U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy

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Author: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel"

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§ 546. Limitations on Avoiding Powers

     (a) An action or proceeding under section 544, 545, 547, 548, or 553 of this title may not be commenced after the earlier of—

     (1) the later of—

     (A) 2 years after the entry of the order for relief; or

     (B) 1 year after the appointment or election of the first trustee under section 702, 1104, 1163, 1202, or 1302 of this title if such appointment or such election occurs before the expiration of the period specified in subparagraph (A); or

     (2) the time the case is closed or dismissed.

     (b)(1) The rights and powers of a trustee under sections 544, 545, and 549 of this title are subject to any generally applicable law that—

     (A) permits perfection of an interest in property to be effective against an entity that acquires rights in such property before the date of perfection; or

     (B) provides for the maintenance or continuation of perfection of an interest in property to be effective against an entity that acquires rights in such property before the date on which action is taken to effect such maintenance or continuation.

     (2) If—

     (A) a law described in paragraph (1) requires seizure of such property or commencement of an action to accomplish such perfection, or maintenance or continuation of perfection of an interest in property; and

     (B) such property has not been seized or such an action has not been commenced before the date of the filing of the petition;

such interest in such property shall be perfected, or perfection of such interest shall be maintained or continued, by giving notice within the time fixed by such law for such seizure or such commencement.

     (c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the rights and powers of a trustee under sections 544(a), 545, 547, and 549 of this title are subject to any statutory or common-law right of a seller of goods that has sold goods to the debtor, in the ordinary course of such seller’s business, to reclaim such goods if the debtor has received such goods while insolvent, but—

     (1) such a seller may not reclaim any such goods unless such seller demands in writing reclamation of such goods—

     (A) before 10 days after receipt of such goods by the debtor; or

     (B) if such 10-day period expires after the commencement of the case, before 20 days after receipt of such goods by the debtor; and

     (2) the court may deny reclamation to a seller with such a right of reclamation that has made such a demand only if the court—

     (A) grants the claim of such a seller priority as a claim of a kind specified in section 503(b) of this title; or

     (B) secures such claim by a lien.

     (d) In the case of a seller who is a producer of grain sold to a grain storage facility, owned or operated by the debtor, in the ordinary course of such seller’s business (as such terms are defined in section 557 of this title) or in the case of a United States fisherman who has caught fish sold to a fish processing facility owned or operated by the debtor in the ordinary course of such fisherman’s business, the rights and powers of the trustee under sections 544(a), 545, 547, and 549 of this title are subject to any statutory or common law right of such producer or fisherman to reclaim such grain or fish if the debtor has received such grain or fish while insolvent, but—

     (1) such producer or fisherman may not reclaim any grain or fish unless such producer or fisherman demands, in writing, reclamation of such grain or fish before ten days after receipt thereof by the debtor; and

     (2) the court may deny reclamation to such a producer or fisherman with a right of reclamation that has made such a demand only if the court secures such claim by a lien.

     (e) Notwithstanding sections 544, 545, 547, 548(a)(1)(B), and 548(b) of this title, the trustee may not avoid a transfer that is a margin payment, as defined in section 101, 741, or 761 of this title, or settlement payment, as defined in section 101 or 741 of this title, made by or to a commodity broker, forward contract merchant, stockbroker, financial institution, or securities clearing agency, that is made before the commencement of the case, except under section 548(a)(1)(A) of this title.

     (f) Notwithstanding sections 544, 545, 547, 548(a)(1)(B), and 548(b) of this title, the trustee may not avoid a transfer that is a margin payment, as defined in section 741 or 761 of this title, or settlement payment, as defined in section 741 of this title, made by or to a repo participant, in connection with a repurchase agreement and that is made before the commencement of the case, except under section 548(a)(1)(A) of this title.

     (g) Notwithstanding sections 544, 545, 547, 548(a)(1)(B) and 548(b) of this title, the trustee may not avoid a transfer under a swap agreement, made by or to a swap participant, in connection with a swap agreement and that is made before the commencement of the case, except under section 548(a)(1)(A) of this title.

