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Overview

Jim is the Managing Partner of the Louisville office and Chair of the Bankruptcy/Restructuring Practice Group. He focuses his practice on bankruptcy matters and creditors’ rights, as well as commercial litigation. Jim has experience representing debtors, creditors, committees, trustees and interested third parties in Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, in addition to representing creditors in foreclosure proceedings and other litigation. Jim has also practiced commercial litigation with a broad range of experience in state and federal courts and before the American Arbitration Association.

Jim was the recipient of the Chicago Bar Association’s Exceptional Young Lawyer Award in 2013. His experience with matters of juvenile justice through his pro bono work has led to opportunities to teach CLEs and edit publications on the subject for the American Bar Association.

Career Highlights

Representative Cases and Achievements

Debtor Representations

  • In re Xcelerated, LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 17-20886-grs, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Currently represent consumer marketing data company with approximately $3 M in debt in chapter 11 case, where debtor is seeking to sell business as a going-concern.
  • In re Advanced TENORM Services L.L.C., et al., Chapter 7 Case No. 17-10080-grs, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Currently represent two small businesses and an individual that were facing large significant litigation and environmental claims as chapter 7 debtors.
  • In re Monroe Hospital, LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 14-07417-JMC, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Represented hospital with over $135 M in debt in chapter 11 bankruptcy case, where hospital’s assets were sold under section 363 of the bankruptcy code and a liquidating plan was confirmed in just over six month after commencement of bankruptcy case.  Currently representing post-confirmation trust to pursue estate causes of action and make distributions to unsecured creditors.
  • In re Equine Oxygen Therapy Resources, Inc. et al., Chapter 7 Case No. 14-51611-GRS, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Represented two small businesses that manufactured medical devises for horses, and that were facing large significant litigation, as chapter 7 debtors.
  • In re Velti, Inc., et al., Chapter 11 Case No. 13-12878 (PJW), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented internet companies with over $60 M in debt in jointly administered chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, where company’s assets were sold under section 363 of the bankruptcy code and a liquidating plan was confirmed.
  • In re Mercantile Bancorp, Inc., Chapter 11 Case No. 13-11634 (KJC), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented bank holding company with nearly $62 M in debt in chapter 11 bankruptcy case, where company’s shares of bank were sold under section 363 of the bankruptcy code and a liquidating plan was confirmed.
  • In re Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp., et al., Lead Chapter 11 Case No. 13-11565 (CSS), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented companies that owned and operated 91 hardware stores in California and Oregon and owed over $220 M in debt in jointly administered chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.  Companies’ stores were sold via two separate sales under section 363 of the bankruptcy code, with the majority of stores sold as a going concern to a competitor and a minority of stores sold to a liquidator.  Following the sales a liquidating plan was confirmed.
  • In re Trident Microsystems, Inc., et al., Lead Chapter 11 Case No. 12-10069 (CSS), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented technology companies with over $215 M in debt in jointly administered chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.    Companies’ assets were sold via multiple sales under section 363 of the bankruptcy code and a liquidating plan was confirmed which provided a 100% recovery to many unsecured creditors and a distribution to some equity security holders.
  • In re PJ Finance Company, LLC, et al., Lead Chapter 11 Case No. 11-10688 (BLS), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented companies that owned and operated 32 apartment complexes located throughout the country, which owed nearly $480 M in debt in jointly administered chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.    Companies’ assets were sold via a sale under section 363 of the bankruptcy code and a liquidating plan was confirmed.

Committee Representations

  • In re hhgregg, Inc., et al., Chapter 11 Case No. 17-01302-RLM-11, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Currently co-counsel to unsecured creditors committee in case involving nationwide retail chain with over $200 M in debt.
  • In re Chieftain Steel, LLC et al., Chapter 11 Case No. 16-10407-JAL, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Represented creditors committee in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of two industrial companies with low 8 figures of debt.  Negotiated for terms in confirmed plan of reorganization that provided payment of administrative expense claims, guaranteed recovery to unsecured creditors, and additional payments to unsecured creditors if reorganized company performed well.
  • In re Fine Light, Inc. et al., Chapter 11 Case No. 16-01854-BHL-11, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Represented ad hoc committee of judgment creditors in successfully breaking-up proposed restructuring seemingly for the benefit of insiders, and successfully advocated for conversion of case to chapter 7 proceeding and appointment of a trustee.
  • In re Fortress Resources, LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 15-70730-tnw, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Represented creditors’ committee in chapter 11 bankruptcy case of a coal company with approximately $30 M in debt.  Negotiated for the sale of the debtor’s mines and the assumption of environmental obligations by the buyer, and for the secured lender to leave behind $300k in cash and avoidance actions for the benefit of unsecured creditors.
  • In re Triple S Tire Co., Inc., Chapter 11 Case No. 15-00107-JMC, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Represented creditors’ committee in chapter 11 bankruptcy case of tire company with approximately $15 M in debt.  With committee support the company confirmed a plan of reorganization that will repay 100% of its unsecured debt over three years, with interest. 
  • In re Conco, Inc., Chapter 11 Case No. 12-34933-jal, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Represented creditors’ committee in chapter 11 bankruptcy case of defense contractor.  With committee support the company conformed a plan of reorganization that will partially satisfy unsecured debt.  Currently representing post-confirmation committee to ensure that creditors receive the benefit of their bargain in post-confirmation litigation, and have held motion to enforce plan granted by bankruptcy court and upheld by the District Court and Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • In re Grede Foundries, Inc., et al., Lead Chapter 11 Case No. 09-14337-rdm, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Represented creditors’ committee in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of affiliated companies that operated iron foundries that supplied the automotive industry and owed over $70 M in debt.  The companies sold substantially all of their assets under section 363 of the bankruptcy code and confirmed a plan of liquidation.

