Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A child sues its parent

How about a little non-political discussion today — caucus day — grasshopper?

That would be great, Spot, but I figured you were going to do that.

How’d you figure it out?

The title of the post. But can kids really sue their parents?

Sometimes, but this is more of a corporate personhood kind of a thing.

You mean like Citizens United?

After a fashion, Spot supposes. Anyway, there is an article in the StarTribune today about Opus West, the bankrupt Phoenix subsidiary of Opus Corp., suing the parent company for $163 million.

That seems a little ungrateful.

Well, maybe, but the suit alleges (and that’s all it is so far: allegation) that Opus Corp., the parent, located in the Twin Cities, was a bad parent: it looted the subsidiary and left it unable to pay its creditors. You can read more about what is claimed in the suit in the article.

But if Opus West is bankrupt, how can it sue?

That’s the point Spot wants to illustrate today, grasshopper. The article doesn’t say, but the suit was undoubtedly brought by the trustee in bankruptcy. It’s the trustee’s job to gather as much money as possible for the “bankrupt’s estate” for distribution to the creditors. To do that, the trustee pesters other people and firms who owe the bankrupt company money; the trustee has the power to sue to recover that money if necessary, even against a corporate parent — or a shareholder.

As Tom Petters and Denny Heckert are finding out.

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