Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights

The various aspects of a creditors' rights practice present a unique mixture of business, financial, legal, and human relations problems. Robinson+Cole has worked extensively with a broad spectrum of leading lending institutions, companies, and investors in need of specialized debtor/creditor relations counsel on a wide variety of sophisticated transactional and litigation matters. Our group has extensive experience pursuing claims-whether arising from a default of normal contractual payment obligations, declining collateral value, or other external factors.

We routinely work with our clients to evaluate current creditworthiness and to counsel them on their rights and remedies under contract documents and applicable law. Likewise, the firm's ability to identify weaknesses in contract documents, servicing history, or collateral positions, in tandem with counseling clients regarding these issues, facilitates the appropriate decisions in an effective and timely fashion and may enhance a client's ability to correct or adjust these issues early in a collection process.

PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS

To understand the full extent of a client's rights and remedies in the event of a default, the group's lawyers work with the client in undertaking a detailed analysis of the contract documentation. This review process includes an analysis of original contract, loan, and mortgage documentation, including original due diligence materials, amendments, modifications, waivers, and consents; a review of current financial statements and other reporting documentation; and an analysis of changes in participants, agents, and co-lenders.

It is important to identify and confirm the provisions dealing with defaults and remedies. Our creditors' rights lawyers also analyze the nature and extent of collateral, securing the underlying obligation and the client's rights regarding the collateral.

OUT-OF-COURT RESTRUCTURING AND WORKOUTS

After completing the preliminary analysis, our creditors' rights lawyers have extensive experience negotiating consensual modifications or settlements prior to or shortly after commencing state law enforcement actions. Successfully negotiating with a debtor in this environment is dependent on identifying a clear exit strategy and setting realistic goals to effectuate the strategy.

FORECLOSURE

Consensual arrangements are not always possible. Our group has a wide variety of foreclosure experience in state courts. We have experience in large commercial and industrial foreclosures and volume commercial multifamily housing foreclosures. Typically, the firm handles the prime or lead lender, but we also have significant experience representing secondary lenders on large projects. Our litigation lawyers, who handle these matters, work with our bankruptcy and workout professionals, as these disciplines often intersect at some point during the process.

BANKRUPTCY

Robinson+Cole represents various creditor constituencies, including secured and unsecured creditors, critical vendors, equity security holders, and trustees in all aspects of commercial bankruptcy cases. Our experience encompasses analyzing and challenging first-day filings, including cash collateral and DIP financing issues, retention and bonus motions, critical vendor payments, and proposed asset sales through Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. The group also has extensive experience in the development and negotiation of consensual and contested plans of reorganization and liquidation, including out-of-court and prepackaged plans.

DEBTOR/CREDITOR LITIGATION

Because the restructuring and liquidation process can be contentious, with diverse constituencies competing for limited assets, clients benefit from our substantial litigation experience in state and federal court, including bankruptcy proceedings. Our experience includes guaranty enforcement actions, preliminary injunctions, lender liability litigation, bankruptcy preference and fraudulent transfer proceedings, claim and cure objections, subordination actions, and other avoidance claims. We also have provided representation on matters arising from loan participations, intercreditor agreements, lender conduct, executory contracts, license and franchise agreements, distributorship agreements, and commitment letters.

PRE AND POSTJUDGMENT COLLECTION STRATEGIES

Establishing liability is only phase one of the overall effort. Preserving collection remedies against a guarantor or others personally liable through such mechanisms as prejudgment remedies of attachment and garnishment are just as important as postjudgment efforts, including discovery of assets and debtor examinations. The firm is well versed in advising clients on strategic initiatives at the front end to preserve and potentially freeze assets for collection availability after judgment.

    • Experience
      • Represented foreign liquidator of overseas banks in litigation to recover more than $140 million in U.S. assets seized by the New York superintendent of banks. To recover the seized funds for distribution in liquidation proceedings in Belgrade, we filed an ancillary proceeding under the United States Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The litigation included successful appeals to the District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Following remand, the litigation settled on advantageous terms. We defeated subsequent collateral attacks on the settlement in New York State Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.
      • Represented creditors in some of the largest bankruptcy cases throughout the United States, including Lehman Brothers, Chrysler, Lyondell Chemical, Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and US Airways I and II.
      • Represented financiers, who provided venture capital to a marketing company, in successfully moving to convert the marketing company’s bankruptcy case from a Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation and in foreclosing on collateral, including the debtor’s intellectual property. Representation included extensive discovery and briefing, culminating in a successful trial in the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.
      • Represented institutional lender in a multifaceted workout with affiliated borrowers involving several real estate assets and equipment, culminating in a heavily negotiated forbearance agreement, pursuant to which our client received full repayment of the indebtedness.
    • News
      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • July 21, 2016

        Steve Boyajian Quoted in 'Buyer Beware' Article in Law360

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      • June 9, 2016

        Hartford Lawyers Publish Article in ABI Journal

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      • March 4, 2016

        Steve Boyajian Examines Series LLCs in ABI Journal Article

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      • January 21, 2016

        Patrick Birney Writes Article on Make-Whole Premiums for Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice

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      • October 29, 2015

        Providence Lawyer Speaks at RIBA's Annual Recent Developments in the Law Conference

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      • August 18, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

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      • March 9, 2015

        Steven Boyajian Writes ABI Journal Article on Federal Debt Collection Laws

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      • April 25, 2014

        Steven Boyajian Authors Article for American Bankruptcy Institute Journal

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      • October 21, 2013

        Super Lawyers® Names 61 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2013 List

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      • August 30, 2013

        Patrick Birney Elected to Hartford County Bar Association’s Board of Directors

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • May 14, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Welcomes Twelve New Attorneys in Five Offices Expanding its Presence across the Northeast

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      • August 12, 2010

        Providence Business News Names Dana Horton As “40 Under Forty” Recipient

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      • February 2, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Elected to Board of Directors of Turnaround Management Association’s Connecticut Chapter

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "Unharnessing the Governmental-Unit Stay Exception: SEC v. Miller," co-authored by Patrick M. Birney and Andrew A. DePeau (May 2016)
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      "Series LLCs: Can a Series File for Bankruptcy, and What if It Does?" published in American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, authored by Steven J. Boyajian (March 2016)
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      "Perfecting Security Interests in a Debtor's Insurance Policy," published in American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, authored by Patrick M. Birney (April 2015)

      "Commercial Lending and Regulatory Compliance: What Lenders Need to Know," presented by Norman H. Roos, webinar through Lorman® Education Services (1/17/2012)

      "What Every Litigator and General Practitioner Should Know About Bankruptcy Law and Procedure in These Turbulent Economic Times," at Fairfield County Bar Association program (2/2009)

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