The Michigan judge overseeing Detroit’s historic bankruptcy case found today that parties seeking to appeal his order finding the city eligible for bankruptcy protection may proceed directly to the Sixth Circuit.
Judge Steven Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan issued an opinion dated December 5, 2013 finding that that Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, overruling numerous objections filed by labor unions, pension funds and other interested parties. Since then, several objectors, including labor unions and retiree groups, have sought to appeal the order. After listening to brief arguments from would-be appellants, Judge Rhodes ruled from the bench in favor of an appeals process that bypasses the district court and the Sixth Circuit’s Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.
Unions and other parties advocating direct appeals had also requested that Judge Rhodes ask the Sixth Circuit to take up the appeals on an expedited basis. Lawyers for Detroit indicated that the city does not oppose an expedited process, to the extent that it will not delay efforts to confirm a plan of adjustment in the case. Judge Rhodes is expected to rule in the next several days on the request for an expedited appeals process.