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Detroit: More People, Moving Faster (and, in an instance, Slower)

posted by Melissa Jacoby

PuzzleExclamationMy Detroit posts so far (here and here) focus on the role of the judge and court. The first considered managerial judging, and there's significant news on that front this week. Having read one hundred and nine timely objections to eligibility, Judge Rhodes interpreted many objections to raise only legal issues and expedited the hearing on those issues to September 18, from October 23 (see p.3 of order). On September 19, the court will hear from individuals who filed eligibility objections, three minutes each. October 23 remains the date for objections that require the resolution of material fact. But the court is deferring objections based on treatment of pension rights in a plan because they are not eligibility issues (see section VI of the order, p. 6). This is the technically "slower" instance, per this post's title. Parties troubled by this new order have until September 6 to file objections or comments (see section XI. p.7).

The second post's theme was the village it is thought to take to run a case of this nature, so a bit of catch up is in order. There are now six mediators: four judicial, two non-judicial, the latter entitled to pay. Major issues in the restructuring were sent to mediation early, and this too, specifically to Judge Perris. With respect to the retiree committee, present and former union officials won some seats, and the committee will be given 14 days from the retention of its counsel to file objections to Detroit's eligibility for chapter 9 (see the order linked above, p. 1).

Based on the August 21st hearing, I expect the Detroit's bankruptcy to be a useful case study of at least one additional model of judging and court administration. But first, we will see what happens in court today.

Puzzle image courtesy of Shutterstock

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