     (g) 1 Notwithstanding the rights and powers of a trustee under sections 544(a), 545, 547, 549, and 553, if the court determines on a motion by the trustee made not later than 120 days after the date of the order for relief in a case under chapter 11 of this title and after notice and a hearing, that a return is in the best interests of the estate, the debtor, with the consent of a creditor, may return goods shipped to the debtor by the creditor before the commencement of the case, and the creditor may offset the purchase price of such goods against any claim of the creditor against the debtor that arose before the commencement of the case.

1 So in original. Probably should be "(h)".

(Pub. L. 95–598, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2597; Pub. L. 97–222, § 4, July 27, 1982, 96 Stat. 236; Pub. L. 98–353, title III, §§ 351, 393, 461, July 10, 1984, 98 Stat. 358, 365, 377; Pub. L. 99–554, title II, §§ 257(d), 283(l), Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3114, 3117; Pub. L. 101–311, title I, § 103, title II, § 203, June 25, 1990, 104 Stat. 268, 269; Pub. L. 103–394, title II, §§ 204(b), 209, 216, 222(a), title V, § 501(b)(4), Oct. 22, 1994, 108 Stat. 4122, 4125, 4126, 4129, 4142; Pub. L. 105–183, § 3(c), June 19, 1998, 112 Stat. 518.)

Historical and Revision Notes

legislative statements

     Section 546(a) of the House amendment is derived from section 546(c) of the Senate amendment. Section 546(c) of the House amendment is derived from section 546(b) of the Senate amendment. It applies to receipt of goods on credit as well as by cash sales. The section clarifies that a demand for reclamation must be made in writing anytime before 10 days after receipt of the goods by the debtor. The section also permits the court to grant the reclaiming creditor a lien or an administrative expense in lieu of turning over the property.

senate report no. 95–989

     The trustee’s rights and powers under certain of the avoiding powers are limited by section 546. First, if an interest holder against whom the trustee would have rights still has, under applicable nonbankruptcy law, and as of the date of the petition, the opportunity to perfect his lien against an intervening interest holder, then he may perfect his interest against the trustee. If applicable law requires seizure for perfection, then perfection is by notice to the trustee instead. The rights granted to a creditor under this subsection prevail over the trustee only if the transferee has perfected the transfer in accordance with applicable law, and that perfection relates back to a date that is before the commencement of the case.

     The phrase "generally applicable law" relates to those provisions of applicable law that apply both in bankruptcy cases and outside of bankruptcy cases. For example, many State laws, under the Uniform Commercial Code, permit perfection of a purchase-money security interest to relate back to defeat an earlier levy by another creditor if the former was perfected within ten days of delivery of the property. U.C.C. § 9–301(2). Such perfection would then be able to defeat an intervening hypothetical judicial lien creditor on the date of the filing of the petition. The purpose of the subsection is to protect, in spite of the surprise intervention of a bankruptcy petition, those whom State law protects by allowing them to perfect their liens or interests as of an effective date that is earlier than the date of perfection. It is not designed to give the States an opportunity to enact disguised priorities in the form of liens that apply only in bankruptcy cases.

     Subsection (b) [enacted as (c)] specifies that the trustee’s rights and powers under the strong arm clause, the successor to creditors provision, the preference section, and the postpetition transaction section are all subject to any statutory or common-law right of a seller, in the ordinary course of business, of goods to the debtor to reclaim the goods if the debtor received the goods on credit while insolvent. The seller must demand reclamation within ten days after receipt of the goods by the debtor. As under nonbankruptcy law, the right is subject to any superior rights of secured creditors. The purpose of the provision is to recognize, in part, the validity of section 2–702 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which has generated much litigation, confusion, and divergent decisions in different circuits. The right is subject, however, to the power of the court to deny reclamation and protect the seller by granting him a priority as an administrative expense for his claim arising out of the sale of the goods.

     Subsection (c) [enacted as (a)] adds a statute of limitations to the use by the trustee of the avoiding powers. The limitation is two years after his appointment, or the time the case is closed or dismissed, whichever occurs later.

Amendments

     1998—Subsecs. (e) to (g). Pub. L. 105–183 substituted "548(a)(1)(B)" for "548(a)(2)" and "548(a)(1)(A)" for "548(a)(1)".

     1994—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 103–394, § 216, amended par. (1) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (1) read as follows: "two years after the appointment of a trustee under section 702, 1104, 1163, 1302, or 1202 of this title; or".

     Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 103–394, § 204(b), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) read as follows: "The rights and powers of a trustee under sections 544, 545, and 549 of this title are subject to any generally applicable law that permits perfection of an interest in property to be effective against an entity that acquires rights in such property before the date of such perfection. If such law requires seizure of such property or commencement of an action to accomplish such perfection, and such property has not been seized or such action has not been commenced before the date of the filing of the petition, such interest in such property shall be perfected by notice within the time fixed by such law for such seizure or commencement."

     Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 103–394, § 209, amended par. (1) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (1) read as follows: "such a seller may not reclaim any such goods unless such seller demands in writing reclamation of such goods before ten days after receipt of such goods by the debtor; and".

     Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 103–394, § 501(b)(4)(A), substituted "section 101, 741, or 761" for "section 101(34), 741(5), or 761(15)" and "section 101 or 741" for "section 101(35) or 741(8)".

     Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 103–394, § 501(b)(4)(B), substituted "section 741 or 761" for "section 741(5) or 761(15)" and "section 741" for "section 741(8)".

     Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 103–394, § 222(a), added subsec. (g) relating to return of goods.

     1990—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 101–311, § 203, inserted reference to sections 101(34) and 101(35) of this title.

     Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 101–311, § 103, added subsec. (g) relating to trustee’s authority to avoid transfer involving swap agreement.

     1986—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 99–554, § 257(d), inserted reference to section 1202 of this title.

     Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 99–554, § 283(l), inserted a comma after "stockbroker".

     1984—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 98–353, § 461(a), substituted "; or" for "; and".

     Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 98–353, § 461(b), substituted "a trustee under sections 544, 545, and" for "the trustee under sections 544, 545, or".

     Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 98–353, §§ 351(1), 461(c)(1)–(4), substituted "Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the" for "The", substituted "a trustee" for "the trustee", struck out "right" before "or common-law", inserted "of goods that has sold goods to the debtor" after "seller", and struck out "of goods to the debtor" after "business,".

     Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 98–353, § 461(c)(5)(A), inserted "the" after "if" in provisions preceding subpar. (A).

     Subsec. (c)(2)(A). Pub. L. 98–353, § 461(c)(5)(B), substituted "a claim of a kind specified in section 503(b) of this title" for "an administrative expense".

     Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 98–353, § 351(3), added subsec. (d). Former subsec. (d) redesignated (e).

     Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 98–353, §§ 351(2), 461(d), redesignated former subsec. (d) as (e) and inserted "financial institution" after "stockbroker".

     Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 98–353, § 393, added subsec. (f).

     1982—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 97–222 added subsec. (d).

Effective Date of 1998 Amendment

     Amendment by Pub. L. 105–183 applicable to any case brought under an applicable provision of this title that is pending or commenced on or after June 19, 1998, see section 5 of Pub. L. 105–183, set out as a note under section 544 of this title.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

     Amendment by Pub. L. 103–394 effective Oct. 22, 1994, and not applicable with respect to cases commenced under this title before Oct. 22, 1994, see section 702 of Pub. L. 103–394, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Effective Date of 1986 Amendment

     Amendment by section 257 of Pub. L. 99–554 effective 30 days after Oct. 27, 1986, but not applicable to cases commenced under this title before that date, see section 302(a), (c)(1) of Pub. L. 99–554, set out as a note under section 581 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

     Amendment by section 283 of Pub. L. 99–554 effective 30 days after Oct. 27, 1986, see section 302(a) of Pub. L. 99–554.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

     Amendment by Pub. L. 98–353 effective with respect to cases filed 90 days after July 10, 1984, see section 552(a) of Pub. L. 98–353, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Section Referred to in Other Sections

     This section is referred to in sections 106, 362, 552, 901 of this title.

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Chicago: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", "§ 546. Limitations on Avoiding Powers," U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy in U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002), Original Sources, accessed August 9, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BHFSTLHMJ17354.

MLA: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel". "§ 546. Limitations on Avoiding Powers." U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy, in U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 2002, Original Sources. 9 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BHFSTLHMJ17354.

Harvard: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", '§ 546. Limitations on Avoiding Powers' in U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy. cited in 2002, U.S. Code, Title 11, Bankruptcy, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.. Original Sources, retrieved 9 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BHFSTLHMJ17354.