The opinion of the court was delivered by: WHIPPLE
On March 24, 1981 the Court conducted a hearing on whether to approve the Plan pursuant to a Notice of Hearing dated January 13, 1981 directed to all creditors, shareholders, indentured trustees and other interested parties.
Upon a review of the record before this Court, as well as the record before the ICC, the Court has concluded that the Plan should be approved. In accordance with the dictates of Section 77(e) of the Bankruptcy Act, 11 U.S.C. § 204(e), this Opinion is issued to set forth the reasons for the Court's conclusion.
The Notice of Hearing directed that objections to the Plan be filed with the Court by March 17, 1981. Three objections were filed in accordance with the Notice, and counsel for two of the objecting parties were present at the hearing and stated their objections on the record. In summary the objections were as follows:
1. The Railway Labor Executives' Association ("RLEA") objected because of the absence of labor protective provisions in the Plan;
2. The New Jersey Department of the Treasury objected basically because of the distinction between classes 2 and 3 in the Plan, and for other reasons relating to definitions within the Plan; and
3. A former employee of the debtor, Harry Downing, submitted a letter to the Court complaining that a release he gave the Trustee was the product of duress and harassment. Mr. Downing did not appear at the hearing.
The Court finds as follows with respect to the objections:
1. RLEA's objection has previously been rejected by this Court in an Opinion dated November 28, 1980, which is presently the subject of an appeal before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. No reason has been presented which would militate in favor of any modification of the November 28, 1980 decision.
2. The New Jersey Department of the Treasury's objections have been dealt with by the I.C.C. in its decision and Order. I find the I.C.C.'s treatment of those objections by the State to be valid and correct.
3. Mr. Downing's objection does not relate to any of the criteria which guides this Court in its decision whether to approve the Plan and accordingly need be addressed no further in this context.
Turning next to a consideration of the statutory criteria governing this Court's Ruling on the Plan, it must be noted that pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 8-304, this Court is to render a decision based primarily on the record before the I.C.C. The Advisory Committee's Note to Rule 8-304 suggests:
Approval of the Plan by the Court involves review of the Commission's factual findings and legal conclusions . . . . A de novo hearing before the Court is not contemplated. However, evidence relating to changed circumstances and compensation and reimbursement for necessary expenses within ...