Arbitrate? You Can’t Make Me! Rejection Trumps Arbitration, Says Texas Bankruptcy Court

posted in: Bankruptcy, Chapter 11 | 0

By Ronit J. Berkovich (Weil Gotshal & Manges) and Eric Einhorn (Weil Gotshal & Manges)

Eric Einhorn
Ronit J. Berkovich

In a recent decision, In re Highland Cap. Mgmt., L.P.,1 the Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Texas held that a debtor’s rejection of an executory contract with an arbitration clause precludes the court from compelling the debtor to arbitrate—notwithstanding the strong federal policy supporting enforcement of arbitration clauses, even in bankruptcy.  Although rejection of a contract constitutes a breach and may give rise to a claim for monetary damages, the Court found that specific performance of an arbitration clause was not an appropriate remedy post-rejection.  Highland provides an example of how bankruptcy courts may disregard contractual provisions—including an agreement to specifically perform—where they may irreconcilably conflict with the policy of the Bankruptcy Code.

The full article is available here.