Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring

Overview

With one of Delaware’s largest and most active bankruptcy practices, Richards Layton has been involved in virtually every major chapter 11 case filed in the state. Our bankruptcy team’s thorough knowledge of Delaware’s laws and local procedures is invaluable to both clients and co-counsel. We were ranked 10th in the U.S. in number of active bankruptcy cases by The Deal in 2012.  Recognized as leading bankruptcy counsel in virtually every major legal directory, we consistently receive top ranking in Chambers USA.  

Respected bankruptcy firms throughout the country rely on our expertise, regularly tapping us to serve as their co-counsel in many of the largest and most complex bankruptcy cases filed in Delaware. We represent debtors, lenders, acquirers, investors, and creditors from nearly every business sector, and our bankruptcy litigators prosecute and defend chapter 11 claims, preference actions, fraudulent conveyance claims, challenges to acquisitions, and all other litigation arising in bankruptcy.

 

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Experience

Delaware Bankruptcy Leader
Because of Delaware’s prominence as a place of incorporation and the outstanding reputation of its experienced judiciary, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware serves as a leading venue for the filing of large Chapter 11 cases. Richards, Layton & Finger has one of the largest and most active bankruptcy practices in Delaware and has been involved in virtually every large Chapter 11 case filed in the state.

Richards Layton has over 30 lawyers and paralegals with vast experience in representing debtors, institutional lenders, creditors, committees, acquirers, investors and other key parties in all aspects of a Chapter 11 case. As a client noted in Chambers USA, the attorneys in our Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Department are “the cream of the crop—there are too many good people there to mention. The team is broad, deep and able to handle megacases from start to finish.” Additionally, whenever necessary, we can draw on the skills of our colleagues in Richards Layton’s corporate, litigation, real estate, environmental, tax and employment groups to assist with issues as they arise in connection with a Chapter 11 case.

Richards Layton has the depth and experience to serve as lead counsel to a company in all aspects of a Chapter 11 case. In addition to this ability, our Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Department takes pride in being referred to as the lawyers’ lawyers. We have developed valued relationships with some of the most respected bankruptcy firms around the country. These relationships allow us to serve as co-counsel in many of the largest and most complex bankruptcy cases filed in Delaware. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in handling matters before the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, and therefore are able to provide valuable input and guidance to clients and co-counsel when navigating though the Chapter 11 process.

Debtor Representation
From consulting with financially troubled companies prior to bankruptcy to successfully steering a client through the bankruptcy process, Richards Layton offers comprehensive counsel to clients regarding their available restructuring alternatives. We assist clients in assessing the full range of restructuring options available to them, taking into account each company’s unique financial and market circumstances. These options may include pursuing an out-of-court restructuring, a restructuring of the debtor’s business through a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, or a going-concern sale pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. Our attorneys have extensive experience in implementing each of these restructuring alternatives, including reorganizations accomplished through the implementation of a prearranged or prepackaged Chapter 11 plan.

Richards Layton has served as debtor counsel in over 100 major Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in Delaware. Our clients have come from virtually every business sector, including the manufacturing, energy and natural resources, entertainment, telecommunications, health care, finance, subprime lending, retail, building materials and consumer product sectors. Specific representations include:

  • One of the largest privately held gaming entertainment providers in the U.S.
  • One of North America’s largest specialty retailers of home accessories
  • A major national savings and loan holding company
  • Several major independent manufacturers of automotive and vehicular components
  • A fully integrated oil company engaged in virtually all sectors of the petroleum industry
  • Large national retailers, including department stores and specialty chains focused on music, entertainment products, children’s educational products and various other goods
  • One of the leading international producers and marketers of aluminum products
  • A leading global manufacturer and distributor of building materials
  • One of the largest independent commercial finance companies in the U.S.
  • Leading rental companies providing everything from industrial products to medical equipment.

