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Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditors' Rights

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In the past decade, Irell & Manella LLP’s practice has grown to encompass major corporate reorganizations and creditors’ rights matters in numerous industries.  Our bankruptcy, reorganization and creditors' rights practice group now includes more than 20 professional and paraprofessional members and is one of the largest in the state of California.

Our bankruptcy attorneys represent troubled companies as well as creditors and creditors’ and equity committees in developing and implementing formal and informal workouts, plans of reorganization, exchange offers, and other transactions and strategies, both inside and outside of bankruptcy.  The firm also has a nationally preeminent practice in the field of bankruptcy tax.  

Our bankruptcy group was recently named a 2014 recipient of the "Restructuring Deal of the Year Award" and was honored at the M&A Advisors Turnaround Awards for our successful representation of the Official Creditors' Committee in American Suzuki Motor Corporation's Chapter 11 proceedings.  Our successful representation of William Lyon Homes was recognized in a special report by Turnarounds & Workouts highlighting "2012 Successful Restructurings."  

Members of our reorganization team pride themselves in orchestrating successfully out of court workouts and reorganizations wherever possible and practicable.  While we cannot share all of our out of court accomplishments, our team has been involved in many public matters.  These representations include debt and equity offerings, workouts, take out financings, restructurings, exchange offers, going private transactions, reverse mergers, debenture and preferred stock restructurings, substantial senior and subordinated debt restructurings, and leveraged lease restructurings in connection with matters involving First Hawaiian Bank, Charter Communications, Cellnet, Covad Communications, Dollar Financial Group, Sorrento Networks, BDK Holdings, Overhill Farms, Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc., and Cirrus Logic both for investors and the companies themselves.     

In addition, we represented a large publicly held developer of active senior real estate projects in connection with its bankruptcy proceedings and provided legal representation to the debtor in the Wickes, Apex Oil, Barry’s Jewelers, First Alliance Mortgage Company, and eToys matters.  Our bankruptcy attorneys also have represented the debtor or bankruptcy trustees in the Aramid, William Lyon Homes, Imperial Credit Industries, EMAK International, Ponderosa Steakhouses, Bonanza Restaurants, Prandium, Rapid Payroll, Tecstar Power Systems, Clothestime, L.J. Hooker, Pioneer Chicken, Guardian Real Estate Fund, International Paging, G A C Corporation, California Psychiatric Management Services, Direct American Marketers, Baldwin Builders, Bramalea California, Alicante Management, Medieval Times, IntelliSec, Black Hawk Casino by Hyatt, Mr. Rags (“Lux”), Chi-Chi’s, Inc., Koo Koo Roo, and Hamburger Hamlet, among others.

Our firm has represented many creditors’ committees, including a bondholders’ committee whose members held more than $400 million of largely unsecured indebtedness, and the official committee of franchisees in a major bankruptcy of a large restaurant chain.  The insolvency group also has represented or currently represents creditor and bondholder committees in the American Suzuki Motor Corporation, Momentive, Delta Entertainment, Alert Cellular, Accuride Corporation, SunCal, Chevys, Inc., Spectrum Restaurant Group (Tutto Mare, Prego, National Sports Grill, Grandy’s, Spoons), Edwards’ Theatres, Leap Wireless International, Inc., JPS Textile Group, Resorts International, Papercraft Corp., Centis, Universal Broadband, Computer Aided Systems, W.R. Carpenter, Casmyn Corp., Winston Tire, House2Home, Sydran Services, LLC (225 restaurant Burger King franchisee), and Composite Technology Corporation bankruptcy cases.  In addition, members of this practice group have represented creditors’ committees in the Vagabond Hotels, TFI Building Materials and Motiv Sports bankruptcy cases, and individual creditors serving on committees in many other proceedings.

