Section 544 of the Bankruptcy Code, commonly referred to as the “strong arm” clause, gives the bankruptcy trustee the rights of a secured creditor. This allows the trustee to avoid for the benefit of the debtor’s creditors transfers or obligations that could have been avoided by an unsecured creditor under nonbankruptcy law, provided such creditor exists. Generally, this allows the trustee to avoid unperfected liens and fraudulent transfers.
Section 544 of the Bankruptcy Code sets out the strong arm clause in full. Section 544 provides in relevant part that “[t]he trustee shall have, as of the commencement of the case, and without regard to any knowledge of the trustee or of any creditor, the rights and powers of, or may avoid any transfer of property of the debtor or any obligation incurred by the debtor” that could have been avoided by certain judicial lien holders or bona fide purchasers. The Bankruptcy Code can be confusing and intimidating to some. An experienced San Jose bankruptcy lawyer can help creditors understand their rights, options and risks not only with the “strong arm” clause, but the entire Bankruptcy Code.
What Claims Can Be Avoided?