Women's clothing retailers across the country, including in Pennsylvania, have had a particularly bad year, with several national chains filing for bankruptcy. The latest company to file for Chapter 11 relief is a well-known bra and lingerie seller with stores in the western part of the country. The company also markets a catalog nationwide and online.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is generally a reorganization procedure allowing a business in Pennsylvania or elsewhere to get rid of some of its debt and negotiate restructuring of other debt, thus perhaps allowing the company to keep operating with a modified debt structure. In some instances, particularly those in which a company has planned carefully in advance and has the assistance of experienced bankruptcy counsel, it may file for bankruptcy and continue to operate straight through the process, coming out of the bankruptcy in a stronger economic position than before. Another benefit of a Chapter 11 filing is that a company may continue to operate without interruption of its business affairs and without a shutdown of its retail outlets.
In Pennsylvania and other states, a crippling money judgment against a company may result in the company deciding to file bankruptcy. In some instances, that may be done to delay the execution of the judgment pending appeal, and to allow for possible reorganization of other debts of the company. In some cases, a bankruptcy may be filed where multiple lawsuits or verdicts threaten to exceed the capacity of the company to pay, such as in the case of many simultaneous asbestos judgments.
All types of businesses, including in Pennsylvania, have taken advantage of the federal bankruptcy laws to reorganize their affairs and attempt to stay in business with a streamlined new business approach. The legal vehicle for that attempt is a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. That chapter of the Bankruptcy Code is known generally as the business reorganization section.
The Bankruptcy Code allows a business in Pennsylvania or elsewhere to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This reorganization provision is generally a plan to restructure the finances and activities of the company and remain in business. Some companies, however, may need Chapter 11 only as a transitional phase where they will continue to operate at least partially, but under a plan that, in the end, will lead to final closing and liquidation.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy gives a business entity the chance to significantly reorganize its debt structure in an attempt to find a viable way to remain operating. That solution also generally benefits the creditors, who otherwise might get a far lower return in a Chapter 7 liquidation. The procedure and general legal principles are similar from state-to-state, including in Pennsylvania, because the bankruptcy laws are based largely on the federal Bankruptcy Code.
There are many business owners in Pennsylvania that are familiar with the ups and downs of the economy and the effect it can have on their overall business. This combined with other unexpected circumstances, such as unexpected weather events, can have a major effect on the success of a business. One out-of-state winery has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Have you ever heard of a college suddenly closing, leaving students, some of which were on the brink of graduating, without a complete college education? This is what happened at Bryman College, which operates 11 campuses. The college filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and fired all of its employees before emailing all of its students to tell them the school was closing for good because of financial reasons.