In re McGuirk, 414 B.R. 878 (Bankr. N.D. Ga. August 31, 2009) (Bihary). A creditor approached the Chapter 7 Trustee about purchasing the assets of the Chapter 7 Estate, including the avoidance actions (although the Trustee apparently believed there were no such actions available in the case). A Motion to sell assets was filed, and an objection was filed by the debtor, who alleged improper motive on the part of the creditor. The Court denied the Motion.
This Court made it clear in a prior published decision that absent extraordinary circumstances, a trustee cannot sell, transfer, or assign the right to assert and maintain an estate’s avoidance action to an individual creditor. In re Carragher, 249 B.R. 817, 820 (Bankr. N.D.Ga. 2000); see also In re Metro. Elec. Mfg. Co., 295 B.R. 7, 12 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. 2003). The rationale for this is sound. The Bankruptcy Code gives trustees special powers to fulfill their primary duty of marshaling the debtor’s assets for the benefit of the estate. A Chapter 7 trustee is appointed and trained by the United States Trustee and must have certain qualifications to be appointed. A single creditor does not have the training or qualifications to exercise the role of a panel Chapter 7 trustee. The trustee "is visibly the court-appointed representative of creditors, but a buyer is just another self-interested party." …The trustee’s power to bring an avoidance action is one such power reserved exclusively for the trustee.
In limited situations, a court may grant a creditor derivative standing to bring an avoidance action. Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors of Cybergenics v. Chinery, 330 F.3d 548, 568 (3d Cir. 2003). However, Cadles is not seeking derivative standing; it seeks to purchase the Trustee’s rights to bring avoidance claims in its own name. Derivative standing is granted to benefit the estate as a whole, not merely to benefit the creditor bringing the claim. Craig v. Green Light Capital Qualified, L.P. (In re Prosser), 51 B.C.D. 256, 2009 Bankr. LEXIS 2237 (Bankr. D.V.I. 2009). In addition, none of the elements justifying derivative standing has been established in this case. Neither the Trustee nor Cadles has established any colorable claim, and there is no indication that the Trustee has unjustifiably refused to bring any avoidance action.
Cadles should not be surprised by this Court’s ruling. See Reed v. Cooper (In re Cooper), 405 B.R. 801, 816 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 2009) ("[T]he court will not allow Cadle [The Cadle Company] to usurp the role of the Trustee in this case and pursue estate causes of action")…