Friday, March 4, 2011

EXECUTIVE SEVERANCE PAYMENTS IN BANKRUPTCY CASES

I Have a Written Severance Agreement, but the Company Terminated My Employment and Then Filed for Bankruptcy. Can I Collect the Severance I am Owed?  



Many times incoming Executives are offered lucrative severance packages in the event they are terminated, or the company goes bankrupt.  Little do they know....

Employees have certain advantages over Executives when it comes to collecting wages and compensation due from bankrupt employers.

Here is how it works. 

Executive severance payments for bankrupt companies are limited by 11 U.S.C. Section 502(b)(7), which in essence says the following:

Bankrupt Employers Responsible to Pay a Maximum of One Year Severance Pay to Terminated Executives 

Executives can receive no more than 1 year of pay from either the date they are terminated (if before the bankruptcy is started) or from the date of the bankruptcy (if they are fired on or after the bankruptcy filing).

I Am Owed Severance From My Bankrupt Employer - How Do I Complete and File a Proof of Claim? 

In the bankruptcy context, such severance payments are deemed to be accelerated for purposes of filing a Proof of Claim.  In other words, assume that Executive earning $200,000 has a 3 year severance package, payable beginning 30 days after he/she is fired, over 36 equal monthly payments.  The executive in question is then fired on the day the bankruptcy filing is made. 

When the Executive goes to file a Proof of Claim, he/she is asked to set forth the amount he/she was owed on the date the bankruptcy was filed.  How to answer?

However, Can Collect up to $11,825

The answer should be $600,000 - i.e. the full value of the severance package, plus: 1) any compensation or any other benefits that was/were due but unpaid as of the date the bankruptcy filing; 2) any earned but unused vacation time; and, 3) the value of any benefits in addition to severance offered as part of the severance package.

In such a scenario, the severance will under Section 502(b)(7) be limited to $200,000; the cap will not apply to the value of any pre-bankruptcy obligations, nor will it limit the value of any claims relating to post-bankruptcy benefits due in accord with the severance agreement.

Perhaps the best discussion I have seen on the principles discussed herein is found in the attached case, In re Dornier Aviation, out of the Virgina Federal District Court.

Bankruptcy's are really complex, so under no circumstances should you rely on this article as the Gospel.  If you are an executive owed severance from a bankrupt former employer, by all means consider hiring an attorney!

Helping Pennsylvania Workers Collect Severance Since 1991

Philadelphia Area Wage and Hour Attorney Helping Employees Collect Wages, Compensation, Bonuses and Severance on a Contingent Fee Basis Attorney Representing Employees

John A. Gallagher is an employment lawyer who represents claimants in Pennsylvania. 

John typically represents workers who need an employment lawyer throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including those working in Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, Berks County and Lancaster County.

Pennsylvania Wage and Hour Lawyer Provides Free Telephone Consultations and Contingent Fee Representation

If you are owed money by your employer, are looking for a contingent fee lawyer who is experienced in collecting wages, compensation, bonuses and severance from corporations that withhold payment from their employees and or work in Philadelphia, Allentown, Reading, Bethlehem, Lancaster,  Levittown,  Abington, Allentown, Auburn, Ambler, Ardmore, Aston, Audubon, Avondale,  Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Berwyn, Bethlehem,Bird In Hand, Birdsboro, Birmingham, Boothwyn, Bowmansville, Boyertown, Bridgeport, Bristol,  Brookhaven, Broomall,  Brownfield,  Bryn Athyn,  Bryn Mawr, Buckingham,  Burlington, Caln, Chadds Ford, Chalfont, Charlestown, Cheltenham,  Chester Springs, Chester, Chester Heights,  Cheyney, Coatesville, Collegeville, Concord, Concordville, Conshohocken, Coventry, Cranberry,  Crum Lynne,  Darby, Daylesford, Devault, Devon, Douglassville, Downingtown, Doylestown, Dresher,  Drexel Hill,  Dublin, Eagleville, East Bradford, East Brandywine, East Coventry, East Fallowfield, East Goshen and East Nantmeal or any surrounding areas, feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.  I am always glad to spend some time with people via a free telephone consultation.

Need an Experienced Contingent Fee Lawyer to Collect Money You Are Owed by Your Former Employer?

Click Here if you have questions about any aspect of employment law, from wrongful termination, to wage and overtime claims, to discrimination and retaliation laws, to Family and Medical Leave

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