2011 did not begin with a bang for bankruptcy professionals. Commercial bankruptcy case filings were infrequent and so too were the release (or publication) of major bankruptcy court decisions. The second half of the year was a different story.  

In June, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Stern v. Marshall, one of the most significant Supreme Court bankruptcy rulings in recent history. In fact, we reported in October that scores of courts had already been required to address, although not necessarily resolve, the issues raised by the Supreme Court in Stern. Meanwhile, the pace of socalled “mega” bankruptcy case filings jumped. Of the top ten bankruptcy case filings of 2011, seven were filed in the second half of the year and, of those, each of the top five filings was made in the fall of 2011. Leading the charge (by size) was MF Global Holdings with over $40 billion in assets and AMR/American Airlines with over $25 billion in assets.

Meanwhile, by the end of the year, and largely unrelated to the increased number of 2011 mega-case filings, numerous court decisions had been issued by circuit courts and other courts that focused on fundamental bankruptcy issues that will likely affect future commercial bankruptcy practice.