Navigating Bankruptcy: Key Considerations for Business Owners in Today’s Landscape

April 3rd, 2024 – Posted in Client Alert by Hayley Harrison of Bast Amron – Insolvency Litigators

Facing bankruptcy is often one of the most daunting challenges a business owner can face. Whether due to economic downturns, unexpected crises, or financial mismanagement, the prospect of bankruptcy can be overwhelming. However, understanding the pitfalls and potential risks associated with bankruptcy can help business owners manage this situation more effectively.

Here are some key considerations for business owners to be wary of regarding bankruptcy:

1. Legal Obligations and Responsibilities: Before filing for bankruptcy, it’s crucial for business owners to fully understand their legal obligations and responsibilities. Bankruptcy laws can vary by jurisdiction, and failure to comply with legal requirements can lead to serious consequences. Consulting with a qualified bankruptcy attorney is essential to ensure compliance with all procedures and obligations.

2. Employee Concerns: Bankruptcy can have far-reaching implications for employees, including job loss, wage cuts, or changes in employment benefits. Business owners should prioritize open communication with employees and provide support during the transition period under the advice of experienced counsel. Compliance with employment laws and regulations regarding layoffs, severance pay, and employee benefits is essential to avoid additional legal issues.

3. Vendor and Supplier Relationships: Bankruptcy can strain relationships with vendors and suppliers, leading to disruptions in the supply chain or difficulties in obtaining essential goods and services. Maintaining transparent communication with vendors and suppliers and exploring alternative arrangements, such as renegotiating contracts or seeking new suppliers, can help mitigate potential disruptions.

4. Potential for Litigation: Bankruptcy proceedings may expose business owners to potential litigation from creditors, shareholders, or other parties. It’s crucial to anticipate and address potential legal challenges proactively, seeking legal counsel to navigate complex legal issues and minimize exposure to litigation risks.

5. Long-Term Financial Planning: While bankruptcy may provide temporary relief from financial burdens, it’s essential for business owners to engage in long-term financial planning to ensure sustainable business practices moving forward if they intend to continue operations. Developing a realistic budget, implementing cost-cutting measures, and exploring opportunities for revenue growth are critical steps in rebuilding financial stability post-bankruptcy.

6. Vendor or Supplier Bankruptcy: In addition to facing their own bankruptcy challenges, business owners must also be vigilant if their vendors or suppliers file for bankruptcy. Such situations can disrupt the supply chain, leading to delays or shortages of essential goods and services. Moreover, business owners should understand their rights and obligations when dealing with a bankrupt vendor or supplier. In some cases, bankruptcy proceedings may result in the rejection of existing contracts or the inability to enforce payment obligations. Business owners should consult with legal counsel to understand their options and protect their interests in such scenarios. Also, maintaining open communication with the bankrupt vendor or supplier and participating in bankruptcy proceedings can help ensure that the business’s needs are addressed as effectively as possible amidst the bankruptcy process.

7. Avoid Stay Violations and Other Pitfalls: Business owners must be extra vigilant when a vendor, supplier, or account debtor files for bankruptcy. The automatic stay prevents actions against a debtor or its assets, and willful violations can come with costly sanctions. Be sure to consult with counsel before continuing or commencing any collection efforts.
In conclusion, navigating bankruptcy requires careful consideration of various legal, financial, and operational factors. By staying informed, seeking professional advice, and proactively addressing potential challenges, business owners can mitigate risks and position their businesses for future success.

Click here to learn more about Bast Amron’s Bankruptcy practice.

About Hayley Harrison
Hayley handles a broad range of cases, focusing on matters involving litigation in bankruptcy cases, Assignments for the Benefit of Creditor cases, and out-of-court workouts. Hayley represents a broad spectrum of clients, including bankruptcy trustees, in their administration of Chapter 7 debtor cases, including all aspects of analyzing avenues of recovery, the sale of bankruptcy estate assets, and the pursuit of avoidance actions and other litigation claims. She also advises debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, and creditors’ committees in relation to their rights in Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court proceedings. Hayley also represents fiduciaries in various capacities, most frequently, assignee’s in state court assignments for the benefit of creditors. Click here to learn more.