Asset Purchaser Representations

  • In re General Products Corp., Chapter 11 Case No. 16-49627, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Represented stalking horse purchase in successful acquisition of the debtor’s manufacturing facility via section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • In re Heyl & Patterson, Inc., Chapter 11 Case No. 16-21620-CMB, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Represented stalking horse purchase in successful acquisition of a division of the debtor’s company via section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • In re Prince Sports, Inc., et al., Chapter 11 Case No. 12-11439 (KJC), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented company that bought $65 M of secured debt of sports equipment companies with total debt of over $75 M.  With secured creditor’s support, filed a plan of reorganization on first day of the bankruptcy case that proposed to swap secured debt for equity in reorganized debtors.  The plan was confirmed less than three months after the commencement of the bankruptcy case.

Chapter 7 Trustee and Liquidating Trust Representations

  • In re Bullitt Utilities, Inc., Chapter 7 Case No. 15-34000-jal, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Currently represent chapter 7 trustee of for-profit sewer company with mid-seven figures of debt in litigation matters.  Had represented unsecured creditors who filed involuntary bankruptcy petition to commence chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
  • In re Licking River Mining, LLC, et al., Chapter 7 Case No. 14-10201-tnw, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Currently represent chapter 7 trustee of affiliated bankrupt coal companies in various matters, including, but not limited to pursuit of estate causes of action.
  • In re Revstone Industries, LLC, et al., Lead Chapter 11 Case No. 12-13262 (BLS), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Currently represent post-confirmation trust to pursue estate causes of action in three separate adversary proceedings pending before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  Have negotiated successful settlements with all but one defendant, and have obtained partial summary judgment against remaining defendant with trial to be scheduled as to final issues.
  • In re Larry Conrad Addington, Chapter 7 Case No. 12-10029-grs, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Currently represent chapter 7 trustee of bankrupt coal magnate in pursuit of estate causes of action.
  • In re The Clare at Water Tower, Chapter 11 Case No. 11-46151-tab, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented post-confirmation trust of bankrupt continuing care retirement community in connection with post-confirmation claim objections and administrative matters.

Secured Creditor Representations

  • In re ALT Hotel, LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 11-19401-abg, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented senior secured creditor with claim in the approximate amount of $70 M against debtor that operated a major hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  Initially represented secured creditor during multi-day contested confirmation hearing, and eventually in connection with confirmation of a plan of reorganization supported by the secured creditor.
  • In re MFJT, LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 11-11819-erw, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented senior secured creditor with claim in excess of $17 M against debtor that operated a two apartment complexes.  With secured creditor support, the debtor confirmed a plan of reorganization that restructured the secured debt.
  • In re Courtyard Apartments, LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 10-73219-mb, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented senior secured creditor with multi-million dollar claims against multiple debtors that operated apartment complexes.  Successfully objected to debtors’ use of secured creditor’s cash collateral and moved to modify the automatic stay so that secured creditor could proceed with foreclosure actions in state court.
  • In re Wilmington on Drexel LLC, Chapter 11 Case No. 10-20181-jhs, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented senior secured creditor with multi-million dollar claim against debtor that operated apartment complex.  Successfully moved to modify the automatic stay so that secured creditor could proceed with foreclosure actions in state court.

Representations of Defendants in Adversary Proceedings and As Creditors

  • In re UCI International, LLC et al., Lead Chapter 11 Case No. 16-11354-MFW United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented creditor with seven figure unsecured claim in successful negotiations to be named a critical vendor and to negotiate even better trade terms with the debtors than existed before the commencement of the bankruptcy cases.
  • In re Clemmens, Chapter 11 Case No. 15-32294-THF, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Represented petitioning creditors to commence involuntary chapter 11 bankruptcy case against putative debtor.  Negotiated successful end to the case via mediation which restructured putative debtor’s secured debt and satisfied claims of other petitioning creditors.
  • Kennedy v. Verizon Business Network Services Inc. (In re Trinity Coal Corp., et al.), Adv. No. 15-05012-tnw, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Represented defendant in preference and fraudulent transfer actions brought by chapter 7 trustee of bankrupt coal company.
  • Springer v. Pebbledell Limited (In re Ryan International Airlines, Inc., et al.), Adv. No. 14-96138-tml, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Represented defendant in preference action brought by chapter 7 trustee of bankrupt airline.
  • Knauer v. Madison Cattle et al. (In re Eastern Livestock Co., LLC), Adv. No. 12-59127-bhl, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Represented defendants in estate actions brought by chapter 7 trustee of bankrupt livestock company.
  • Lefkowitz v. XL Insurance America, Inc. (In re Gainey Corp., et al.), Adv. No. 10-80666-jwb, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan. Represented defendant in preference action brought by liquidating trustee of bankrupt trucking companies.
  • Siegel v. InnerWorkings, Inc. (In re Circuit City Stores, Inc., et al.), Adv. No. 10-80666-jwb, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Represented defendant in preference action brought by liquidating trustee of bankrupt electronics retailer.
  • Committee v. InnerWorkings, Inc. (In re American Home Mortgage Holdings, Inc., et al.), Adv. No. 09-51674 (CSS), United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Represented defendants in preference action brought by creditors committee.
  • Represented major accounting firm in arbitration proceeding where chapter 7 trustee of bankrupt payroll processing company pursued nine-figure malpractice claim.

