Glossary of Terms

363 Sale   a sale of assets of the debtor's bankruptcy estate, typically free and clear of liens and claims, pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, that may be for a debtor's entire business or just for certain pieces (such as a factory, or a product line)
Automatic Stay   an injunction automatically imposed on creditors (and others) upon the filing of a bankruptcy case, prohibiting them from taking virtually any action against the debtor or property of the debtor's bankruptcy estate
Bankruptcy Code   Title 11 of the United States Code, the body of law that governs insolvency and reorganization proceedings in the United States
Bankruptcy Court   a division of the United States District Court to which bankruptcy matters are automatically referred 
Bankruptcy Estate   the separate legal entity that arises when a bankruptcy case is filed, to which all of the debtor's property belongs during its bankruptcy Bankruptcy Petition the document filed to initiate a bankruptcy case
Bankruptcy Rules   the body of rules that governs the procedures to be followed in the bankruptcy court, also known as the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures
Bar Date   a term commonly used to refer to various dates by which creditors must take certain action. (e.g. the "Claims Bar Date" is the last day to file a proof of claim)
Bond Holders   holders of interest-bearing debt instruments, either secured or unsecured, issued by the debtor
Chapter 7 Liquidation   bankruptcy proceeding in which a trustee collects the assets of the debtor, sells the assets, and distributes the proceeds of the sale of the assets to creditors
Chapter 11 Reorganization   a part of the Bankruptcy Code that provides for a reorganization of the debtor.  Under Chapter 11, the debtor the debtors pays its creditors under a payment plan over a period of time in an amount usually not less than the value of the debtor's assets at the commencement of the case
Claim   a right to payment from the bankruptcy estate
Claim, Administrative   a claim generally based on goods or services provided to the bankruptcy estate
Claim, Objection to   refers to the proceeding by which a party disputes a creditor's claim
Claim, Priority   refers to claims that will be paid prior to general unsecured creditors, typically for wages, rents, deposits, and taxes
Claim, Proof of   a written statement evidencing a claim which is filed with the bankruptcy court
Claim, Secured   a claim based on a valid security interest in real or personal property (or both)
Confirmation Hearing   the hearing at which the court determines if it will approve the debtor's plan
Confirmation Order   a court order entered in a chapter 11, 12, or 13 case approving the debtor's plan
Cramdown   a slang term used in the context of a bankruptcy case which refers to the court approving a payment plan over the creditor's objection.
Creditor   an entity that holds a claim
Committee of Creditors   a committee of 3 to 7 of the debtor's unsecured creditors, appointed to represent the interests of all of the unsecured creditors (also known as a Creditors' Committee or Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, or frequently just Committee)
Debtor   refers to the entity that filed bankruptcy
Debtor-in-possession   a chapter 11 debtor that remains in possession and control of the assets of its bankruptcy estate, with the same rights and duties as a trustee
Defined Benefit Plan   pension plan that guarantees a certain level of retirement income, often based on years of service and historical income level
Discharge   in a chapter 7 case, the elimination of a debtor's debts owed to its creditors in a chapter 11 case, the replacement of a debtor's pre-filing debts with the obligations defined in its plan of reorganization, which occurs at confirmation
Distribution   payment of money or other consideration to the creditors from the bankruptcy estate, sometimes referred to as a dividend
Distribution, priority of   the order in which funds of the bankruptcy estate are distributed
ERISA   Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. §§1001-1461), federal statute that, among other things, created a system of pension insurance and established defined-benefit pension plan sponsors' duties with regard to plan funding
Gap Period   the period of time between the filing of the involuntary petition and the entry of an order for relief, during which the debtor can remain in possession of its property, continue business operations, and use, acquire, or dispose of assets unless these rights are denied by the court or an interim trustee is appointed
Insider   a person, relative, or entity that controls or is presumed to control the debtor
Insolvent   a term used to describe an entity whose liabilities exceed the value of its assets (legal insolvency) or that is not able to pay debts as they come due (equitable insolvency)
Involuntary Petition   the commencement of a bankruptcy case by a debtor's creditors
Lien   an interest in property to secure payment of a debt
Lift-Stay Motion   the procedure by which a creditor seeks court permission to take action against the debtor or the property of the estate (also known as a Motion to Terminate the Automatic Stay)
Motion   a request, usually in writing, directed to the court
NLRA   National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. §§151-169)
Order for Relief   a court order entitling the debtor to the protection of the bankruptcy laws, entered automatically upon the filing of a voluntary bankruptcy petition
PBGC   the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a government agency that regulates and guarantees ERISA-governed defined benefit pension plans
Petition Date   the date on which the debtor filed its bankruptcy petition
Plan (or Plan of Reorganization)   the document that describes the terms and conditions under which creditors in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case are to be paid