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Why Do You Need a Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer

Why Do You Need a Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer

Buy Sell Agreements

Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer

Why Do You Need a Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer?

A buy-sell agreement is a legally binding contract between the owners of a business where they agree on what happens to a partner’s shares in the event of life-changing situations that may result in chaos that could potentially ruin the business and bankrupt its owners, assuring the remaining owners that the business will carry on successfully.

A Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer Helps Transition the Business Ownership.

The Buy Sell agreement is also heard of as a buyout agreement, a business will, or a business prenup. Comparing a buy sell agreement with a prenuptial agreement is the most accurate comparison: In a prenuptial agreement, you can get out of the marriage under certain conditions. 

At the same time, you can protect your financial operations. A buy sell agreement offers the same rights, just with one small difference. In a Buy Sell agreement you can cover all the financial transactions between the business partners. This makes a buy sell agreement more reliable and more effective in terms of financial stability.

A buy sell agreement defines your rights when it comes to difficult situations.

Your partner can fall ill or become unable to operate the business the right way. In that case, a buy-sell agreement lowers your financial risks of bankruptcy or debt. You can protect yourself by signing an agreement that will keep your business intact.

Two Common Types of Buy Sell Agreements Are:

 

  • Cross-purchase agreement, and
  • Redemption agreement
  • A cross-purchase agreement happens when the remaining owners decide to purchase the shares of the business that is for sale. In this matter, it is important to know that the mechanism relies on a life insurance policy.
  • A redemption agreement is another form of a buy sell agreement. Here, we have a situation when the business entity buys the shares of the business. With a redemption agreement, the contract limits the ability of business owners to sell or transfer their ownership stakes in the business.

Some businesses decide on a mix of the two forms of agreements, with some portions available for purchase by individual partners and the remainder bought by the partnership. The importance of a buy sell agreement covers most of the financial risks that may occur in the business.

How to Know If a Buy Sell Agreement Is Right for Me

If you plan to start a business with a partner, a buy sell agreement can offer many protective points that can change your business perspective.

Many life situations are inevitable and we can rely on this kind of contract when the official regulations are necessary for business operations.

Your business partner may go ill or die, and that is when a buy sell agreement comes into effect. Your business capital will be protected and you can continue all the future business operations.

Here are some potential situations that a Buy Sell Agreement would prepare you for:

  1.  Personal Bankruptcy of one of the owners;
  2.  Business owner’s retirement;
  3.  Disability of one of the owners;
  4.  Irreparable disagreement between partners;
  5. Death of one of the owners.

Cross-purchase buy and sell agreements contribute to the rights of the business owners.

As a remaining business owner, you can buy the interests of the selling owner. This applies when a selling owner is no longer capable of maintaining their business obligations. 

Buy and sell agreements are also important in the method of determining the overall business value at the beginning of the business as well as when one of the business owners remains the only owner.

Careful drafting of a buy sell agreement can also eliminate or lower any potential estate taxes that apply at your death.

In the situation when you want to pass your ownership interest to one of your family members at your death, avoiding the estate tax is one of the possible outcomes.

What Can I Get From A Buy Sell Agreement?

A Fair Value Price for Shares

A Buy Sell Agreement is a perfect way to establish the Fair Value of your business individual stake. This agreement sets the figure ahead of time, preventing disagreements between partners about whether a buyout is or not fair.

Facilitates the break up of the partnership 

The Buy Sell Agreement minimizes the stress of the disintegration of the partnership, having designed a legally binding strategy to be followed in the case a partner exits the company 

Lets owners decide on the future of the shares

The Buy Sell agreement specifies who is entitled to your stake if you exist, preventing owners fighting over shares or third parties deciding on the future of your company. The uncertainty can be avoided with a well-crafted agreement.

Do I Need a Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer?

A buy sell agreement lawyer is necessary if you want to avoid state taxes and protect your business capital and operations. With a buy sell agreement, you will be able to buy shares of the business and prolong your business perspective.

