Earlier in October, Federico Cenzi Venezze and I posted “A Capital Market, Corporate Law Approach to Creditor Conduct” up on SSRN. Michigan Law Review is scheduled to publish the article in their next volume.
In this article, we focus on the problem of creditor conduct in distressed firms — for which policymakers ought to have the economically-sensible repositioning of the distressed firm as a central goal. This problem has vexed courts for decades, without coming to a stable doctrinal resolution. It’s easy to see why developing an appropriate rule here has been difficult to achieve: A rule that facilitates creditor operational intervention going beyond ordinary collection on a defaulted loan can induce creditors to intervene perniciously, to shift value to themselves. But a rule that confines creditors to no more than collecting their debt can allow failed managers to continue mismanaging the distressed firm, with the only real alternative to the failed incumbent management — the creditor — being paralyzed by unclear and inconsistent judicial doctrine.
The article proceeds in four steps. For the first step, we show that existing doctrines do not address themselves to facilitating efficacious management of the failing firms. Yet with corporate and economic volatility as important as ever, courts should seek to make doctrine here more functionally-oriented than it now is.