In Re Piper Aircraft

58 F.3d 1573 (1995)


D filed Chapter 11 with a hope of finding a buyer. D and Pilatus Aircraft Limited signed a letter of intent pursuant to which Pilatus would purchase D's assets. The letter required D to seek the appointment of a legal representative to represent the interests of future claimants by arranging a set-aside of monies generated by the sale to pay off future product liability claims. The bankruptcy court appointed P as the legal representative for the Future Claimants. The Court defined the class as: All persons, whether known or unknown, born or unborn, who may, after the date of confirmation of Piper's Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, assert a claim or claims for personal injury, property damages, wrongful death, damages, contribution and/or indemnification, based in whole or in part upon events occurring or arising after the Confirmation Date, including claims based on the law of product liability, against Piper or its successor arising out of or relating to aircraft or parts manufactured and sold, designed, distributed or supported by Piper prior to the Confirmation Date. P then filed a proof of claim in an amount of $100 million. P based the amount on statistical assumptions. D objected in that the Future Claimants do not hold § 101(5) claims against D. The bankruptcy court agreed with D. P appealed and the district court affirmed and accepted the decision of the bankruptcy court. P appealed challenging the prepetition relationship test to define the scope of a claim under § 101(5). P claims that the prepetition relationship test, by requiring identifiability of claimants, eliminates the words 'contingent,' 'unmatured,' 'unliquidated,' and 'disputed' from the statute. P argues that the relevant conduct giving rise to the alleged liability was D's prepetition manufacture, design, sale, and distribution of allegedly defective aircraft. Specifically, he contends that, because Piper performed these acts prepetition, the potential victims, although not yet identifiable, hold claims under § 101(5) of the Code.