Test Sinking Insolvency Voidable Transactions And Fraudulent Transfers

 

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VOIDABLE TRANSACTIONS & FRAUDULENT TRANSFERS

 

SINKING INSOLVENCY TEST — § 4(a)(2)

 

UVTA § 4(a)(2)

(a) A transfer made or obligation incurred by a debtor is voidable as to a creditor, whether the creditor’s claim arose before or after the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred, if the debtor made the transfer or incurred the obligation:

(2) without receiving a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the transfer or obligation, and the debtor:

(ii) intended to incur, or believed or reasonably should have believed that the debtor would incur, debts beyond the debtor’s ability to pay as they became due.

 

Reporter's Comment to § 4(a)(2) cmt. 3.

  • Section 4(a)(2) is derived from §§ 5 and 6 of the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act but substitutes “reasonably equivalent value” for “fair consideration.”
  • The transferee’s good faith was an element of “fair consideration” as defined in § 3 of the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act, and lack of fair consideration was one of the elements of a fraudulent transfer as defined in four sections of the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act.
  • The transferee’s good faith is irrelevant to a determination of the adequacy of the consideration under this Act, but lack of good faith may be a basis for withholding protection of a transferee or obligee under § 8.

 

Reporter's Comment to § 4(a)(2) cmt. 4.

  • Unlike the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act, this Act does not prescribe different tests for voidability of a transfer that is made for the purpose of security and a transfer that is intended to be absolute.
  • The premise of this Act is that when a transfer is for security only, the equity or value of the asset that exceeds the amount of the debt secured remains available to unsecured creditors and thus cannot be regarded as the subject of a voidable transfer merely because of the encumbrance resulting from an otherwise valid security transfer.
  • Disproportion between the value of the asset securing the debt and the size of the debt secured does not, in the absence of circumstances indicating a purpose to hinder, delay, or defraud creditors, constitute an impermissible hindrance to the enforcement of other creditors’ rights against the debtor-transferor.

Cf. U.C.C. § 9-401(b) (2014) (providing that a debtor’s interest in collateral subject to a security interest is transferable notwithstanding an agreement with the secured party prohibiting transfer).

 

  • Reporter's Comment to § 4(a)(2) cmt. 5.
  • Subparagraph (ii) of § 4(a)(2) is an adaptation of § 6 of the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act, which relates to a debtor that has or will have debts beyond the debtor’s ability to pay as they become due (a condition that is sometimes referred to as “insolvency in the equity sense”).
  • Subparagraph (ii) carries forward the previous Act’s language capturing a debtor that “intends” or “believes” that the debtor is or will be unable to pay the debtor’s debts as they become due, and adds to that language capturing a debtor that “reasonably should have believed” the same.
  • The added language makes clear that subparagraph (ii) also captures a debtor that, on the basis of objective assessment, has or will have debts beyond the debtor’s ability to pay as they become due, regardless of the debtor’s subjective belief.

 

JayNote: The Equity-Sense Insolvency Test has two elements:

 

(1) The debtor did not receive reasonable equivalent value; and

 

(2) The debtor knew or should have known that it did or would not not have the financial strength to pay whatever debts the debtor was about to incur.

 

This test applies without regarding to whether the claim occurred before the transfer or vice versa, i.e., it applies to future creditors. The element of what the debtor knew or should have known creates a factual issue that makes this test difficult for a creditor to win on summary judgment. The debtor's subjective intent "intended to incur, or believed" and objective intent "reasonably should have believed" may be tested, and the creditor needs to prevail on either, but not both.

 

§ 4(c) A creditor making a claim for relief under subsection (a) has the burden of proving the elements of the claim for relief by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

Prefatory Note (UVTA 2014): Evidentiary Matters.

  • New §§ 4(c), 5(c), 8(g), and 8(h) add uniform rules allocating the burden of proof and defining the standard of proof with respect to claims for relief and defenses under the Act.
  • Language in the former comments to § 2 relating to the presumption of insolvency created by § 2(b) has been moved to the text of that provision, the better to assure its uniform application.

 

Reporter's Comment to § 4(c) cmt. 10 ¶ 1.

  • Subsection (c) was added in 2014. Sections 2(b), 4(c), 5(c), 8(g), and 8(h) together provide uniform rules on burdens and standards of proof relating to the operation of this Act.

