Bankruptcy Appeals: City wants consolidation, employees want faster decisions

Bankruptcy Appeals: City wants consolidation, employees want faster decisions

Back in February, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear a set of challenges from employee unions and pensioners to Detroit’s eligibility to file for bankruptcy. This week, the city is asking the court to consolidate them and allow more time of the city’s response.

In a motion filed Tuesday, attorneys for the city said:

Administrative consolidation is appropriate here. While there are nominally seven different appeals pending before this Court, each challenges the same underlying Bankruptcy Court order. The filings in each appeal are relevant to the others. There is no reason for the Court to manage separate dockets or for the parties to have to file identical materials in each, as this motion itself demonstrates.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the retirees are again asking the Court of Appeals to expedite the case, given the ambitious schedule for bankruptcy proceedings in the Detroit court. The Sixth Circuit accepted the appeal (and declined to expedite it) on Feb. 21, the same day the city filed its Plan of Adjustment. The retirees’ attorneys write:

Since then, however, circumstances in the bankruptcy court have materially changed that now warrant setting oral argument in these appeals for the Court’s June session. …

If the former and current employees are successful, they could halt or impair the city’s bankruptcy case, which is currently scheduled for a final hearing July.

Here is the city’s  Appeal Consolidation Request.

Here is the Retirees’ Request to Expedite Appeal.

Bill Nowling, spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, told Next Chapter the city would “let our court pleadings speak on this matter.”

But Ryan Plecha, an attorney representing retirees, said this:

The Retiree Association Parties (along with other appellants, including the Retiree Committee and Retirement Systems) have filed motions to expedite the appellate process.  This is an ironic reversal of roles, from the parties usual positions on expedition. Not only is the City trying to delay the proceedings, but the City is also trying to squeeze all of the appellants into one brief or briefs with severe and unjustified page restrictions.  This is in exact contradiction to the unique roles played by each the in the eligibility trial, which was conducted with minimal duplication.  Justice cannot allow the City’s attempt to homogenize the appellate process. In essence, the City is trying to delay the appellate process as much as possible  to steam roll through plan confirmation process and essentially strip retires of their appellate rights and in turn drastically reduce retiree pensions and benefits.