Institutional Lender, Creditor Representation and Purchasing Assets
Richards Layton also has extensive experience in representing all types of parties in major Chapter 11 cases, including secured creditors, creditors’ committees and prospective purchasers. We have recognized expertise advising secured parties and institutional lenders who provide debtor-in-possession financing to, or the use of cash collateral by, Chapter 11 debtors. Our attorneys have negotiated and prepared the necessary documentation for debtor-in-possession financing transactions for numerous creditor clients, including commercial banks, insurance companies and investment funds.

Additionally, we regularly represent potential buyers interested in acquiring assets from a debtor through a Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 sale process. These types of representations include providing guidance in evaluating and acquiring assets from bankruptcy estates and distressed businesses, either through straightforward sales transactions or through a Chapter 11 plan.

Richards Layton has also represented various other types of creditors in connection with Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 cases. These representations have included serving as counsel for significant creditors in their individual capacities, as well as representing statutorily appointed or ad hoc committees of unsecured creditors and bondholders.

Bankruptcy Litigation

Leader in Delaware Bankruptcy Litigation
One of the strengths of Richards Layton’s bankruptcy department is its team of bankruptcy litigators who stand ready to work on contested and litigated matters in Chapter 11 cases. Indeed, our role as bankruptcy counsel in some of the most sophisticated Chapter 11 cases in Delaware often serves as a platform for Richards Layton’s bankruptcy litigators to take a leading or prominent role in the most contentious and fiercely fought aspects of these cases. We also represent defendants sued in adversary proceedings, and have extensive experience in handling avoidance actions such as preferences and fraudulent conveyance actions.

Types of Issues Litigated
Richards Layton bankruptcy litigators handle traditional adversary proceedings as well as contested matters. Typical issues include:

  • Contested cash collateral or DIP financing hearings
  • Contested plan confirmation hearings
  • Injunction hearings
  • Valuation and solvency
  • Equitable subordination or recharacterization
  • Intercreditor/second lien disputes
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Preferences and fraudulent transfers
  • Rule 2004 examinations
  • Contested incentive compensation plans.

Litigation Strengths
Our clients and co-counsel appreciate that our bankruptcy litigators jump into expedited litigation with little lead time and quickly get up to speed. We are able to do this because of our experience and the fact that we are true bankruptcy litigators—since our team litigates primarily in the Bankruptcy Court, we have the substantive expertise of bankruptcy lawyers with the litigation skills of commercial litigators.

Directors

Mark D. Collins
Director
302.651.7531
collins@rlf.com
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Daniel J. DeFranceschi
Director
302.651.7816
defranceschi@rlf.com
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Paul N. Heath
Director
302.651.7590
heath@rlf.com
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John H. Knight
Director
302.651.7512
knight@rlf.com
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Michael J. Merchant
Director
302.651.7854
merchant@rlf.com
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Marcos A. Ramos
Director
302.651.7566
ramos@rlf.com
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Russell C. Silberglied
Director
302.651.7545
silberglied@rlf.com
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Robert J. Stearn, Jr.
Director
302.651.7830
stearn@rlf.com
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Other Attorneys

L. Katherine Good
Associate
302.651.7640
good@rlf.com
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Cory D. Kandestin
Associate
302.651.7802
kandestin@rlf.com
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Lee E. Kaufman
Associate
302.651.7582
kaufman@rlf.com
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Robert C. Maddox
Associate
302.651.7551
maddox@rlf.com
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Jason M. Madron
Counsel
302.651.7595
madron@rlf.com
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Michael W. Romanczuk
Associate
302.651.7626
romanczuk@rlf.com
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William A. Romanowicz
Associate
302.651.7878
romanowicz@rlf.com
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Christopher M. Samis
Associate
302.651.7845
samis@rlf.com
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Tyler D. Semmelman
Associate
302.651.7523
semmelman@rlf.com
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Zachary I. Shapiro
Associate
302.651.7819
shapiro@rlf.com
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Amanda R. Steele
Associate
302.651.7838
steele@rlf.com
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Marisa A. Terranova
Associate
302.651.7811
terranova@rlf.com
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Publications