The group also has significant experience in the representation of creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.  Members of the firm have represented creditors or investment bankers in many bankruptcy cases, including the Galleria USA, Lake Las Vegas, Werner Holdings, SeraCare, Net-tel Corporation, Regal Cinemas, Lynx Golf, Medpartners, Newport Assisted Living, Del Taco, K-Mart, Garden Alameda, Mariner Post-Acute Network, Sunworld, FPA Healthcare, Montgomery Ward, Crow Winthrop Operating Partnership, Edison Stores, Desert Flower Investments, Knudsen, Daniel Russell, Huntington Terrace, Hassen Real Estate Partnership, Spalding and Pillowtex bankruptcy cases.  In another matter, we represented an international consortium of unsecured bank lenders in a $1.5 billion workout for the wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of a major Canadian real estate developer.

The group’s expertise in bankruptcy litigation is nationally renowned, and its members are frequently called upon to represent the debtor in “bet the company” proceedings.  The group often represents companies targeted by the debtor or bankruptcy estate in complex matters.  These litigation matters have involved claims of lender liability, avoiding action claims, breach of fiduciary duty, licensing, and intellectual property issues, and have addressed issues involving contract, corporate, real property, tax, labor, and numerous other areas of the law.  The firm has secured an impressive number of judgments and extremely favorable settlements in such actions.  Recent bankruptcy litigation matters include the successful assertion of lender liability and other litigation claims in the Lake Las Vegas, Imperial Credit, Nimitz Partners, Med Diversified, Inc., and ASD LLC bankruptcy cases.  

In addition, given our national reputation in bankruptcy tax, the firm is frequently hired as special tax counsel to remove what may sometimes be the greatest challenge to a successful reorganization — tax claims by the government.  For example, a multidisciplinary team of Irell & Manella attorneys defeated the Internal Revenue Service’s claim against Storage Technology Corporation, the second largest employer in the state of Colorado, allowing it to emerge from bankruptcy with the IRS receiving less than five percent of its original claim.  The firm also has served as special tax and corporate counsel in the Circuit City, Golden Books, Hechinger, L.A. Gear, and World Bazaar bankruptcy cases.

The firm has substantial experience in representing entities who have acquired businesses and assets of financially distressed companies, as well as claims held by creditors of such entities.  The firm has also been involved in proceedings arising out of the seizures of large troubled insurance companies by the California Commissioner of Insurance.  Most recently, we represented telecommunication and wireless device company Research In Motion as part of a consortium that purchased patents being sold in a bankruptcy auction of the assets of Nortel Networks and its worldwide affiliated debtors in bankruptcy for a total of $4.5 billion, and RealD in the acquisition of a patent portfolio in the Digital Domain bankruptcy case.  We also represented Altus Finance, a French company, before a court-ordered conservator in the company’s successful $3.55 billion bid to acquire the securities portfolio and insurance operations of Executive Life Insurance Co., one of the largest U.S. insurers ever to fail.  We also represented the court-appointed examiner in the Chapter 11 proceedings of the parent of First Capital Life Insurance Co. and assisted in the investigation and preparation of a 300-page report exploring various claims against the parties involved.

The hallmark of any firm is its attorneys, and the attorneys in this group are nationally known for their lawyering and intellectual abilities.  The group’s attorneys have been recognized by Chambers International, U.S. News & World Report, Who's Who in American Law, the American College of Bankruptcy, Best Lawyers and  Super Lawyers, and received many other peer-based awards and professional acknowledgments. In addition, our group's attorneys have authored leading bankruptcy treatises, such as Colliers on Bankruptcy, Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice, and Bankruptcy Litigation; have written dozens of articles in the field; and actively lecture at conferences, both nationally and internationally.  Our attorneys are recognized for their astute business skills, creativity, and, where appropriate, aggressiveness.  A marked advantage of the group is its ability to draw upon the firm’s considerable resources in areas of law other than those heretofore referenced, notably, transactional, real estate, and high technology/intellectual property, to provide an efficient and integrated team of experts committed to achieving outstanding results for the client.