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Nuts and Bolts of Corporate Bankruptcy 2012

Speaker(s): Ali M. M. Mojdehi, Cecily A Dumas, David B. Shemano, David G. Epstein, Gerald F. Munitz, Hon. Dennis Montali, Hon. Sheri Bluebond, Hon. William J. Lafferty, Howard J. Weg, Joshua M. Fried, Lewis Kruger, Megan A. Lewis, Peter S. Muñoz, Steven H. Felderstein
Recorded on: Nov. 5, 2012
PLI Program #: 35289

Dennis Montali

United States Bankruptcy Judge Northern District of California (Appointed April 23, 1993; Reappointed April 22, 2007)
Former Member, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit (2000 - 2010)


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Notre Dame June, 1961
  • Juris Doctor, University of California, Berkeley June, 1968

Judicial Organizations:

  • Former Member, Judicial Conference of the United States, Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System Former Liaison from Bankruptcy Administration Committee to Bankruptcy Rules Committee (involved in drafting rules for Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, including rules for direct appeals); service on several subcommittees of Bankruptcy Administration Committee.
  • Former Member, Ninth Circuit IT Committee
  • Former Member, Editorial Advisory Board, American Bankruptcy Law Journal

Professional Organizations

  • Prior Secretary and Member - Business Bankruptcy Committee, Section of Corporation, Banking and Business Law, American Bar Association
  • Former Member - National Bankruptcy Conference
  • Fellow - American College of Bankruptcy
  • Member - American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Former Member - California Continuing Education of the Bar, Joint Advisory Committee, Business Law Subcommittee
  • Chair - San Francisco Bar Association, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section - 1982
  • Former Member - Debtor/Creditor and Bankruptcy Subcommittee, Business Law Section, State Bar of California
  • Former Member - Bankruptcy Advisory Committee, Northern District of California

Hon. William Lafferty


  • University of California Hastings College of the Law - J.D.
  • University of California Berkeley - B.A.

  • United States Bankruptcy Judge Northern District of California (April 2011)

  • Joined Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin in 1987
  • Director with Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin 1993 - 2011

  • Vice President, California Bankruptcy Forum
  • Past President, Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum
  • Past President, Bar Association of San Francisco, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section

  • Bankruptcy & Reorganization Practice Group
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law field)
  • Listed in Chambers USA's "America's Leading Lawyers for Business"
  • Recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer from 2004 through 2010
  • AV rated attorney (peer awarded honor given by Martindale-Hubbell)

Joshua Fried has represented chapter 11 debtors, creditors' committees, and companies in out-of-court workouts and restructurings. Mr. Fried is a graduate of Rutgers University, received his J.D. magna cum laude from Pepperdine School of Law, and an MBA from Cal State Northridge. Mr. Fried is admitted to practice in California and New York, and is a resident in our San Francisco office.

Co-author, "Financing the Debtor in Possession," in Norton Bankruptcy Law & Practice (3d ed.)
Co-author, "Measuring Anticompetitive Effects of Mergers When Buyer Power Is Concentrated," 79 Texas Law Review 6 (2001)

Programs And Lectures
Turnaround Management Association (Northern California chapter)

Chapter 11 debtors: Fresh Choice (2004); Solyndra; Prince Sports; MagnaChip; Premier Trailer; William Lyon Homes; Filene's Basement; Latham International; Champion Enterprises; Luna Innovations; Global Motorsport Group; Western Nonwovens; NetEffect; Global Home Products; Aegis Mortgage; Mortgage Lenders Network; Yipes Communications; Redback Networks; PG&E (parent of chapter 11 debtor Pacific Gas & Electric Company)

Peter S. Muñoz is a member of the Financial Industry Group, practicing in the area of Financial Services. His clients consist of a mix of large, mid-size and small banks, savings and loan companies, equipment leasing companies, mortgage companies, and private real estate and commercial financing entities. He generally represents creditors and equipment lessors in the documentation of complex credit transactions and in the restructuring and enforcement of such transactions, both inside and outside of the bankruptcy courts. On occasion,
he has represented guarantors or borrowers in such transactions. He focuses on all forms of commercial and real estate finance transactions, assetbased loans, intellectual property financing and agricultural lending.

Honors & Awards
California Bankers Association, Robert Fandzel Award for substantial contibution by an outside attorney to the California Banking industry (2012)
Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, Banking (January/February 2009)

Employment History

2003 - Reed Smith
1999 - Crosby Heafey Roach & May (combined with Reed Smith in 2003)

“Sophisticated restructurings and business bankruptcies are like a multidimensional chess game. Those who emerge successfully, know the players and the judges, and keep a keen eye on the endgame.”