Awards

  • Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award, Chicago Bar Association and Foundation, 2013
  • Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month, IllinoisProBono.org, 2011
  • Pro Bono Award, DLA Piper LLP (US), 2009

Affiliations

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Member, Kentucky Bar Association
  • Member, Louisville Bar Association

Former Employment

  • DLA Piper LLP (US), Associate, 2008-2014

Community Involvement

Civic and Charitable Involvement

  • Member of the Advisory Panel to the ABI Southeast Workshop, 2016-Present
  • Ruling Elder and member of session at 2nd Presbyterian Church, 2016-Present
  • ABI CARE Program volunteer, 2015-Present
  • Founding member of Young Professionals Board of Legal Aid Society of Louisville and active volunteer, 2014-Present
  • Founding member and co-chair from 2009-2012 of Young Professionals Board of Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide free legal aid to Chicago’s poor
  • Represented dozens of juveniles in criminal proceedings in Illinois state court. Highlights include: being part of a team that overturned a false conviction on appeal and prevailed at trial for a young man who had been wrongly imprisoned for nearly a decade; being part of a successful trial team that in two separate trials of a young man accused of committing high profile crimes, one of which was featured on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times; leading a successful trial team that represented a young man accused of violating Illinois’ firearms statute; and representing many juveniles to expunge their records.

Media

Contributions & Published Works

  • “Can Bankruptcy Clean This Up? The Circumstances When Assets May Actually Be Sold Free and Clear of Environmental Liabilities Under § 363 of the Bankruptcy Code,” co-authored by Gina Bettag, ABI Journal, August 2017
  • "EXCLUSIVE: Creditors seek to push troubled Bullitt Utilities into Chapter 7 bankruptcy," By David Serchuk, Louisville Business First, January 8, 2016
  • “In re Equipment Acquisition Resources, Inc.: Further Clarification Regarding the Defense to Fraudulent Transfers Available Under Section 550(b)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code,” ABI Commercial Fraud Newsletter, January 2016
  • “Best Practices for Creditors in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Cases,” co-authored by John W. Ames, Inside the Minds “Creditors’ Rights in Chapter 11 Cases” 2015 Edition
  • “Further Precedent Supporting the Retention of CROs,” The Bankruptcy Strategist, August 2014
  • Brief analysis of analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bellingham, co-authored by C.R. “Chip” Bowles, Jr., June 2014
  • Contributor, Business Practice 2011 Edition & 2013 Supplement, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2013
  • “Emerging Trends and Lingering Criticisms: A CRO Retention Update,” co-authored by Timothy W. Brink, ABI Journal, September 2013
  • “The Scylla of Twombly/Iqbal and the Charybdis of FRCP 15: The Challenges of Pleasing Fraudulent Transfer Claims ‘In the Alternative,’” co-authored by Timothy W. Brink, BNA’s Bankruptcy Law Reporter, October 2011
  • “Another Take On SPEs: The Sky Isn’t Falling,” co-authored by William A. Rudnick, Law360, March 2010

Presentations

  • Guest lecturer for “Law 2050” class, Vanderbilt University Law School, August 28, 2017
  • Participant in “Shark Tank!” Panel, Arguing that Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code Should Be Amended to Eliminate Transfer Taxes, ABI Southeast Workshop, July 30, 2017.
  • Participant in Panel “The Top 10 Issues to Be Aware of When Buying a Health Care Business, and How to Plan for the Inevitable Surprises,” ABI 2017 Annual Spring Meeting, April 22, 2017.
  • Guest lecturer on Juvenile Justice at various law schools in Mexico City, November 2013
  • Co-presented online CLE on strategies to employ in workouts, litigation and bankruptcy with distressed suppliers, July 2013
  • Testified to committee of the Illinois General Assembly on Juvenile Expungements, March 2011
  • Co-presented CLE at Illinois State Bar Association Annual Meeting on Juvenile Expungements, December 2010
  • Co-taught class on US and Ethiopian Bankruptcy Law as a visiting professor at Addis Ababa University Law School, December 2009

Services

Williams College, B.A. History and Political Science, 2005

Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 2008; Jordan A. Quick Memorial Award; Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program Certificate

  • Illinois, 2008
  • Kentucky, 2014
  • U.S. Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
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