Jakubowski 2006