A good buy sell agreement lawyer can help you draft the buy sell agreement that protects both your business partner’s interests and your interests. You will have the right to continue the business operations even in the case of illness or death of your partner. 

It is possible to stay protected and define a new business strategy with a buy sell agreement. A good buy and sell lawyer can help you craft and improve the right contract that protects you in the case of inevitable circumstances.

 

When Should I Make a Buy Sell Agreement?

The perfect moment to create a Buy Sell Agreement is way before the ownership transition, when all the owners are equally involved and an orderly transition can be planned for. 

Since at the time the buy sell agreement is being executed the owners may not even know who would be bought out, when and why. Hence, relationships between the owners would be presumably good so they would most likely come to an objective consensus on the terms.

If you wait for the triggering events to occur, relationships may be strained, and not having a solid buy sell agreement may result in conflict, potentially becoming extremely expensive for all the parties. 

Making sure that the terms of the buy-sell agreement are in writing and having the owners agree to those terms beforehand helps to eliminate the potential conflict. 

The buy sell agreements doesn’t need to be a separate document. It could be included in the company’s shareholders agreement or in the partnership agreement. 

The important thing is not to assume that you have one, and always make sure to keep it updated and clear in what your specific intentions are, amending the existing agreement or creating a new one if necessary. 

Do I Need a Buy Sell Agreement if I Am the Sole Proprietor of My Business?

Even if you are the only shareholder in your business, you should still consider to have a Buy Sell agreement to make sure your assets are protected in the face of any eventuality. 

The Buy Sell Agreement is a clear outline of your intentions for the future of your company that will be taken into consideration once you no longer have the power to voice it. You certainly would be saving your heirs, and employees unnecessary trouble.

What Important Things Should I Consider in My Buy Sell Agreement?

Avoid the use of Ambiguous Language

Since the purpose of your Buy Sell Agreement is to prepare for any possible eventuality involving one of the owners, you should make sure the statements in the agreement are the clearest possible so you prevent conflict between the stakeholders the moment the sale is executed. 

Unclear language in contracts tends to represent further conflict between the parties involved, which can only mean negative financial repercussions for you.  

Worst Case Scenarios Must be Considered

It doesn’t matter if probabilities are very low, you should have a Buy Sell Agreement that takes into consideration all the possible scenarios. You want to have every precautionary clause possible to assure you the best outcome.

Set the Objectives Of Your Business Straigh

All of the owners should not only understand, but also agree with the short and long term objectives of the company. If this concordance doesn’t happen and the owners have varying objectives it may be difficult to outline a good Buy Sell Agreement.

Beware of Taxes

You should get assessment on the tax consequences of shares exchanging, to prevent you and your business from losing a lot of money. A good Buy Sell Lawyer can guide you to make the right moves when it comes to avoiding getting wrecked by taxes.

If you are looking for a Buy Sell Agreement Lawyer don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thomas Howard

Thomas Howard

Real Estate Lawyer

Whether this is your first land use issue or most recent, our office has helped people and businesses alike.

Thomas Howard was on the ball and got things done. Easy to work with, communicates very well, and I would recommend him anytime.
R. Martindale

Need A Business Lawyer?

Call our law offices with your legal questions for help on:

  1. real estate contracts
  2. business contract disputes
  3. Shareholder litigation
  4. cannabis business
  5. fraud actions
  6. mechanic's liens

 

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    Victory for Hemp

    Victory for Hemp

    Hemp Ban Overturned

    Hemp is completely legal to grow in Illinois with the proper state license.

    Illinois Hemp Ban Overturned in Rural Oakland

    The City of Oakland tried to ban hemp farming inside its city limits by claiming authority under the Illinois Municipal Code section regarding Urban Agricultural Areas. Collateral Base represented the prejudiced farmer and had the municipal ordinance tossed by an Illinois Court. Because the City of Oakland is not a home rule community Dillion’s Rule in Illinois barred the City from banning hemp due to its lack of authority. 

