March Madness 2012: Bankruptcies for the Generations

Once again, in the spirit of March Madness, we at the Bankruptcy Blog are launching our “Sweet Sixteen” of bankruptcy.  Last year, you voted on the most important bankruptcy decisions of all time.  As we’ve noted, this year’s March Madness poll will determine which chapter 11 cases (i.e., bankruptcies, as opposed to decisions) are the “Top Bankruptcies” of all time.
As the Bankruptcy Blog is all about transparency, we want to share a word regarding the methods that were used to determine which cases will be included in this year’s March Madness poll.  For the past month, we’ve been reaching out to leading industry professionals, soliciting their nominations for the top chapter 11 cases of all time.  Then, we asked you to submit your nominations for the “top bankruptcies” for this year’s poll.  After we tallied the votes, an elite selection committee met to consider the top contenders for the 2012 tournament bracket.  Where cases were only one or two votes apart, we debated the merits of each eligible bankruptcy case and, after just a few technical fouls (and some attempted point-shaving), we ultimately settled on the top chapter 11 cases for this year’s tournament bracket.  Based on the number of votes and the natural lines upon which the top twenty cases settled, we developed a bracket of four distinct regions: Heavy Industry, The Litigators, The Trendsetters, and The 2008 Crisis.  By popular demand, the first rounds of the tournament will be taking place in New York and Delaware.
Like the NCAA, we’ve expanded the tournament to include a play-in round.  Accordingly, the first round of voting (for the #4 seed in each region) will begin this Wednesday, March 14 (be sure to check back in to vote for your favorite!).  With the start of the NCAA Sweet Sixteen next week, we’ll begin our voting our Sweet Sixteen on Wednesday, March 21.  In each round of voting, we’ll be sharing our esteemed nominators’ rationale for their “top” chapter 11 case of all time, as well as insights from the top legal minds here at the Bankruptcy Blog.
Will a certain juggernaut case power its way through the tournament?  Will a deceased C-list celebrity continue to make her mark on the Bankruptcy Blog?  Which case will be this year’s VCU?  Will the experience and longevity of the decades-long cases outshine the younger “one and done” prepacks and 363 sales? Does the Bankruptcy Blog have the clout to get the President to vote this year?  We will be posting a new set of seeds every hour throughout the day, so check back throughout the day to see which cases made the cut and which will be relegated to the bankruptcy NIT.  And remember to keep checking back throughout the month to make your vote count!


2008 Crisis Trendsetters
1.  Lehman   1.  Enron
2. GGP
  2.  WorldCom
3. CIT     3.  Ionosphere Clubs
4.  New Century
  4.  Continental Airlines (both of them)
5. Charter Communications   5.  SCI Television  

Litigators   Heavy Industry
1.  Johns-Manville Corp.   1. General Motors/Chrysler
2.   A.H. Robins   2.  Vertis and American Color Graphics
3.  Texaco, Inc.   3.  Lyondell
4.  Marshall   4.  Northern Pacific Railroad
5.  Exide   5. Los Angeles Lumber    

Was your favorite case snubbed?  Let us know, and we may just feature your favorite case in a special post of the all-time greatest bankruptcies not to have been given a shot at glory.
Last Updated: 4:12:52 PM (Eastern), March 12, 2012