Today, Bankruptcy Judge Harlin Hale dismissed the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of the National Rifle Association of America, stating in part:
"The question the Court is faced with is whether the existential threat facing the NRA is the type of threat that the Bankruptcy Code is meant to protect against. The Court believes it is not. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds there is cause to dismiss this bankruptcy case as not having been filed in good faith both because it was filed to gain an unfair litigation advantage and because it was filed to avoid a state regulatory scheme. The Court further finds the appointment of a trustee or examiner would, at this time, not be in the best interests of creditors and the estate.
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There are several aspects of this case that still trouble the Court, including the manner and secrecy in which authority to file the case was obtained in the first place, the related lack of express disclosure of the intended Chapter 11 case to the board of directors and most of the elected officers, the ability of the debtor to pay its debts, and the primary legal problem of the debtor being a state regulatory action. The Court agrees with the NYAG that the NRA is using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem, not a financial one.
The Court finds that the NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith because this filing was not for a purpose intended or sanctioned by the Bankruptcy Code. Therefore, cause exists under section 1112(b) to dismiss this case, which the Court finds is in the best interests of creditors and the estate.
The Court is not dismissing this case with prejudice, but should the NRA file a new bankruptcy case, this Court would immediately take up some of its concerns about disclosure, transparency, secrecy, conflicts of interest of officers and litigation counsel, and the unusual involvement of litigation counsel in the affairs of the NRA, which could cause the appointment of a trustee out of a concern that the NRA could not fulfill the fiduciary duty required by the Bankruptcy Code for a debtor in possession."