    Let’s touch on what is a “home rule” or “non-home rule” municipality in Illinois. 39 States follow “Dillion’s Rule” – including Illinois – and it allows municipalities to allow themselves to govern their community with greater detail than the state law applies, but first they must become a “home rule” unit of government.

    Q: What is “home rule,” why would a community want to become a home rule unit, and how?

    A: In Illinois, home rule is the State constitutional authority of local governments to override the state and self-govern provided the General Assembly did not explicitly limit that power or maintain the exclusive exercise of authority in a specific area, for example the CRTA limited home rule communities from banning home grow cannabis for medical marijuana patients.

    Home rule municipalities explicitly have police powers.  Article 7 of the Illinois Constitution regarding home rule provides that they “may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt” without specific statutory authority.

     

    Hemp Questions?

    How home rule is different than non-home rule

    Non-home rule basically bows to the state laws, unless the municipality has a statute or enumerated constitutional powers that enable it to create new ordinances. However, a home rule municipality can go beyond state regulations unless expressly pre-empted by statute and can rely on its police powers.  Here we will examine the differences between the language from the Illinois Constitution on home rule units. 

    The City of Oakland went beyond its non-home rule powers when making its hemp farming ban.

    Ill. Const. Art. 7, § 7 for Non-home Rule Municipalities

    1. to make local improvements by special assessment and to exercise this power jointly with other counties and municipalities, and other classes of units of local government having that power on the effective date of this Constitution unless that power is subsequently denied by law to any such other units of local government;
    2.  by referendum, to adopt, alter or repeal their forms of government provided by law;
    3.  in the case of municipalities, to provide by referendum for their officers, manner of selection and terms of office;
    4.  in the case of counties, to provide for their officers, manner of selection and terms of office as provided in Section 4 of this Article;
    5.  to incur debt except as limited by law and except that debt payable from ad valorem property tax receipts shall mature within 40 years from the time it is incurred; and
    6. to levy or impose additional taxes upon areas within their boundaries in the manner provided by law for the provision of special services to those areas and for the payment of debt incurred in order to provide those special services.

    These are the only powers a non-home rule municipality in Illinois may have – so the City of Oakland had to try and find another statute that enabled them to ban hemp farming throughout its city limits.  We will get to that soon, but we note that the City of Oakland then argued that the statutory authority did not matter because they could ban hemp under its police powers – but non-home rule municipalities do NOT have police powers.  As you can see from the powers of the Home Rule Units under Section 6 of  Article 7 of the Illinois Constitution below.

    SECTION 6. POWERS OF HOME RULE UNITS

    (a) A County which has a chief executive officer elected by the electors of the county and any municipality which has a population of more than 25,000 are home rule units. Other municipalities may elect by referendum to become home rule units. Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.

    We put the police powers in bold.

    What are Police Powers in Illinois?

    They are: the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.

    Urban Agricultural Areas in Illinois

    The City of Oakland went to the Illinois Municipal Code and found a restriction against urban agricultural areas that a city can regulate if it bears a direct relationship with the public health, safety or welfare.

    The only problem was – this law did not exist until 2019 and Oakland had no urban agricultural area. The City of Oakland tried to find any method they could to ban the hemp farming inside its city limits.  The City argued that its zoning laws from 1968 qualified as an urban agricultural area.  This is not how law works, as statutes do not operate retroactively.

    Division 15.4 of the Illinois Municipal Code, titled Municipal Urban Agricultural Areas

    The cited statute, 65 ILCS 5/11.4-30(a,) provides in full:

    (a) A municipality may not exercise any of its powers to enact ordinances within an urban agricultural area in a manner that would unreasonably restrict or regulate farming practices in contravention of the purposes of this Act unless the restrictions or regulations bear a direct relationship to public health or safety. (Emphasis Added).