 

Reporter's Comment to § 4(c) cmt. 10 ¶ 2.

  • Pursuant to subsection (c), proof of intent to “hinder, delay, or defraud” a creditor under § 4(a)(1) is sufficient if made by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • That is the standard of proof ordinarily applied in civil actions. Subsection (c) thus rejects cases that have imposed an extraordinary standard, typically “clear and convincing evidence,” by analogy to the standard commonly applied to proof of common-law fraud. That analogy is misguided.
  • By its terms, § 4(a)(1) applies to a transaction that “hinders” or “delays” a creditor even if it does not “defraud,” and a transaction to which § 4(a)(1) applies need not bear any resemblance to common-law fraud.

See Comment 8.

  • Furthermore, the extraordinary standard of proof commonly applied to common-law fraud originated in cases that were thought to involve a special danger that claims might be fabricated.
  • In the earliest such cases, a court of equity was asked to grant relief on claims that were unenforceable at law for failure to comply with the Statute of Frauds, the Statute of Wills, or the parol evidence rule.
  • In time, extraordinary proof also came to be required in actions seeking to set aside or alter the terms of written instruments.

See Herman & MacLean v. Huddleston, 459 U.S. 375, 388-89 (1983) and sources cited therein.

  • Those reasons for extraordinary proof do not apply to claims for relief under § 4(a)(1).

 

Reporter's Comment to § 4(c) cmt. 10 ¶ 3.

  • For similar reasons, a procedural rule that imposes extraordinary pleading requirements on a claim of “fraud,” without further gloss, should not be applied to a claim for relief under § 4(a)(1).
  • The elements of a claim for relief under § 4(a)(1) are very different from the elements of a claim of common-law fraud. Furthermore, the reasons for such extraordinary pleading requirements do not apply to a claim for relief under § 4(a)(1).
  • Unlike common-law fraud, a claim for relief under § 4(a)(1) is not unusually susceptible to abusive use in a “strike suit,” nor is it apt to be of use to a plaintiff seeking to discover unknown wrongs.
  • Likewise, a claim for relief under § 4(a)(1) is unlikely to cause significant harm to the defendant’s reputation, for the defendant is the transferee or obligee, and the elements of the claim do not require the defendant to have committed even an arguable wrong.

See Janvey v. Alguire, 846 F.Supp.2d 662, 675-77 (N.D. Tex. 2011); Carter-Jones Lumber Co. v. Benune, 725 N.E.2d 330, 331-33 (Ohio App. 1999). Cf. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Appendix, Form 21 (2010) (illustrative form of complaint for a claim for relief under § 4(a)(1) or similar law, which Rule 84 declares sufficient to comply with federal pleading rules).

 

Reporter's Comment to § 4(c) cmt. 11.

  • Subsection (c) allocates to the party making a claim for relief under § 4 the burden of persuasion as to the elements of the claim.
  • Courts should not apply nonstatutory presumptions that reverse that allocation, and should be wary of nonstatutory presumptions that would dilute it.
  • The command of § 13—that this Act is to be applied so as to effectuate its purpose of making uniform the law among states enacting it—applies with particular cogency to nonstatutory presumptions.
  • Given the elasticity of key terms of this Act (e.g., “hinder, delay, or defraud”) and the potential difficulty of proving others (e.g., the financial condition tests in § 4(a)(2) and § 5), employment of divergent nonstatutory presumptions by enacting jurisdictions may render the law nonuniform as a practical matter.
  • It is not the purpose of subsection (c) to forbid employment of any and all nonstatutory presumptions. Indeed, in some instances a judicially-crafted presumption applied under this Act or its predecessors has won such favor as to be codified as a separate statutory creation.
  • Examples include the bulk sales laws, the absolute priority rule applicable to reorganizations under Bankruptcy Code § 1129(b)(2)(B)(ii) (2014), and the so-called “constructive fraud” provisions of § 4(a)(2) and § 5(a) of this Act itself.
  • However, subsection (c) and § 13 mean, at the least, that a nonstatutory presumption is suspect if it would alter the statutorily-allocated burden of persuasion, would upset the policy of uniformity, or is an unwarranted carrying-forward of obsolescent principles.
  • An example of a nonstatutory presumption that should be rejected for those reasons is a presumption that the transferee bears the burden of persuasion as to the debtor’s compliance with the financial condition tests in § 4(a)(2) and § 5, in an action under those provisions, if the transfer was for less than reasonably equivalent value (or, as another example, if the debtor was merely in debt at the time of the transfer).

