In In re 1141 Realty Owner LLC, et al. , No. 18-12341 (SMB), 2019 WL 1270818 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. March 18, 2019), Bankruptcy Judge Stuart M. Bernstein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York reaffirmed that upon sufficient contractual language, “make whole” prepayment premiums are enforceable under New York law even after loan acceleration. The court emphasized that the language of the contract provided for such a result and that this was an enforceable liquidated damages clause under New York law.
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Bond indentures and loan agreements often include make-whole provisions to provide protection to lenders and investors in the event of debt repayment prior to maturity. Make-whole provisions work to compensate the investor/lender for any future interest lost when the issuer/borrower repays the note prior to a specific date.

The make-whole premium is based on a present value calculation that discounts the payments that would have been received had the debt not been repaid, and is intended to make the investor/lender whole for the payments remaining on the bond/note. A recent Third Circuit decision suggests that the way make-whole provisions are drafted in debt instruments can be crucial in determining the applicability and enforceability of make-whole premiums.


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