Monday, April 21, 2014

Successor Liability

    I'm on a bankruptcy email list that's lately had some interesting discussion of the liability of the new  General  Motors for torts caused by the old General Motors before bankruptcy but not known at the time to the victims. What happened was that old GM entered bankruptcy in 2009 and sold most of its assets to the new GM with a disclaimer of liability for the new GM, under the approving eye of the bankruptcy judge.  Old GM retained some assets and was eventually liquidated, with a trust fund being set up to pay tort victims. The question is whether the disclaimer in the sales contract has any legal effect, and whether under general principles of "successor liability" new GM is liable for old GM's torts. 

     I don't know the law of successor liability.  I did find a powerpoint presentation by Amit Singh, a practitioner.  Google Scholar turns up a few titles that sound like economic analyses. Does anybody know if these are the best articles?  This strikes me as a potentially useful and interesting research area. 

Taking Future Claims Seriously: Future Claims and Successor Liability in Bankruptcy F Tung - Case W. Res. L. Rev., 1998 .

Corporate Successors under Strict Liability: A General Economic Theory and the Case of CERCLA MB Fox - Wake Forest L. Rev., 1991.

Successor Liability and Asymmetric Information AH Choi - American Law and Economics Review, 2007.

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