See Fidelity Bond & Mtg. Co. v. Brand, 371 B.R. 708, 716-22 (E.D. Pa. 2007) (rejecting such a presumption previously applied in Pennsylvania).

 

Defenses Peculiar to §§ 4(a)(2) and 5

§ 8(e) A transfer is not voidable under Section 4(a)(2) or Section 5 if the transfer results from:

JayNote: A creditor cannot void all but an intent-based fraudulent transfer if it involves:  (1) Termination of a lease; or (2) Enforcement of a UCC Article 9 security interest.

 

(1) termination of a lease upon default by the debtor when the termination is pursuant to the lease and applicable law; or

 

Reporter's Comment to § 8(e) cmt. 5.

  • Subsection (e)(1) rejects the rule adopted in Darby v. Atkinson (In re Farris), 415 F.Supp. 33, 39-41 (W.D.Okla. 1976), that termination of a lease on default in accordance with its terms and applicable law may constitute a voidable transfer.

 

(2) enforcement of a security interest in compliance with Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, other than acceptance of collateral in full or partial satisfaction of the obligation it secures.

 

Prefatory Note (UVTA 2014). Defenses.

  • The amendments refine in relatively minor respects several provisions relating to defenses available to a transferee or obligee, as follows: (3) Section 8(e)(2) as originally written created a defense to an action under § 4(a)(2) or § 5 to avoid a transfer if the transfer results from enforcement of a security interest in compliance with Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.
  • The amendments exclude from that defense acceptance of collateral in full or partial satisfaction of the obligation it secures (a remedy sometimes referred to as “strict foreclosure”).

 

Reporter's Comment to § 8(e)(2).

  • Subsection (e)(2) protects a transferee that acquires a debtor’s interest in an asset as a result of the enforcement by a secured party (which may but need not be the transferee) of rights pursuant to and in compliance with the provisions of Part 6 of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Cf. Calaiaro v. Pittsburgh Nat’l Bank (In re Ewing), 33 B.R. 288, 9 C.B.C.2d 526, CCH B.L.R. ¶ 69,460 (Bankr. W.D.Pa. 1983) (sale of pledged stock held subject to avoidance under § 548 of the Bankruptcy Code), rev’d, 36 B.R. 476 (W.D.Pa. 1984) (transfer held not voidable because deemed to have occurred more than one year before bankruptcy petition filed).

  • The global requirement of Article 9 that the secured party enforce its rights in good faith, and the further requirement of Article 9 that certain remedies be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner, provide substantial protection to the other creditors of the debtor.

See U.C.C. §§ 1-304, 9-607(b), 9 610(b) (2014).

  • The exemption afforded by subsection (e)(2) does not extend to acceptance of collateral in full or partial satisfaction of the obligations it secures.
  • That remedy, contemplated by U.C.C. §§ 9-620–9-622 (2014), is sometimes referred to as “strict foreclosure.”
  • An exemption for strict foreclosure is inappropriate because compliance with the rules of Article 9 relating to strict foreclosure may not sufficiently protect the interests of the debtor’s other creditors if the debtor does not act to protect equity the debtor may have in the asset.

 

Bankruptcy Code § 548(a)(1)(B)(II) and (III)

(a)

(1) The trustee may avoid any transfer (including any transfer to or for the benefit of an insider under an employment contract) of an interest of the debtor in property, or any obligation (including any obligation to or for the benefit of an insider under an employment contract) incurred by the debtor, that was made or incurred on or within 2 years before the date of the filing of the petition, if the debtor voluntarily or involuntarily—

(B)

(i) received less than a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for such transfer or obligation; and

(ii)

(II) was engaged in business or a transaction, or was about to engage in business or a transaction, for which any property remaining with the debtor was an unreasonably small capital;

(III) intended to incur, or believed that the debtor would incur, debts that would be beyond the debtor’s ability to pay as such debts matured; . . .

 

 

COURT OPINIONS: SINKING INSOLVENCY TEST

 

Coming soon.