    The City of Oakland skipped over all the regulatory hurdles to get to its objective of banning hemp.  Illinois amended the Illinois Municipal Code in 2019 to provide for urban agriculture and provided protections and procedures for farmers to establish an “urban agricultural area.” We must review Article 11, Division 15.4 of the Code regarding Municipal Urban Agricultural Areas. The City looked straight past the controlling provisions of the Code in search of its desired ends – banning hemp farming in its City limits. The City skipped right over numerous Sections of the Code that requires prior to adopting an ordinance designating an urban agricultural area, the municipality must:

    1.  receive an application for establishing an urban agricultural area [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-15(a)]; 
    2. establish an urban agricultural area committee after receiving an application to so establish one [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-10(a); 
    3. elect a chair for that committee [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-10(b)]; 
    4. fix a time and place for a public hearing and notify each taxing unit of local government [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-20]; 
    5. publish notice of this hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for days before such hearing [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-20]; and 
    6. hold the public hearing; allow any interested person – like the Plaintiffs in this case – to appear and voice objections and comments with respect to the hearing [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-20].
    7. Only after such public hearing, and in compliance with the procedures as provided in the Code, may the municipality adopt an ordinance establishing and designating an urban agricultural area [65 ILCS 5/11-15.4-20].

    The City of Oakland did none of these things in banning hemp farming from its City limits. Instead, it just said that it did, which the court pointed out that it clearly did not and had no ‘urban agricultural area’ to regulate. Therefore, the City’s ban on hemp failed under judicial review.  The City of Oakland may try to appeal the decision, but that won’t fix the problems with its hemp ban. 

    Illinois hemp bans may not be possible in home rule municipalities either because of the State’s comprehensive hemp licensing program, but that issue remains for another day.  

    Thomas Howard

    Thomas Howard

    Cannabis Lawyer

    Whether this is your first land use issue or most recent, our office has helped people and businesses alike.

    Thomas Howard was on the ball and got things done. Easy to work with, communicates very well, and I would recommend him anytime.
    R. Martindale

    Need A Business Lawyer?

    Call our law offices with your legal questions for help on:

    1. real estate contracts
    2. business contract disputes
    3. Shareholder litigation
    4. cannabis business
    5. fraud actions
    6. mechanic's liens

     

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      Agriculture Bankruptcy & Marshalling of Assets

      Agriculture Bankruptcy & Marshalling of Assets

      marshaling equitable doctrine

      General marshaling principles.

      The equitable doctrine of marshaling rests upon the principle that a creditor having two funds to satisfy his debt should not be permitted to arbitrarily prejudice a junior creditor who may resort to only one of the funds. Meyer v. U.S., 375 U.S. 233, 236, 84 S.Ct. 318, 11 L.Ed.2d 293 (1963)

      Bankruptcy and Ag Financing Issues

      The greatest challenge to any secured transaction arises when a borrower files a proceeding under the Bankruptcy Code. Originally enacted in 1986, Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code provides a procedure by which family farmers, as defined by the Code (see 11 U.S.C. §101(18)), can restructure debt. A permanent extension of Chapter 12 was enacted as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), Pub.L. No. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23. See Terrell Lee Sharp and Bentley J. Bender, Ch. 7, Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Tips and Procedures, CONSUMER BANKRUPTCY PRACTICE (IICLE®, 2011, Supp. 2013).  In 2019, the Family Farmer Relief Act (H.R. 2336) raised the debt limits on Chapter 12 to dramatically expand its application for farmers with debts totally $10 million, up from the previous $4.4 million.

            Whenever a dispute arises in a bankruptcy case as to the lien rights of a lender, an adversary proceeding will be filed to determine the validity, priority, or extent of a lien under Rule 7001(2) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Regardless of whether the adversary proceeding is brought by the lender, the debtor, or the trustee, the adversary proceeding provides the vehicle by which all legal and equitable theories may be tested. See, e.g., Illini Bank v. Clark (In re Snyder), 436 B.R. 81 (Bankr. C.D.Ill. 2010).

