Third-Party Bankruptcy Releases: An Analysis of Consent Through the Lenses of Due Process and Contract Law
By Dorothy Coco
Bankruptcy courts disagree on the use of third-party releases in Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans, the different factors that circuit courts consider when deciding whether to approve a third-party release, and the impact of the various consent definitions on whether a release is or should be binding on the creditor. Affirmative consent, “deemed consent,” and silence are important elements in this discussion. Both contract law and due process provide lenses to evaluate consent definitions to determine whether nondebtor third-party releases should bind certain creditor groups. This Note proposes a solution that follows an affirmative consent approach to protect against due process violations and promote consistency across bankruptcy courts.