Properly Reporting Outcomes from Bankruptcy Cases to ICIS
Purpose: In FY 2009, OECA and the regions settled the ASARCO bankruptcy case lasting several years and involving 80 sites in 20 states. This was the largest bankruptcy settlement in EPA’s history. The approximately $1 billion for future cleanup of Superfund sites represents full payment of EPA’s claims, plus interest. The funds are being distributed pursuant to settlement agreements approved in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Five settlement agreements were approved by the Bankruptcy Court in June 2009. Funds from all the settlement agreements were distributed after the Bankruptcy and District Courts approved ASARCO’s Plan of Reorganization. There was confusion over whether regions should report the outcomes of the settlement agreements before the Plan of Reorganization was approved.
Bankruptcy cases will receive credit for a case conclusion when the settlement agreement is approved and entered by the District Court. Lodging and entry of bankruptcy cases will be reported to ICIS just like all civil judicial enforcement actions. The Court’s approval of a Plan of Reorganization, under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy code, should not delay entry and reporting of the approved settlement information.
OECA understands that the funds from the settlement agreements will not be distributed until the Bankruptcy and/or District Courts approve the Plan of Reorganization. However, to be consistent with case conclusion reporting of all civil actions, the bankruptcy case conclusion, including all estimated outcomes in the settlement agreement, should be reported to ICIS within ten working days of the settlement being entered by the District court. (If a bankruptcy case qualifies as a “Big Case” the results from the case must be entered to ICIS within two weeks of the case having been lodged.)
Data Entry: On the Basic Info screen, the Enforcement Action Type is “Bankruptcy.” Use the standard judicial milestones Final Order Lodged and Final Order Entered to record the progress of the bankruptcy settlement agreement. All other data entry should follow the standard procedures for entering a civil judicial enforcement action.
Data Retrieval: The existing ICIS national standard reports will capture the case conclusion and the outcomes when the Actual Final Order Entered milestone is reported.