automatic stay

3M’s Aearo scores quick appeal of bankruptcy court’s ruling on earplug MDL

(Reuters) – By the end of 2023, we should have a much better idea about whether companies facing vast mass torts exposure can use the bankruptcy system to sidestep multidistrict litigation in federal court.

On Wednesday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition by 3M Co subsidiary Aearo Technologies LLC to review a bankruptcy court’s decision refusing to block MDL litigation against the parent company despite Aearo’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The 7th Circuit order means that Aearo will not have to first challenge the ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeffrey Graham of Indianapolis in federal district court, which is usually the first stop for bankruptcy appeals. Instead, Aearo can tell the 7th Circuit directly why it believes that more than 200,000 combat veterans should not be permitted to continue litigating their claims against 3M for selling allegedly defective earplugs in an MDL in Pensacola, Florida.

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The 3rd Circuit, as you probably recall, is weighing a parallel case. That court heard oral arguments last month about whether the bankruptcy of a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary can halt nearly 40,000 claims that J&J’s talc products

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Bankruptcy filing threatens to delay IMG Center sale effort

A bankruptcy filing threatens to delay a sale of the IMG Center, a 15-story downtown Cleveland office building that has been tied up in court for three years.

James Breen Real Estate LLC, a small company owned by longtime IMG Center steward Jim Breen, filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on July 20. The move hit the pause button on foreclosure litigation over the IMG Center as a monthslong sales push seemed to be nearing its crescendo.

It’s unclear how long the timeout will last. In Chapter 7 cases, an automatic stay — which stalls lawsuits, foreclosures, repossessions and collection actions against a debtor — typically runs for 90 days or so. But creditors can seek relief from those restrictions.

James Breen Real Estate is not actually a defendant in the foreclosure case, raising the question of whether the stay will have sticking power. At very least, though, the bankruptcy filing complicates an already messy legal fight and adds to the uncertainty around the future of a high-profile property.

Paul Downey, the court-appointed receiver who has been overseeing the IMG Center since October 2019, said he’s unsure about the implications for the sale effort, which he’s conducting with help from

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