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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Inadequate Boilerplate

Aaa It's fairly common for a judge to find that a provision in a standard-form contract didn't give the other party adequate notice of something or other.  Yet even the worst contract boilerplate is often more understandable to the lay person than some of the orders routinely issued by the judges themselves.  There's therefore a certain irony -- if irony is the word we're looking for -- in this story about a New York bankruptcy judge whose boilerplate notice to debtors was held insufficient to alert a debtor to the fact that his Chapter 11 petition might be dismissed.

According to the story, the case has "'wide implications' for the administration of Chapter 11 proceedings," because "the initial case management order issued by [the judge] is similar to orders issued by most bankruptcy court judges."  The decision, says one expert, "calls into question the current framework for the administration of Chapter 11 cases."

Maybe they should just rewrite the notice.  We know some contract lawyers who could help.

[Frank Snyder]

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