Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy


Our attorneys advise and represent clients in workout negotiations, default and foreclosure and actions in state courts and in contested matters and adversary proceedings arising under Chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Typical clients include secured creditors, trade vendors and other unsecured creditors, landlords, insurance companies, equipment lessors, creditors' committees, indenture trustees, liquidating trustees, and preference and fraudulent conveyance defendants. Members of the Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group regularly partner with members of other Stites & Harbison practice groups like Environmental and Natural Resources, Intellectual Property, Construction, Real Estate and Banking, and Health Care, to negotiate and litigate complex issues in United States Bankruptcy Courts from coast to coast.

Our Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group attorneys regularly:

  • Negotiate complex Chapter 11 reorganization plans
  • Participate in stay litigation
  • Negotiate and litigate secured creditor priority disputes
  • Assist clients in filing involuntary cases
  • Defend preference and fraudulent conveyance claims
  • Prosecute bankruptcy appeals
  • Negotiate and document the purchase of assets from debtors' estates
  • Represent landlords and intellectual property owners in connection with motions for assumption or rejection of leases and license agreements
  • Defend lender liability claims

Our practical experience in workout negotiations and bankruptcy proceedings in a broad range of industries gives us the background to prepare both pleadings and transaction documents that may best survive the "acid test" of hostile bankruptcy filings. We regularly advise both companies and lenders as to the creative possibilities of, and the dangers inherent in, bankruptcy filings and reorganizations.

Recent and Current Engagements:

  • Represented a senior secured creditor in workout and subsequent Chapter 11 of ice-cream manufacturer Dippin' Dots, Inc., resulting in a successful 363 sale.
  • Represented the D-I-P lender and secured creditor in a regional clothing retailer's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, resulting in a successful auction of the retailer's inventory and full recovery by the client.
  • Represent suppliers in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co. in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Represented a secured lender in a large not-for-profit bankruptcy.
  • Represent suppliers in General Motors, Chrysler bankruptcies, as well as numerous other automotive bankruptcies.
  • Represent a major secured creditor in a restaurant-chain Chapter 11.
  • Represent a hedge fund in the individual Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the guarantor.
  • Represented an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors In re Jockey's Guild, Inc.
  • Represented lenders and loan servicers in the foreclosure of apartment complexes, office buildings, hotels, and warehouses across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  • Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors looking for hidden assets in the bankruptcy of Kentucky's former Governor, Wallace Wilkinson.
  • Represented a major secured creditor in connection with the insolvencies of several nursing homes and assisted living centers.
  • Obtained stay relief in a bankruptcy case to pursue trademark infringement litigation in U.S. District Court.
  • Protected regional airport authorities' interest in several major airline bankruptcies, including Skybus, TWA, ANC, and Budget in Delaware; US Airways in Virginia; and United Airlines in Illinois.
  • Helped surety companies negotiate reorganization agreements and plans in coal company bankruptcies with debtors, creditors and regulatory authorities, providing for both continuing mine reclamation and reduction of the sureties' potential multi-million-dollar reclamation-bond liability.
  • Used post-petition financing to acquire state-of-the-art operating assets for a start-up production and broadcast client.
  • Defended and prosecuted fraudulent conveyance and voidable preference claims brought by bankruptcy trustees and debtors.
  • Represented multiple shopping center landlords during the reorganizations or liquidations of several national discount retailers,
  • Represented a consortium of secured creditors during the reorganization of a HUD- and HHS-financed non-profit public housing corporation.
  • Negotiated a secured creditor-driven liquidation of a convenience store chain.
  • Represented the agent bank in connection with a $100 million+ credit facility in a major agricultural (hog production) bankruptcy.

Attorneys in the Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group are active members of:

  • The American Bankruptcy Institute
  • The Commercial Law League of America
  • The Business Bankruptcy Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association
  • The Bankruptcy Law Sections of the Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama Bar Associations and the Louisville, Nashville, Fayette County, Atlanta Bar Associations
  • The International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWRC)
  • Two members of our group are designated as specialists in business bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification, and several are listed in The Best Lawyers in America®. Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Service Group attorneys practice regionally in the courts of Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, and regularly appear and represent regional clients' interests in bankruptcy courts from New York to California.
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Client Alerts

Secured Lenders Fail to Manage the Risk of “Springing Liens” at Their Peril

“Springing liens” are first priority statutory liens on property that spring into existence when certain obligations remain unpaid. Springing Liens can attach to real estate, for example, when the following obligations are not paid: taxes, condominium association dues, or claims for construction labor or materials.

by Elizabeth Lee Thompson July 29, 2021
Press Releases

Elizabeth Lee Thompson Appointed to NKU Board of Regents

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Governor Andy Beshear has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Elizabeth Lee Thompson as a member of the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) Board of Regents.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC July 13, 2021
Client Alerts

Timing is Everything: A Creditor’s Errant Conclusion as to an Executory Contract Leads to Claim Denial

Although the Bankruptcy Code does not define “executory contract,” the widely adopted definition explains it as a “contract under which the obligation of both the bankrupt and the other party to the contract are so far underperformed that the failure of either to complete performance would constitute a material breach excusing the performance of the other.” Bankruptcy Judge Martin Isgur of the Southern District of Texas, In re Cornerstone Valve, LLC, et al, Case No. 19-30869, recently held that a creditor’s failure to properly analyze its contract with the debtor resulted in its otherwise valid unsecured claim being untimely filed.

by Chrisandrea L. Turner May 07, 2021
Creditors' Sidebar

Keeping up with the Changing Landscape of the FDCPA

Due to foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, voluntary forbearances, or the influx of government stimulus, the anticipated wave of creditor actions as a result of the pandemic have been held at bay.

by Brian R. Pollock April 20, 2021
Client Alerts

I Mailed It . . . But Can I Prove It?

The U.S. Postal Service has seen increased demands on its services over the last year. In fact, the majority of us have had an experience with a piece of mail that took a little longer than expected to get to its destination.

by Brian R. Pollock and Chadwick A. McTighe January 28, 2021
Creditors' Sidebar

Automatic Stay Does Not Mean Debtors Get Their Cars Back Automatically

The Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the “mere retention of property does not violate § 362(a)(3)” of the automatic stay.

by Brian R. Pollock January 19, 2021

The Coronavirus and Beyond: Strategies for Creditors During Uncertain Economic Times

In this recorded webinar, Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy attorneys Elizabeth Lee Thompson, Brian M. Bennett, Chrisandrea L. Turner and John S. Wathen discuss the latest legal issues impacting businesses during these uncertain economic times.

by Elizabeth Lee Thompson, Brian M. Bennett, and Chrisandrea L. Turner November 13, 2020
Client Alerts

Finally: The CFPB Has Returned . . . to the Final Rule Implementing the FDCPA in the 21st Century

On Friday, October 30, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) issued a new, long-awaited final rule to bring the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) regulations into the 21st century. In announcing the change, the CFPB had the same idea as me: distinguishing the differences between pop culture and collection practices in 1977 and 2020.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 02, 2020