  • "Effect of Post-Petition Payments on 'New Value' Defense," Delaware Business Court Insider, February 5, 2014   View >
  • "Is a Foreign Debtor with No Assets in the U.S. Eligible for Chapter 15 Relief?," The Bankruptcy Strategist, February 2014   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court and Second Circuit Take Different Views of Whether a Debtor with No Assets Located in the United States Is Eligible for Chapter 15 Relief," December 19, 2013   View >
  • "In What State Is the Harm Felt When a Derivative Suit Is Pursued By Creditors?," The Bankruptcy Strategist, December 2013   View >
  • "Third Circuit Holds that Claims May Be Disallowed under 11 U.S.C. § 502(d) Despite Transfer to a Third-Party Purchaser," November 18, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court Holds that Electricity Is Not a "Good" Qualifying for 20-Day Priority Status Under Section 503(b)(9)," November 6, 2013   View >
  • "Third Circuit Limits Equitable Mootness Doctrine," Delaware Business Court Insider, October 16, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court Holds That Tax Refund Received By Debtor Is Property Of The Estate, Not Held In Trust For Non-Debtor Subsidiary Under Tax Sharing Agreement," October 11, 2013   View >
  • "Third Circuit Affirms Chapter 15 Recognition of Australian Liquidation Proceeding as Foreign Main Proceeding," August 29, 2013   View >
  • "Third Circuit Court of Appeals Narrowly Construes Equitable Mootness Doctrine," August 28, 2013   View >
  • "Tracing Del. Bankruptcy Court's Unclear Tracing Rules," Delaware Business Court Insider, May 22, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court Enforces Prepetition "Make Whole" Payment Provision in School Specialty, Inc.," April 26, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court: Mandatory Mediation Update," ABA, Spring 2013   View >
  • "Bankruptcy Court Addresses Discoverability of Documents Prepared for Mediation," Delaware Business Court Insider, January 23, 2013   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court," ABA, December 20, 2012   View >
  • "Course of Business Defense Path to Preference Dismissal," ABA, November 19, 2012   View >
  • "Equitable Tolling Applied to Adversary Proceeding Limitation," ABA, November 13, 2012   View >
  • "Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Substantial Contribution Claim and Reaffirms Lebron Test," Delaware Business Court Insider, September 26, 2012   View >
  • "Delaware Court Denies Motion to Stay Order, Pending Appeal," ABA, September 25, 2012   View >
  • "Stay Pending Appeal of Confirmation of Tribune Chapter 11 Plan Is Conditioned Upon the Posting of a $1.5 Billion Supersedeas Bond," August 24, 2012   View >
  • "View Emerging That Stern v. Marshall Does Not Apply to Fraudulent Transfer Claims," Delaware Business Court Insider, May 23, 2012   View >
  • "Two-Year Look-Back Period Cannot Be Equitably Tolled," ABA, February 22, 2012   View >
  • "3rd Circuit Narrowly Construes Police Power Exception to Automatic Stay," Delaware Business Court Insider, January 18, 2012   View >
  • "Lack of Oversight May Leave Operators Liable," ABA, November 29, 2011   View >
  • "Third Circuit Provides Guidance on Determining Value," ABA, November 15, 2011   View >
  • "Reliance on Client's Automated Information System May Support Rule 9011 Liability," ABA, November 14, 2011   View >
  • "TOUSA, USACafes, and the Fiduciary Duties of a Parent's Directors Upon a Subsidiary's Insolvency," Norton's Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law, November 2011   View >
  • "Recent Decisions Illustrate the Limits of the Post-Confirmation Jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court," Delaware Business Court Insider, October 19, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Laws & Programs Affecting Business - 2011 Edition," July 2011   View >
  • ""Don't Say They Didn't WARN You": Bankruptcy Court's High Threshold for Corporate Affiliates' WARN Act Liability," Delaware Business Court Insider, June 1, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware's Solvency Test: What Is It and Does It Make Sense?," Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, 2011   View >
