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Technology provides bankrupt retailers unprecedented access and speed to court hearings

J.C. Penney filed chapter 11 the evening of Friday, May 15, 2020.  Hearings on the case were commenced on the next day - a Saturday.  Several lawyers on the call suggested to the court that it was the first time they had ever appeared on a weekend.  Hundreds of people participated in the hearing.  And, in fact, one of the participants was an individual small shareholder of the company.

Where was this hearing?  The answer is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Each participant appeared remotely.  Exhibits were posted for everyone to review online at

We are entering an unprecedented time due to COVID-19. One positive development may be the accessibility of the court system.

On Friday, Penney filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas, becoming the biggest in a parade of retailers to seek a court restructuring during the coronavirus pandemic. Neiman Marcus Group Inc., J.Crew Group Inc. and Stage Stores Inc. have all filed for bankruptcy this month.


bankruptcy, restructuring & insolvency