      Problem Ag Loan

      the equitable doctrine of marshaling

      At issue in Illini Bank was whether the equitable doctrine of marshaling should be applied to the benefit of Tri Ag, Inc., the holder of a junior lien against certain crop proceeds held by the Chapter 12 trustee. Illini Bank, as the assignee of the senior lienholder, wanted the funds for itself and opposed marshaling. In the debtors’ Chapter 12 petition and schedules, Mr. Snyder listed himself as a farmer and Mrs. Snyder listed herself as retired. However, the schedules for real property and personal property listed them as jointly owned.

            Tri Ag’s debt of $123,342 was the oldest. In February 2006, only Mr. Snyder signed a security agreement covering all crops grown on real estate farmers in bankruptcylocated in Logan and Mason Counties. To perfect that security interest, a UCC financing statement naming him as the sole debtor was filed on April 7, 2006.

            Unfortunately for Tri Ag, AG-LAND loaned money to the debtors and, on February 27, 2006, filed a UCC financing statement naming both as debtors. AG-LAND was owed $130,897.05. Thus, AG-LAND had the prior security interest in all growing and harvested crops. In 2007, both debtors borrowed money from Illini Bank and granted it a security interest in crops, machinery, and equipment, among other property. After the bankruptcy case was filed, Illini Bank purchased AG-LAND’s position and thereby leapfrogged from third to first priority on the crop lien. Tri Ag and Illini Bank filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the issue of marshaling an application of the total crop proceeds of $100,520.88.

            The first issue the court decided was that the direct and circumstantial evidence supported the conclusion that Mrs. Snyder owned half of the crop proceeds. Consequently, because she failed to sign the Tri Ag security agreement, Tri Ag acquired and held a lien on only one half of the proceeds.

            Next, the court rejected Illini Bank’s argument that the doctrine of marshaling should fail. Instead, the court held that marshaling could be applied to protect the one-half interest held by Tri Ag. The court noted that if AG-LAND had not sold its claim to the bank, AG-LAND, because it held a first priority lien on crop proceeds and on machinery equipment, would have been substantially oversecured. As a result, Illini Bank took the assigned claims subject to the marshaling rights of Tri-Ag.

      Thomas Howard

      Thomas Howard

      Real Estate Lawyer

      Whether this is your first land use issue or most recent, our office has helped people and businesses alike.

      Thomas Howard was on the ball and got things done. Easy to work with, communicates very well, and I would recommend him anytime.
      R. Martindale

      Need A Business Lawyer?

      Call our law offices with your legal questions for help on:

      1. real estate contracts
      2. business contract disputes
      3. Shareholder litigation
      4. cannabis business
      5. fraud actions
      6. mechanic's liens

       

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        Justifiable or Reasonable Reliance Under Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code

        Justifiable or Reasonable Reliance Under Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code

        Exception to Discharge Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code

        Reasonable Reliance Section 523 Bankruptcy

        Sometimes a debtor is less than honest, that’s when you bring an adversary action in bankruptcy

        Was your reliance justifiable  or reasonable when lending money to a dishonest debtor that. later ends up in bankruptcy. Collateral Base Attorney Tom Howard recently helped our client win a $1.8 million dollar verdict in a bankruptcy case out of the Central District of Illinois. The case, liura v. Brady (In re Brady), concerned several novel issues of law, including the standard for “justifiable” or “reasonable” reliance under §523(a)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code.

