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Zimmerman's Research Guide



Topics are grouped by material type.

Case Law: To find cases interpreting bankruptcy law, look under the relevant section of the Bankruptcy Code in the USCA, USCS or CCH's Bankruptcy Law Reporter. Or look under the relevant subject in West's Bankruptcy Digest. Of course you can also do standard searches in bankruptcy case databases on Lexis, Westlaw, etc.

See also "Bankruptcy Appellate Panels" and "United States Bankruptcy Courts."

Docket sheets: See the "Filings" section of this entry, following, or the separate entry for "Docket Sheets."

Filings: To see if a company has very recently filed for bankruptcy in the U.S.: search the PACER Case Locator and/or the PACER site for the relevant bankruptcy court. Note: There can be up to week delay before a new case make it into the PACER system. Other low- or no-cost options: Search newswires and other news sources (discussed below); visit the company Web site; call the company and/or call the relevant court. If you are looking further back, you can check the Troubled Company Reporter News Archive (going back to 1994) for U.S. companies with at least $10 million in assets, or search the Reporter on Lexis (BKRTCY;TCRPTR) if you don't know the date of the filing.

To do a more general background check on whether a company has filed for bankruptcy, check the PACER Case Locator or search PACER data using one of the commercial services discussed in the "Docket Sheets" entry of this Guide. Or try the free search on BankruptcyData.com for major company bankruptcies since 1986.

You can also search the relevant database on Lexis, Westlaw (BKR-ALL), Accurint, TLO and/or KnowX.com. Also, bankruptcy information is included in a D&B Business Information Report (see "D&B Reports").

Important: Bankruptcy information is subject to legal time restrictions, so be sure to find out how far back your search can take you.

Services that run regular bankruptcy filing alerts include Courthouse New Service, the Troubled Company Reporter, Lexis and Westlaw.

For information on Canadian filings, see the separate entry for "Canada."

Financing Agreements: When a bankrupt company needs to borrow money, lenders are likely to want a court-approved Debtor-in-Possession Financing Agreement ("DIP Financing") under 11 USC 364 and Bankruptcy Rule 4001(c). These agreements give the lender top priority if the company falters.

You can get DIP Financing Agreements for a particular company from the online case file (on PACER or one of the other systems discussed in the Docket Sheets entry. The agreement should be an attachment to the Motion for Approval. If you just want a sample, a few of these are filed as Exhibits to SEC Filings, so you can search for them on LIVEDGAR or another SEC filing database (see the the "SEC Filings" entry.

Forms: The U.S. Courts post the Official Bankruptcy Forms. The Official Forms are published in the Appendix to Title 11 of the U.S. Code. They are also available in CCH's Bankruptcy Law Reporter.

Laws: U.S. bankruptcy laws are codified in Title 11 of the United States Code and, hence, are available in the USCA, USCS and wherever else the USC is available (see "United States Code"). The current and former Bankruptcy Act, plus related laws are published in CCH's Bankruptcy Law Reporter. The American Bankruptcy Institute posts "Legislative News."

For foreign sources, see the "Foreign Laws" entry and the entries for individual countries. Note: The Practical Law Company provides summaries of the Restructuring and Insolvency laws of many foreign countries.

News: Bankruptcy news is available from in The Daily Bankruptcy News, the The Daily Bankruptcy News and BNA's Bankruptcy Law Reporter. The Troubled Company Reporter covers large company bankruptcies.

For research, the Dow Jones Corporate Filings Alert (formerly Federal Filings) is available on Lexis (FACTVA;DJCORP) and Westlaw (FEDFILE). The Troubled Company Reporter is available on Lexis (BKRTCY;TCRPTR). Also, top news is posted free by BankruptcyData.com. Other resources: Search the general news databases.

Rankings: The April issue of The American Lawyer includes a list of the biggest deals of the preceding year, including the 10 largest bankruptcies in the U.S. Bankruptcydata.com posts a list of the largest U.S. bankruptcies since 1995, as well as a list for each year. The Practical Law Company compiles a list of the "best" bankruptcy firms called the "Restructuring and Insolvency Super League."

Reports: The ABI Resource Center posts bankruptcy-related reports by government agencies. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts publishes the number of cases filed with the bankruptcy courts (and other bankruptcy court information) in its Statistical Reports. NR&C designs custom reports using data from Chapter 11 bankruptcies.

Rules: See "Federal Court Rules" and/or "Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure."

Statistics: The Administrative office of the U.S. Courts posts statistics on U.S. bankruptcy filings. You can create your own reports on large public company bankruptcies using the Web BRD.

Troubled Companies: There is no precise way to know if a company is about to go into bankruptcy, but you can (a) for large companies (assets of US$10+ million) check the Troubled Company Reporter, which is available on Lexis (BKRTCY;TCRPTR); (b) run the company's name through a current business news database, (c) get a Dun & Bradstreet report on the company (see "Dun & Bradstreet Reports"), (d) check for outstanding liens, judgments and notices of default on Accurint, TLO, Lexis or Knowx.com or another public records database, (e) for public companies, look at the latest 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (see "Securities and Exchange Commission"); or (f) look for the company's name on Downside's Deathwatch or another site that reports rumors of trouble.

Treatises, etc.: The leading bankruptcy treatise is Collier on Bankruptcy (Lexis/Matthew Bender), which has a companion, the Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide. Collier on Bankruptcy is available on Lexis (BKRTCY;COLBKR), as is the Practice Guide (BKRTCY;COBAPG). Also useful: Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice (West). The Practical Law Company provides detailed summaries of major bankruptcy topics and explains how to handle selected key aspects of bankruptcy practice (subscription only).

See Also
Bankruptcy Appellate Panels
Docket Sheets
Document Retrieval Services
D&B Reports
Federal Court Rules
Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
Foreign Laws
United States Bankruptcy Courts
United States Code

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Copyright 2015 Andrew Zimmerman