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Bankruptcy Decision Regarding Stock Appreciation Rights, and Criminal Matter

By FindLaw Staff | Last updated on

In re: Dittmar, No. 09-3230, involved bankruptcy trustees' appeal from the judgment of the bankruptcy appellate panel holding that debtors' stock appreciation rights (SARs) were not part of debtors' bankruptcy estates under 11 U.S.C. section 541.  The court reversed where 1) while the value of the SARs before any payment event occurred may have been de minimis, that did not mean that debtors did not have a property interest in the SARs; and 2) the SARs created by the collective bargaining agreement at issue were more akin to contingent pre-petition property rights than mere expectancies based on discretionary bonuses.

In US v. Bowling, No. 08-6184, the court affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for bank fraud, holding that 1) the government did not need to prove that bank officers' conduct had not waived the bank's security interest in the cattle at issue or in the proceeds from the sale of the cattle under commercial law to convict defendant of bank fraud; and 2) the district court more than adequately conveyed -- with its use and explanation of the term "knowingly" -- that the jury could not find defendant guilty of bank fraud if the jury found he acted in good faith; and 3) the district court followed an appropriate course in sentencing defendant because it made factual findings based on the evidence before it and left room to take into account any future change in circumstances.

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