        Exceptions to Bankruptcy Discharge under Section 523 –

        Bankruptcy discharge is the value most debtors that petition for relief under the Bankruptcy Code are after.  The discharge of their debts can wipe away thousands or millions of dollars of debt holding down a debtor in order to give him or her a fresh start.  But not all debtors are honest but unlucky – some are lying about their debts, which is why you can file an action to except certain debts, usually obtained fraudulently, from discharge. Section § 523(a)(2) of the Code is the authority for such adversary proceedings, which provides, in relevant part:

        • (a) A discharge under section 727, 1141, 1192, 1228(a), 1228(b), or 1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from any debt—
        • (2) for money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or refinancing of credit, to the extent obtained by—
        • (A) false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud, other than a statement respecting the debtor’s or an insider’s financial condition;
        • (B) use of a statement in writing—
        • (i) that is materially false;
        • (ii) respecting the debtor’s or an insider’s financial condition;
        • (iii) on which the creditor to whom the debtor is liable for such money, property, services, or credit reasonably relied; and
        • (iv) that the debtor caused to be made or published with intent to deceive[.]
        • 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A), (B).

        Pliura v. Brady – Justifiable or Reasonable Reliance under Section 523

        The case concerns the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy of Bob Brady (Debtor), a prominent home builder in Central Illinois. After earning his MBA and spending several years in banking, Bob Brady joined Brady Homes, the family business. Brady Homes has built over 1,500 homes in the Bloomington/Normal area, and has also built and managed apartments and condominiums. The Debtor also participated in several other real estate businesses, including Pinehurst Development (Pinehurst) and Brew of Illinois, LLC (Brew). In other words, the Debtor was a very experienced and sophisticated real estate professional, and knew all about holding and transferring title of property.

        As our Central Illinois readers might know, the Debtor is the brother of State Senator Bill Brady. At the time of the loan, Senator Brady was running for Governor of Illinois as the Republican Party nominee (he went on to narrowly lose the race to incumbent Governor Pat Quinn). Bob Brady needed the loan to pay subcontractors, who were threatening to file liens and go public with the Bradys’ ongoing financial woes. Naturally, this would have been embarrassing for Senator Brady’s campaign.

        In 2010, Dr. Thomas Pliura (a lawyer and a physician) and his wife loaned Brady and his brother $1,000,000 at an interest rate of 6%. The note was accompanied by a Security Agreement, giving the Creditors security in several properties own by Brady and identifying each property, including the address and tax identification number. The Security Agreement stated that the Bradys were the “sole, legal and equitable owners” of the properties. In the interest of Brady’s political ambitions, Dr. Pliura agreed not to record a mortgage against the properties which secured the $1,000,000 Note. He simply relied on the promises and written representations of the Brady Brothers, whom he had known for twenty years.

        In fact, all of the properties were owned by Pinehurst and Brew, not by Brady and his brother. Additionally, all of the properties were encumbered by mortgages to Busey Bank. The properties had actually been cross-collateralized to other loans, and the Bradys were underwater on their various loans by approximately $3 million dollars.

        The Bradys made one payment to Dr. Pliura- a check that bounced. They never tendered any additional payments. Dr. Pliura retained an attorney to look into collecting on the Note, and discovered that the Properties were not owned by Brady, and were further encumbered to Busey Bank. Soon, Brady filed for bankruptcy, and Dr. Pliura filed his lawsuit.

        Section 523: Two Ways to Recover

        Normally in bankruptcy, a debtor’s outstanding debts are discharged, and creditors have their rights to collect curtailed or outright eliminated. Under Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code, there are a few ways to prevent this, or have a debt declared “non-dischargeable.” Section 523(a)(2) again provides:

        (a) A discharge under section 727, 1141, 1192, 1228(a), 1228(b), or

        1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from any

        debt—

        . . .

        (2) for money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or

        refinancing of credit, to the extent obtained by—

        (A) false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud,

        other than a statement respecting the debtor’s or an insider’s

        financial condition;

        (B) use of a statement in writing—

        (i) that is materially false;

        (ii) respecting the debtor’s or an insider’s financial

        condition;

        (iii) on which the creditor to whom the debtor is liable for

        such money, property, services, or credit reasonably

        relied; and

        (iv) that the debtor caused to be made or published with

        intent to deceive[.]

