March 01, 2021

Bankruptcy Court Declines to Decide Whether Pa. COVID Measures Unconstitutional

The Legal Intelligencer

Faegre Drinker co-chair Andrew Kassner and counsel Joseph Argentina coauthored an article for The Legal Intelligencer, titled “Bankruptcy Court Declines to Decide Whether Pa. COVID Measures Unconstitutional.”

The article discusses a recent decision from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania that declined to adjudicate the constitutional issues and legality of state orders in a request by a debtor. The debtor in the case, an Allegheny County restaurant, allegedly did not ensure its employees or patrons wore masks, in violation of Pennsylvania orders, which would result in the restaurant losing its permit to operate. The debtor did not deny it violated the order, but requested it be relieved from enforcement because the state order violated the U.S. Constitution.

In the article, Kassner and Argentina highlight that the bankruptcy court acknowledged the harm suffered by the debtor’s business, and that the police power of the commonwealth is not absolute. However, the authors note the court ultimately determined that the debtor’s constitutional challenges should be raised in other courts rather than in the context of a bankruptcy court deciding the scope of the automatic stay.

Full Article
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