 

RECENT ARTICLES

 

2020.06.30 ... Attorney Fees Held Awardable Under Nevada Fraudulent Transfer Law In Morgan Stanley Opinion

2020.06.11 ... Bank That Was Financially Involved With Debtor Gets Caught Up In Fraudulent Transfer Case In Wilson

2020.05.21 ... Utah Supreme Court Rejects Mixed Motive Test For Intentional Fraudulent Transfers In Jones Case

2020.01.06 ... Twyne’s Case And The Most Infamous Flock Of Sheep In Anglo-American Law

2019.12.07 ... New York Finally Modernizes Its Fraudulent Transfer Laws By Adopting The Uniform Voidable Transactions Act

2019.10.29 ... Repeal Of Kentucky’s Fraudulent Transfer Law In Favor Of UVTA Causes Headaches In Orchard

2019.10.19 ... Texas Homestead Gets Constitutional Protection From Fraudulent Transfer Claim In Lapides

 

 

Many more articles on voidable transactions law found here

 

UVTA - LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

(Designed For Litigators)

 

Click here to go to the Voidable Transactions Decision Chart

 

Overview of UVTA -- The process and result

 

Learn The Vocabulary Of The Act (Main Page)

 

Has A Voidable Transaction Occurred? (Main Page)

 

Does The Transferee Have A Defense? (Main Page)

 

What Remedies Are Available? (Main Page)

 

Other Helpful Provisions (Main Page)

 

UVTA - NUMERICAL ORGANIZATION

(Confusing & Difficult To Use)

 

The Uniform Law Commission's complete copy of the UVTA with comments in PDF format is available here. The webpage for the UVTA, showing states that have enacted and much other information regarding the Act is found here.

 

1 - Definitions

(1) Affiliate -- (2) Asset -- (3) Claim -- (4) Creditor -- (5) Debt -- (6) Debtor -- (7) Electronic -- (8) Insider -- (9) Lien -- (10) Organization -- (11) Person -- (12) Property -- (13) Record -- (14) Relative -- (15) Sign -- (16) Transfer -- (17) Valid Lien

2 - Insolvency - How insolvency is calculated

3 - Value - Issues relating to calculating value

4 - Transfer Or Obligation Voidable As To Present Or Future Creditor

(a)(1) {Intent Test} - To hinder, delay or defraud any creditor

(a)(2)(i) {Overextending Insolvency Test} - The debtor engages in a transaction for which it does not have the financial strength

(a)(2)(ii) {Sinking Insolvency Test} - The debtor is not technically insolvent but headed for insolvency

(b) {Badges of Fraud} - Circumstances available to prove the debtor's intent

5 - Transfer or Obligation Voidable As To Present Creditor

(a) {Insolvency Test} - The test preferred by creditors

(b) {Insider Preference Test} - Not really a fraudulent transfer test at all

6 - When Transfer Is Made Or Obligation Is Incurred - Determines the time of the transfer

7 - Remedies Of Creditor

      {Non-Money Judgment Remedies} - Avoidance, attachment, etc.

8 - Defenses, Liability, And Protection Of Transferee Or Obligee

{Main Provisions} -The transferee's good faith for-value defense

(b) and (c) {Money Judgment Remedy} - Alternative remedy for creditors when avoidance is not good enough

9 - Extinguishment Of Claim For Relief - Similar to Statutes of Limitation

10 - Governing Law - Conflicts of Laws provisions

11 - Application To Series Organization - Applies to intra-series transfers

12 - Supplementary Provisions - Allows application of other law to issues unresolved by the UVTA

13 - Uniformity Of Application And Construction - Court opinions from other states may be looked to for guidance

14 - Relation To Electronic Signatures In Global And National Commerce - Waste of statutory space

15 - Short Title - From fraudulent transfers to voidable transactions

16 - Repeals; Conforming Amendment - Information for enacting legislatures

 

OTHER SOURCES OF

FRAUDULENT TRANSFER LAW

 

Fraudulent Transfers In Bankruptcy - Main Page

 

28 U.S.C. § 3301, et seq. - Where United States is the creditor

 

Common Law Fraudulent Transfer - Still exists in most states

 

Criminal Statutes -- Jurisdictions that criminalize fraudulent transfers

 

Fraudulent Conveyances Act of 1571 a/k/a Statute of 13 Elizabeth - The medieval statute to which the modern American UVTA traces some of its roots.