        • Under 523(a)(2)(A), the Pliuras had to show “(1) the Debtor made a false representation or omission; (2) the Debtor knew the misrepresentation was false or made the representation with reckless disregard for the truth; (3) the Debtor made the misrepresentation with intent to deceive; and (4) they justifiably relied on the misrepresentation in making the loan.”
        • In contrast, under 523(a)(2)(B) the Pliuras were required to prove that the Debtor submitted to them, as part of their loan transaction, a written statement “(1) that was materially false; (2) that included information respecting the Debtor’s financial condition; (3) that they reasonably relied on in extending the loan; and (4) that the Debtor made or published with intent to deceive.”

        The two sections have previously been held to be mutually exclusive. Under the recent Supreme Court case of Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. Appling, the reasonable reliance bankruptcyCourt found that “a statement about a single asset” could be a “statement respecting a debtor’s financial condition.” That is, if the Bradys made a statement about a single one of their assets, the Pliuras would be in Section 523(a)(2)(B) and the “reasonable reliance” standard. The Court briefly addressed this issue, and found that Brady had made written representations about his financial condition, so the Pliuras would have to recover under 523(a)(2)(B).

        Was There Reasonable Reliance?

        There was no real dispute that Brady knowingly made materially false statements about his ownership of the Properties, and that the money was, in fact, owed to the Pliuras. There was a mountain of evidence that Brady knowingly and intentionally deceived Pliura to induce him to make the loan. But the bigger question was: did Dr. Pliura reasonably rely on Brady’s representations?

        The Court began its analysis by noting that usually, reasonable reliance is determined based on the lender’s lending standards. However, “[h]ere, of course, the Pliuras are not traditional lenders and have no standard practices or any relation to the lending industry; it would be unfair and inappropriate to evaluate their reliance as though they were commercial bankers.” As the court further explained, while “reasonable reliance does not generally require creditors to conduct an investigation prior to entering into agreements with prospective debtors[.]” In re Morris, 223 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 2000). But, at the same time, creditors cannot ignore “obvious red flags.” Harris N.A. v. Gunsteen (In re Gunsteen), 487 B.R. 887, 902 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2013).

        The Court looked at the various statements made by parties to the Note. However, at the end of the day, it was not just that the parties has discussed ownership of the properties, but that “Dr. Pliura put the information they were relying on in writing, and the Debtor signed that writing.” It was unrebutted that Brady read the representations in the Note at closing, and did not raise any objections at the time. The court also relied on Dr. Pliura’s personal relationship with the Bradys in assessing his reliance. “He knew that William Brady was a state senator and a candidate for governor and, apparently, he held Sen. Brady in high regard. He knew the Bradys as successful businessmen in the community, and, despite also knowing of their current financial distress and urgent need to borrow money, he had no reason to think that any of the Bradys, including the Debtor, would look him in the eye and lie.”

        This case provides significant guidance for creditors who are proceeding under 523(a)(2)(B). Even sophisticated individuals can be misled and lied to by people they know and trust. This case clarifies that for debtors who are betrayed by people close to them, the law is still on their side.

        The full opinion of the Court is available here.

        David Silvers

        David Silvers

        Regulatory Lawyer

        Whether this is your first land use issue or most recent, our office has helped people and businesses alike.

        Thomas Howard was on the ball and got things done. Easy to work with, communicates very well, and I would recommend him anytime.
        R. Martindale

        Need A Business Lawyer?

        Call our law offices with your legal questions for help on:

        1. real estate contracts
        2. business contract disputes
        3. Shareholder litigation
        4. cannabis business
        5. fraud actions
        6. mechanic's liens

         

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          Filing Financing Statements and Determining Priority

          Filing Financing Statements and Determining Priority

          Determining Priority

          Determining Priority in Perfected Security Interests

          Who’s on first? This question decides what creditor gets paid, and what becomes an unsecured creditor whose best option is to recover pennies on the dollar for the money loaned to a business that purportedly had collateral. Priority to collateral needs determination to see who can seize it in satisfaction of its indebtedness to the business. 

