Brazil: Encerramento De Contrato Na Recuperação Judicial

Last Updated: 5 February 2016
Article by Angela Paes De B. Di Franco and João Pedro Biazi

I. Introdução

O aprofundamento da crise da economia brasileira aumentou o interesse de empresários pela recuperação judicial. Com ela, o empresário pode remanejar suas dívidas com credores, determinando a prorrogação, modificação ou até mesmo redução das dívidas da empresa.

É sensível o crescimento recente do número de empresas que têm usado o instrumento. Segundo os dados mais recentes do indicador Serasa Experian de Falências e Recuperações, o número de pedidos de recuperação judicial feitos no ano passado cresceu 55,4% em comparação a 2014.

Tal aumento trouxe novamente à tona discussão já muito conhecida: a validade das cláusulas que fazem da recuperação judicial causa de resolução contratual.

Este artigo trata disso. Em um primeiro momento, daremos panorama da estrutura das cláusulas resolutivas que tomam a recuperação judicial causa da resolução. Em seguida, será feito um diagnóstico de como os tribunais brasileiros analisam a validade desse tipo de disposição contratual. Ao final, será proposta uma resposta para a discussão.

II. A cláusula resolutiva e a recuperação judicial

O Código Civil disciplina a cláusula resolutiva expressa no art. 474, dando-lhe eficácia para resolução "de pleno direito" do negócio jurídico. A cláusula resolutiva expressa não reclama requisitos de validade próprios, bastando o respeito aos requisitos de validade comuns a todos os negócios elencados no art. 104 do código.

Nos contratos entre empresas, é comum a presença de cláusulas destinadas a extinguir o contrato se uma das contratantes recorrer à recuperação. Esse tipo de cláusula resolutiva protege a empresa solvente, que não precisa dar continuidade a um contrato com aquela que admitiu ter dificuldades em cumprir suas obrigações. O efeito da cláusula se limita, claro, à extinção do contrato em relação a prestações futuras à recuperação. As já incorridas na vigência contratual se sujeitam à recuperação, indubitavelmente.

Embora comum, a utilização da cláusula levantou dúvidas se tal disposição contratual é ou não válida. A pergunta que se coloca é: a empresa que experimenta a recuperação não deveria ter direito, em tese, à manutenção de todos os contratos anteriores à recuperação judicial?

A imposição desse requisito de validade à cláusula resolutiva não viria do Código Civil, mas sim da leitura do art. 49, §2º da Lei nº 11.101, de 9 de fevereiro de 2005 (Lei de Falências e Recuperação Judicial). De acordo com tal dispositivo, as obrigações anteriores à recuperação devem manter os termos contratados, salvo se o plano de recuperação impuser alguma modificação.

A polêmica se dá a partir do raciocínio de que somente o plano de recuperação pode modificar a relação contratual. Por este argumento, seria indevida a aplicação da cláusula resolutiva, já que ela extinguiria o contrato antes que o plano pudesse considerar se deveria ou não fazê-lo.

Por outro lado, o art. 49, §2º da mesma lei não impõe proibição expressa à cláusula resolutiva, o que justifica também a tese de que deve prevalecer a liberdade das partes em pactuar cláusula que extingue a relação obrigacional na ocorrência de recuperação judicial.

III. A validade da cláusula resolutiva por recuperação judicial frente ao judiciário brasileiro

Em face da discussão em torno da validade da cláusula resolutiva por recuperação, o Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de São Paulo (TJ-SP) apresenta julgados a favor e contra. Na mesma esteira caminham outros tribunais estaduais.

Nos julgados que afirmam a validade da cláusula, argumenta-se que a Lei nº 11.101/05 não proíbe expressamente tal disposição contratual. O direito falimentar, como capítulo do direito comercial, teria normas contratuais de natureza supletiva da vontade dos contratantes. Nesse sentido, seus preceitos sobre obrigações contratuais só se aplicam se as partes não convencionaram de forma diversa.

Nos julgados que decidem pela nulidade da cláusula, encontra-se o argumento de que a proibição estaria expressa na redação do já citado art. 49, §2º da Lei nº 11.101/05, norma que as partes não podem afastar ainda que o queiram. Além desse argumento, os julgados também citam que o "princípio da preservação da empresa" geraria a invalidade da cláusula, tendo em vista que a resolução do contrato, a depender do caso, pode comprometer a continuidade do exercício da atividade comercial pela empresa em crise.

O Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ) ainda não tem posicionamento sobre a questão, notadamente por falta de provocações capazes de alcançar sua competência. Entretanto, em decorrência do aumento das recuperações judiciais no país, em breve o STJ deve ser convocado a se posicionar.

IV. Análise dos argumentos

Feita essa breve exposição de como se compõem os argumentos, entendemos ser válida a cláusula.

A rigor, não há qualquer requisito de validade imposto pelo art. 49, §2º nem proibição da resolução dos negócios jurídicos por meio da recuperação judicial. Os ajustes promovidos pelo plano de recuperação se destinam a promover reduções e/ou alongamento dos créditos então devidos pela empresa em recuperação, e não impor a manutenção do negócio de trato continuado cujas prestações ainda sejam devidas por ambas as partes, desde que existente disposição contratual prevendo o contrário.

O argumento em torno do princípio da preservação da empresa também não é suficiente para impor nulidade à cláusula resolutiva. A ponderação sugerida nos julgados parece meramente buscar justificativas para a superioridade inquestionável do princípio da preservação da empresa, desconsiderando os conflitos que possa ter com outros princípios igualmente importantes.

Tal interpretação seria inclusive conflitante com a própria sistemática da Lei nº 11.101/05, na medida em que esta demanda o equilíbrio entre os interesses dos credores e a manutenção da posição que a devedora ocupa na relação da cadeia econômica.

Portanto, negar validade à cláusula, além de afrontar a liberdade contratual, subordina os credores aos interesses da empresa insolvente, cabendo somente a ela decidir quando lhe convém dar continuidade à relação obrigacional. Não é essa a sistemática proposta pela legislação brasileira.

V. Conclusão

Parecem mais acertadas as recentes decisões do TJ-SP entendendo como válidas as cláusulas que resolvem o contrato quando uma das partes pede recuperação judicial.

A justificativa para esse posicionamento encontra-se não somente na liberdade contratual, em vista da ausência de qualquer proibição legal da cláusula, como também na própria lógica da Lei de Falências e Recuperação.

Frente à constante tensão entre tutela do crédito e preservação da empresa, visão correta é que a lei ampara o pactuado entre as partes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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