Oct. 26, 2000, D.C. Law 13-201, § 101, 47 DCR 7576.)
This section is referenced in
§ 28:9-326, § 28:9-506, and § 28:9-507. Uniform Commercial Code Comment
1. Source. New.
2. The Problem. Section 9-203(d) and (e) and this section deal with situations where one party (the “new debtor”) becomes bound as debtor by a security agreement entered into by another person (the “original debtor”). These situations often arise as a consequence of changes in business structure. For example, the original debtor may be an individual debtor who operates a business as a sole proprietorship and then incorporates it. Or, the original debtor may be a corporation that is merged into another corporation. Under both former Article 9 and this Article, collateral that is transferred in the course of the incorporation or merger normally would remain subject to a perfected security interest. See Sections 9-315(a), 9-507(a). Former Article 9 was less clear with respect to whether an after-acquired property clause in a security agreement signed by the original debtor would be effective to create a security interest in property acquired by the new corporation or the merger survivor and, if so, whether a financing statement filed against the original debtor would be effective to perfect the security interest. This section and Sections 9-203(d) and (e) are a clarification.
3. How New Debtor Becomes Bound. Normally, a security interest is unenforceable unless the debtor has authenticated a security agreement describing the collateral. See Section 9-203(b). New Section 9-203(e) creates an exception, under which a security agreement entered into by one person is effective with respect to the property of another. This exception comes into play if a “new debtor” becomes bound as debtor by a security agreement entered into by another person (the “original debtor”). (The quoted terms are defined in Section 9-102.) If a new debtor does become bound, then the security agreement entered into by the original debtor satisfies the security-agreement requirement of Section 9-203(b)(3) as to existing or after-acquired property of the new debtor to the extent the property is described in the security agreement. In that case, no other agreement is necessary to make a security interest enforceable in that property. See Section 9-203(e).
Section 9-203(d) explains when a new debtor becomes bound by an original debtor’s security agreement. Under Section 9-203(d)(1), a new debtor becomes bound as debtor if, by contract or operation of other law, the security agreement becomes effective to create a security interest in the new debtor’s property. For example, if the applicable corporate law of mergers provides that when A Corp merges into B Corp, B Corp becomes a debtor under A Corp’s security agreement, then B Corp would become bound as debtor following such a merger. Similarly, B Corp would become bound as debtor if B Corp contractually assumes A’s obligations under the security agreement.
Under certain circumstances, a new debtor becomes bound for purposes of this Article even though it would not be bound under other law. Under Section 9-203(d)(2), a new debtor becomes bound when, by contract or operation of other law, it (i) becomes obligated not only for the secured obligation but also generally for the obligations of the original debtor and (ii) acquires or succeeds to substantially all the assets of the original debtor. For example, some corporate laws provide that, when two corporations merge, the surviving corporation succeeds to the assets of its merger partner and “has all liabilities” of both corporations. In the case where, for example, A Corp merges into B Corp (and A Corp ceases to exist), some people have questioned whether A Corp’s grant of a security interest in its existing and after-acquired property becomes a “liability” of B Corp, such that B Corp’s existing and after-acquired property becomes subject to a security interest in favor of A Corp’s lender. Even if corporate law were to give a negative answer, under Section 9-203(d)(2), B Corp would become bound for purposes of Section 9-203(e) and this section. The “substantially all of the assets” requirement of Section 9-203(d)(2) excludes sureties and other secondary obligors as well as persons who become obligated through veil piercing and other non-successorship doctrines. In most cases, it will exclude successors to the assets and liabilities of a division of a debtor.
4. When Financing Statement Effective Against New Debtor. Subsection (a) provides that a filing against the original debtor generally is effective to perfect a security interest in collateral that a new debtor has at the time it becomes bound by the original debtor’s security agreement and collateral that it acquires after the new debtor becomes bound. Under subsection (b), however, if the filing against the original debtor is seriously misleading as to the new debtor’s name, the filing is effective as to collateral acquired by the new debtor more than four months after the new debtor becomes bound only if a person files during the four-month period an initial financing statement providing the name of the new debtor. Compare Section 9-507(c) (four-month period of effectiveness with respect to collateral acquired by a debtor after the debtor changes its name). Moreover, if the original debtor and the new debtor are located in different jurisdictions, a filing against the original debtor would not be effective to perfect a security interest in collateral that the new debtor acquires or has acquired from a person other than the original debtor. See Example 5, Section 9-316, Comment 2.
5. Transferred Collateral. This section does not apply to collateral transferred by the original debtor to a new debtor. See subsection (c). Under those circumstances, the filing against the original debtor continues to be effective until it lapses or perfection is lost for another reason. See Sections 9-316, 9-507(a).
6. Priority. Section 9-326 governs the priority contest between a secured creditor of the original debtor and a secured creditor of the new debtor.