          How and Where to File UCC Financing Statements

           

          As a general rule, in all secured transactions involving a security agreement executed by the debtor, the debtor authorizes the secured party to file a financing statement describing the collateral. See 810 ILCS 5/9-509(a)(1).  A financing statement perfects the lien in the collateral securing the transaction, often a loan to a business.

          The financing statement is filed with the Secretary of State’s office in which the collateral is located, or the lien arose because some collateral is mobile. In addition, Article 9 provides that a person holding an agricultural lien that arises by operation of law and requires no written agreement may file a financing statement without consent provided the financing statement covers “only collateral in which the person holds an agricultural lien.” 810 ILCS 5/9-509(a)(2).

          UCC Financing Statement Filing

          Problem Ag Loan

          UCC Financing Statement Illinois Example

          UCC Financing Statement Illinois

          A UCC 1 in Illinois is common knowledge for commercial bankers and you can find a copy of the fillable PDF form LINKED HERE.

          Description of Collateral for Perfection of UCC Lien

          The financing statement does not need to include the legal description of leased real estate as a condition of perfection. Article 9 only requires this description only for “as-extracted collateral or timber to be cut.” 810 ILCS 5/9-502(b). “As-extracted collateral” means oil, gas, or other minerals that are subject to a security interest that is created by a debtor having an interest in the minerals before extraction and attaches to the minerals as extracted. 810 ILCS 5/9-102(a)(6). However, a legal description may be appropriate as an indication of “the collateral covered by the financing statement.” 810 ILCS 5/9-502(a)(3). One example is the landlord’s lien on crops growing on specific acreage. When the debtor is a tenant farmer that does not have a record interest in the real estate, counsel also must provide the name of the record owner. 810 ILCS 5/9-502(b)(4).

          With a few exceptions, all financing statements are required to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. 810 ILCS 5/9-501(a). The law governing perfection of priority of security interests is generally determined by the location of the debtor. 810 ILCS 5/9-301. For agricultural liens, the law governing priority is the local law of the jurisdiction where the farm products are located. 810 ILCS 5/9-302.

          The debtor’s location depends on how the debtor is conducting the farm business. When a debtor is an individual, he or she is located at the individual’s principal residence. When the debtor is a non-registered organization, such as a general partnership, it is located at its place of business or its chief executive office if it has more than one place of business. 810 ILCS 5/9-307(b). However, when the debtor is an organization that is organized under state law, like a corporation or a limited liability company, it is located in the state where it is registered. 810 ILCS 5/9-307(e). The failure to file in the proper jurisdiction or to otherwise fail to satisfy the specific requirements for completing and filing the financing statement can be fatal. See, e.g., Duesterhaus Fertilizer, Inc. v. Capital Crossing Bank (In re Duesterhaus Fertilizer, Inc.), 347 B.R. 646 (Bankr. C.D.Ill. 2006).

          Priorities: Which Agricultural Lien Wins?

          In a conflict between security interests and agricultural liens in the same collateral, priority generally dates from the earlier of the time the filing covering the collateral is first made or the security interest or agricultural lien is first perfected. See 810 ILCS 5/9-322, 5/9-338.

          A perfected security interest in growing crops has a priority over a conflicting interest of the owner or the mortgagee of the real property on which such crops are grown. 810 ILCS 5/9-334(i)(1)(A). The same priority applies between an assignee of a beneficial interest in an Illinois land trust and the holder of a perfected security interest in crops. See 810 ILCS 5/9-334(i)(1)(B). Lenders financing farm real estate that also want to maintain priority in crops must comply with Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

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