  • "In re 15375 Memorial Corp.: One More Look," ABI Journal, April 2011   View >
  • "LLC's Are Different: Creditors of Insolvent LLC's Do Not Have Standing to Sue for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, But Can a Creditors' Committee Be Granted Standing?," Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, April 2011   View >
  • "Court Awards Costs, Not Attorney Fees, Due to American Rule," ABA, 2011   View >
  • "Insurers' Tangible Disadvantage Is Sufficient Injury for Article III Standing," ABA, 2011   View >
  • "Third Circuit Addresses Issue of First Impression," ABA, 2011   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court Decision Strictly Construes Plan Provisions Putting Burden on Subscribers to Properly Prepare and Submit Subscription Forms in Rights Offerings," November 18, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Law Update: In re Leslie Controls, Inc.," September 24, 2010   View >
  • "Maric Capital Master Fund, Ltd. v. PLATO Learning, Inc. and Steamfitters Local Union 447 v. Walter - Court of Chancery Addresses Disclosure of Free Cash Flow Estimates," August 3, 2010   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Law Update - The Grossman's and Exide Decisions," June 4, 2010   View >
  • "Does Rule 2019 Apply to Ad Hoc or Informal Committees?," The Bankruptcy Strategist, April, 2010   View >
  • "Intellectual Property - Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. Announces Retirement," January 27, 2010   View >
  • "Bankruptcy Law Update: Kelson Channelview LLC v. Reliant Energy Channelview LP," January 25, 2010   View >
  • "Bankruptcy Law Update: Rule 2019," January 22, 2010   View >
  • "Third Circuit Delivers Key Decision on Credit Bidding," ABA, 2010   View >
  • "Bankruptcy Court Rules on Aggregate Value and Constructive Fraud," ABA, 2010   View >
  • "Don't Throw Away Your Deepening Insolvency Materials Just Yet...Damages Under Thabault v. Chait, and Harmonizing Brown Schools with Radnor Holdings and Post-CitX Case Law," August 2009   View >
  • "Who Owns Privileged E-Mails in a §363 Sale Case?  Is Ownership Waived When the Debtor's Computer Servers Are Sold?," American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, February 2009   View >
  • "Can the Claims of Individual Creditors Be Assigned to a Litigation Trust?," The Bankruptcy Strategist, January 2009   View >
  • "In re Powermate Holding Corp.," October 17, 2008   View >
  • "Don't Throw Away Your Deepening Insolvency Materials: Harmonizing Brown Schools with Radnor Holdings and Post-CitX Case Law: Part II," American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, October 2008   View >
  • "Keep Your Deepening Insolvency Materials: Harmonizing Brown Schools with Radnor Holdings and Post-Citx Case Law: Part I," September 2008   View >
  • "Trenwick America Litigation Trust v. Ernst & Young LLP," August 11, 2008   View >
  • "OHC Liquidation Trust v. Credit Suisse First Boston, et al.," June 12, 2008   View >
  • "DE Bankruptcy Court Enforces X-Clause," The Bankruptcy Strategist, April 2008   View >
  • "Kurak v. Dura Automotive Sys., Inc.," January 3, 2008   View >
  • "Did the Delaware Supreme Court Break the 'Directors' Shield'?," The Bankruptcy Strategist, August 2007   View >
  • "Section 546(c) and Reclamation Rights after BAPCPA: A Response to Wilson and LeHane," American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, April 2007   View >
  • "A Measured Response to Critics of Delaware Venue," American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, April 2007   View >
  • "Proving Solvency: Defending Preference and Fraudulent Transfer Litigation," The Business Lawyer, February 2007   View >
  • "Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Advanced Marketing Services, Inc.," January 23, 2007   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Bulletin," May 2, 2006   View >
  • "Delaware Bankruptcy Court Announces Bright-line Rule for Use of Lock-up Agreements in Chapter 11 Cases," ABI Journal, February 2003   View >
  • "Written Consents - A Powerful Tool in Hostile Battles for Corporate Control," Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, 1989   View >