« Pawnbroking: The Hot New (Ancient) Credit Market | Main | Putting Disclosure to the Test: User Comprehension Requirements »

Trial of the Century or Private Ceremony? (Pari Passu's Little Mysteries) (Updated)

posted by Anna Gelpern

I am not a litigator, and would never venture to read the scheduling tea leaves to predict case outcomes. That said, two things about next Wednesday's hearing in what some call "trial of the century" strike this civilian as pretty odd.

First, after agreeing to receive written submissions from everyone and their cousin, the court initially scheduled a mere fifteen minutes of argument for each of NML and Argentina. None of the third parties were on the hearing schedule until they raised a massive ruckus, which yielded seven minutes apiece for Bank of New York as trustee and the Exchange Bondholder Group, plus a little something extra for NML and friends. Since David Boies for exchange bondholders got no time on the original schedule and barely any time on the revised one, those who said that this round was all about replaying Olson v Boies in Bush v Gore were left without a theory.

Second, word has it that this hearing was first scheduled to take place in a smaller courtroom than the last round. Not clear if this is still the case (updates welcome!). A small room makes sense on the theory that February 27 is a nonevent, a quickie to tie up loose ends--NML's view. It makes no sense if you expect Rethink of the Revolution. If you just take everyone who filed briefs plus their immediate families, not to mention journalists flocking from near and far, you can fill a stadium. But the court seems to be in no mood for a big fat Argentina party.

It would be great to hear from litigators whether any of this really means anything. But from Mars, several options look plausible:

  • First, the court has known what it wanted all along and was just humoring everyone's due process desires;
  • Second, the court read the briefs and did not think oral arguments would add much to them -- either because they were fabulously clear, or because they contained no new information;
  • Third, the court is pushing against the circus atmosphere that has come to surround this case, which also overblows the significance of the case.

None of these readings sound very good for Argentina and its fellow travelers. But maybe none of this means anything anyway. 

Update:  Someone pointed out to me that there is one more theory that could explain a short argument and a tiny room -- that the en banc petition is about to be granted, so this hearing is not the deciding event. Now that would be one crazy turn of events.


Hi Ana. Do you know if there will be any media broadcasting live the hearing? It would be very interesting to watch it... Thanks!

Hi Javier -- and thanks. Sadly, no live broadcasting. There are no media passes either -- the press is herding with the rest of us at the front gate ... All we hope for is overflow rooms and a transcript shortly after.

Thanks again! Always very instructive to read you. About the transcript: How shortly? Last time it came out 3 or 4 days after the hearing, right?

Sorry, Javier, I was wrong -- I heard from several people that there was a live webcast (for a charge), but I did not learn about it until I was inside the courthouse and all my electronic devices had been confiscated.

Interesting... Next I'll consider it.

What about this new developement ordering Argentina to provide a formula? The media in Argentina is saying that Argentina will offer the exchange again (the same as in 2005 and 2010). Do you think there is a chance the court accept that? Cause I don't.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Current Guests

Follow Us On Twitter

Like Us on Facebook

  • Like Us on Facebook

    By "Liking" us on Facebook, you will receive excerpts of our posts in your Facebook news feed. (If you change your mind, you can undo it later.) Note that this is different than "Liking" our Facebook page, although a "Like" in either place will get you Credit Slips post on your Facebook news feed.

News Feed



  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, click here to visit the page for the list and then click on the link for "Subscribe." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless (rlawless@illinois.edu) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.