*Updated February 6, 2018*

Carson Pirie Scott II, Inc., aka Bon-Ton Stores (“Bon-Ton”), which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee, WI and York, PA, filed on Super Bowl Sunday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, Docket # 18-10248 (MFW).

The regional department store chain operates 260 stores in 24 states, largely in the Northeast and Midwest. Bon-Ton operates stores under its own name as well as: the Boston Store, Carson’s, Younkers, Herberger’s, and Elder-Beerman. Rumblings of a possible filing circulated in early December as the chain watched its holiday sales fall.

Bon-Ton reports that it has a commitment of $725 million for debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financing to operate during the restructuring process. The company’s business plan, which was filed earlier this week with the SEC, reports it’s main priority is the overhaul of its private-label products, as it plays catch-up with Kohl’s, Macy’s, and J.C. Penney.

Continue Reading As Predicted, Bon-Ton Stores file for Chapter 11 Protection? First Large Retail Department Store Bankruptcy of 2018

With the recent news out of Washington that the Department of Labor has withdrawn Administrator’s Interpretation 2016-1 (its previous informal guidance on joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)), and with the National Labor Relations Board pulling back the broad joint employer standard set in the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. case, many are under the impression that the joint employer storm has passed.

While these are certainly welcome developments, franchisors should be careful not to dismiss the threat of joint employer liability too quickly. This is particularly true if you have outlets located in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and/or West Virginia.

Continue Reading Joint Employer: Still a Potential Threat

2017 represented one of the busiest years for Chapter 11 retail bankruptcy filings. Many companies that filed have successfully emerged, like Payless. Yet, some are still questionable as to their future, such as Toys “R” Us, which is expected to begin selling a number of their leases and company owned real estate this quarter.

As the New Year begins, here are 10 retailers to watch for a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing this year:

Continue Reading 10 Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2018

One of the questions that I am frequently asked is, “Who can develop property in a redevelopment area?”

As discussed below, redevelopment can be done by anyone, subject to restrictions discussed below, and is not necessarily restricted to just large scale developers.

A redeveloper is defined by New Jersey’s Local Housing and Redevelopment Law (the “LHRL”) as “… any person, firm, corporation, or public body that shall enter into or propose to enter into a contract with a municipality or other redevelopment entity for the redevelopment or rehabilitation of an area in need of redevelopment…”.

Thus, for a redeveloper to make use of the LHRL, a municipality must have first declared a property or properties as an area in need of redevelopment.

Continue Reading Who Can Be a Redeveloper of Property in New Jersey?

On December 11, 2017, Charming Charlie Holdings, Inc. (“Charming Charlie”), the Houston–based fashion jewelry and accessories chain filed a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case in the United Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Charming Charlie has closed about 100 of its 360 stores. Further, its New York City flagship location on Fifth Avenue will soon close.

The company is working with turnaround advisor AlixPartners LLP, in addition to other restructuring advisors and attorneys.

More than 15 retailers, including Toys “R” Us Inc, the largest toy seller in the U.S., have filed for bankruptcy this year.

Continue Reading Charming Charlie’s the Next Retail Filing in 2017?

It is well accepted law that an Executor of an Estate may use Estate assets to defend any challenges levied against the Will and any provisions contained therein. So long as what is challenged is the Will itself or a provision therein, an Executor may hire an attorney to defend the Estate. Any counsel fees incurred in defending against a challenge to the Will would be payable through the Estate by the Executor. On the other hand, there are limitations as to when an Executor may utilize Estate assets to defend against claims related to non-probate assets.

Continue Reading Executor’s Right to Use Estate Assets to Pay Counsel Fees

When a condo owner in arrears on assessments declares bankruptcy, a condo association often expresses concern about the effect of the bankruptcy on its ability to collect pre- and post-bankruptcy assessments.

The bankruptcy code states that fees or assessments that become due and payable after filing for bankruptcy protection are exempt from discharge. Any amounts owed prior to the filing the bankruptcy case are included in the discharge but may be reduced to liens against the property.

Under the New Jersey Condominium Act, NJSA 46:8B-21 (b), a condo association is entitled to a limited priority lien – over previously recorded liens (including mortgages) – for six months of “customary condominium assessments.” This statutory priority ensures that condo associations will be paid for some of the delinquent assessments instead of having their entire lien extinguished in foreclosure sales. Foreclosures often go hand in hand with bankruptcy.

Continue Reading Can a Condo Association Recover Past-Due Amounts After Owner Files Bankruptcy?

Benjamin Franklin once famously said that, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” President Trump’s recent tax reform proposal is the administration’s attempt to alleviate one of these certainties of life.

President Trump’s proposal, which was released on Sept. 27, contained the following changes for individual taxpayers:

Continue Reading A Look at President Trump’s Tax Reform Proposal

In general, a contractor or supplier is entitled to file a lien against a commercial property if they have performed work or provided materials pursuant to a written contract with the owner. These lien claims must be filed within 90 days of the last date of providing materials or services for the project.

On the other hand, if a contractor or supplier is providing materials or services for a tenant of a commercial property, the rules are different. The differences as to what the lien may attach to are discussed in detail below.

Continue Reading Construction Liens on Leased Commercial Premises