The case of the day is Kumkang Valve Manufacturing Co. v. Enterprise Products Operating LLC (Tex. Ct. App. 2014). Enterprise purchased 1,000 high-pressure valuves from Kumkang, a Korean firm, for use in its gas-processing plants in Colorado and Wyoming. The valves failed, and Enterprise paid $11 million to replace them. Enterprise sued Kumkang in 2007 for breach of warranty in the Texas state court. In 2009, while the case was pending, Kumkang sought protection under Korean bankruptcy law, and it then filed a Chapter 15 petition in a bankruptcy court in the Southern District of Texas seeking recognition of the Korean main proceeding. The bankruptcy court recognized the Korean proceeding, which had the effect of staying the Texas litigation.
Enterprise did not appear in the Korean bankruptcy case, and it was not included on the list of creditors in the Korean proceeding, or mentioned in the plan of reorganization the Korean court approved. Kumkang did not inform the US bankruptcy court of the approval of the plan in Korea, and Kumkang’s US lawyer informed the US bankruptcy court that he had been unable to communicate with his client and had no information about the status of the Korean proceedings. The US bankruptcy court, after providing a final opportunity for the US lawyer to obtain information from his client, dismissed the Chapter 15 case and lifted the stay.
In the main case, the parties stipulated that Enterprise had suffered $11 million in damages due to breach of express warranty and breach of the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and Kumkang moved for summary judgment on the affirmative defense of discharge in bankruptcy. Enterprise cross-moved for summary judgment. The trial court gave judgment for Enterprise, and Kumkang appealed.