In re Lancelot Investors Fund, L.P., et al

Defendants in eleven Lancelot-related (08-B-28225) adversary proceedings brought 17 motions for summary judgment arguing that each matter involved the straightforward application of Bankruptcy Code Sections 546(e) and (g) “safe harbor” limitations on a trustee’s avoidance powers and for that reason they were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law regarding payments and transfers made to them. The Trustee resisted the imposition of summary judgment on two major grounds: that the safe harbor provisions do not shield payments and transfers tainted by Ponzi Scheme fraud and that avoiding the payments and transfers would not materially impact the financial markets. The Defendants suggested that the Trustee’s arguments look beyond the plain statutory text of the safe harbor provisions by reading exceptions into the Code. The Court granted summary judgment as to the Counts alleging preferential transfers and constructive fraudulent transfers under Bankruptcy Code Sections 548(a)(1)(B), 550 and 544 as well as under Illinois law, but denied summary judgment as to the actual fraudulent transfer claims asserted under Section 548(a)(1)(A). The safe harbor provisions specifically prohibit the recovery of preferential transfers, constructively fraudulent transfers and claims based on state law. The provisions do not protect actual fraudulent transfer claims. The Court declined to expand the plain meaning of the statute, and noted that Congress did not exempt all fraudulent transfers from safe harbor protection, only those involving actual fraud, claims that allege that a debtor acted “with actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud any entity” to which the debtor was indebted. Before submitting Orders on these matters, the Court invited the parties to submit supplemental briefs on whether the Orders resolve core matters on which this court may enter final orders in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Stern v. Marshall, 131 S.Ct. 2594 (2011) and the recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Ortiz v. Aurora, 665 F.3d 906 (7th Cir. 2011).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012