 

Statutes Of The U.S. Jurisdictions -- State and Territorial Voidable Transaction and Fraudulent Transfer Laws

 

TOPICAL COURT OPINIONS

 

DEFINITIONS

     Creditor Definition - Court opinions on the definition of creditor

     Debtor Insider Affiliate Relative Organization Person Definitions   - Court opinions on the definitions of debtor, insider, etc.

     Claim And Debt Definitions  - Court opinions on the definitions of claim and debt

     Asset And Property Definitions  - Court opinions on the definitions of assets and property

     Lien And Valid Lien Definitions  - Court opinions on the definitions of lien and valid lien

     Transfer Definition  - Court opinions on the definition of transfer

     Value And Reasonably Equivalent Value (REV) Definition  - Court opinions on the definitions of value and reasonably equivalent value

     Insolvency Definition  - Court opinions on the definition of insolvency

TESTS

     Insolvency Test  - Court opinions relating to the Insolvency Test

     Insider Preference Test  - Court opinions relating to the Insider Preference Test

     Overextending Insolvency Test  - Court opinions relating to the Overextending Insolvency Test

     Sinking Insolvency Test  - Court opinions relating to the Sinking Insolvency Test

     Intent Test  - Court opinions relating to the Intent Test

           Badges Of Fraud  - Court opinions relating to the Badges of Fraud

DEFENSES

     Extinguishment Periods a/k/a (incorrectly) Statute Of Limitations  - Court opinions relating to the extinguishment periods

     Transferee Good Faith  - Court opinions relating to the transferee good faith for-value defense

REMEDIES

     Non-Money Remedies  - Court opinions relating to avoidance and other non-money remedies

     Money Judgment Remedies  - Court opinions relating to money judgments

     Attorney Fees -- Court opinions relating to awards of attorney fees

     Punitive Damages - Court opinions relating to punitive and exemplary damages

OTHER

     Burdens of Proof  - Court opinions relating to the burdens of proof

     Conflict Of Laws  - Court opinions relating to conflict of laws

     Uniformity  - Court opinions relating to uniformity with the laws of other jurisdictions

     Supplementary Law  - Court opinions relating to the interplay of the UVTA with other law

     Jurisdictional Issues - Court opinions relating to jurisdiction of UVTA actions.

BANKRUPTCY

     Section 548  - Court opinions relating to 11 USC 548

 

OTHER RESOURCES

 

 

OTHER INFORMATIONAL WEBSITES

by Jay Adkisson

 

  • Jay Adkisson - More about Jay D. Adkisson, background, books, articles, speaking appearances.

 

  • Captive Insurance - Licensed insurance companies formed by the parent organization to handle the insurance and risk management needs of the business, by the author of the best-selling book on the topic: Adkisson's Captive Insurance Companies.

 

  • Asset Protection - The all-time best-selling book on asset protection planning by Jay Adkisson and Chris Riser.

 

  • Creditor-Debtor - An explanation of common creditor remedies, strategies and tactics to enforce a judgment, including a discussion of common debtor asset protection strategies.

 

  • Private Retirement Plans - An exploration of a unique creditor exemption allowed under California law which can be very beneficial but is often misused.

 

  • Charging Orders - The confusing remedy against a debtor's interest in an LLC or partnership is explained in reference to the Uniform Partnership Act, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, and the Uniform Limited Liability Company Act.

 

  • Protected Series - An examination of the single most complex statutory legal structure yet created, with particular reference to the Uniform Protected Series Act of 2017.

 

  • California Enforcement of Judgments Law - Considers the topic of judgment enforcement in California, including the California Enforcement of Judgments Law and other laws related to California creditor-debtor issues.

 

  • Anti-SLAPP Laws - A collection of and commentary about Anti-SLAPP laws and significant court decisions on the subject within the United States, and special section on California Anti-SLAPP.

 

 

Voidable Transactions:

Fraudulent Transfers In American Law

 

by Jay D. Adkisson (Available 2021)

 

Click here for more information

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© 2020 Jay D. Adkisson. All rights reserved. No claim to government works or the works of the Uniform Law Commission. The information contained in this website is for general educational purposes only, does not constitute any legal advice or opinion, and should not be relied upon in relation to particular cases. Use this information at your own peril; it is no substitute for the legal advice or opinion of an attorney licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction. This site https://voidabletransactions.com Contact: jay [at] jayad.com or by phone to 702-953-9617 or by fax to 877-698-0678.