Restructuring and Business Bankruptcy


In his representation of all constituents in business workouts and chapter 11 cases, Howard Weg leads clients in the value-driven resolution of the collective issues that arise in restructuring financially distressed businesses.

Mr. Weg’s experience includes prominent restructurings and chapter 11 cases, such as for the owners of “The Terminator” and other motion picture franchises and movie rights, restaurant franchises, the Los Angeles Bonaventure Hotel, hotels and casinos, office buildings, industrial properties, hospitals and power companies. He represents parties involved in workouts and chapter 11 cases including:

  • Debtors and creditors
  • Committees
  • Licensees and licensors
  • Buyers and sellers
  • Investors
  • Counter parties to financial contracts

His industry experience spans from middle-market companies to major corporations in such sectors as power and energy, entertainment, film and TV, real estate, hospitality and quick service franchised restaurant operations.

An active leader in the bankruptcy bar, Mr. Weg currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American College of Bankruptcy and regularly leads programs at the Practising Law Institute in San Francisco and New York.

Mr. Weg’s professional leadership in the bankruptcy community includes serving as Regent for the Ninth Circuit for the American College of Bankruptcy prior to his election to its Board of Directors. He also served on the Executive Committee and chaired the Education Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, as well as serving on several committees of the American Bar Association. In addition, Mr. Weg is a past president and member of the board of governors of the Financial Lawyers Conference.

His numerous articles on bankruptcy, workouts and restructuring have appeared in the Commercial Law Journal, California Bankruptcy Court Reporter, Real Estate Law Journal, and Business Law News. He has been the featured speaker and panelist on programs hosted by the American Bar Association, American Bankruptcy Institute, Practising Law Institute, State Bar of California and Financial Lawyers Conference.

A graduate of Yale Law School, from which he earned his LL.M., Mr. Weg was named “Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year” by the Century City Bar Association. His additional professional recognitions include being named a Southern California “Super Lawyer,” listed in The Best Lawyers in America, and Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. 




State Bar of California, Member, Executive Committee, Business Law Section (1994-1997); Chair, Education Committee, Business Law Section (1993); Chair, 15th Annual Spring Program, Business Law Section (1993)

American Bar Association, Member, Business Bankruptcy Committee(1985-present)

American Bankruptcy Institute, Member (1985-present)

American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow (2001- present); Regent for the Ninth Circuit (2008-2012)

Financial Lawyers Conference, Member, Board of Governors (1998-present); President (2003-2004)


Programs for the American Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, Practising Law Institute, Financial Lawyers Conference, the California Bankruptcy Forum, the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum, the Century City Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association and other organizations.


Listed in The Best Lawyers in America

Recognized as “Bankruptcy/Restructuring Leader” by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2003-present)

Named a Southern California “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers (2004-2014)

Named “Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year,” Century City Bar Association (2003-2004)

**Being named to the list or receiving the award is not intended and should not be viewed as comparative to other lawyers or to create an expectation about results that might be achieved in a future matter.


Yale Law School, LL.M. (1980)

Southwestern Law School, J.D., cum laude (1979)

University of California – Los Angeles, B.A. (1976)

Cecily A. Dumas practices in the fields of commercial transactions and business restructuring and bankruptcies. She has represented debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, asset acquirors, and committees. Ms. Dumas has particular expertise in representing chapter 11 trustees.
Ms. Dumas is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, and member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors, American Bar Association Business Law Section, and Bar Association of San Francisco Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section. Ms. Dumas writes and lectures frequently on various topics in commercial law and bankruptcy.

Ms. Dumas received an A.B. from the University of California at Berkeley, and J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. She is licensed to practice in California.

David has over 25 years’ experience as a business bankruptcy, restructuring, and commercial litigation lawyer. Before forming ShemanoLaw in March 2018, David practiced at the prominent national law firms of Winston & Strawn, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and Robins Kaplan, and the highly regarded Los Angeles insolvency boutique of Peitzman Weg.

During his career, David has represented chapter 11 debtors, creditors’ committees, trustees, secured creditors and general unsecured creditors in all aspects of business bankruptcy and commercial litigation. He has in-depth experience handling bankruptcy and restructuring matters related to real estate, entertainment and manufacturing.

Among his recent matters are guiding David Barton Gym through its reorganization and emergence from chapter 11 protection, leading the section 363 sale of rights to The Terminator movie franchise in connection with Halcyon Holding Group’s chapter 11 matter, and representing one of the largest owners of El Pollo Loco franchises in Southern California in its chapter 11 restructuring.

David is very proud that his accomplishments have been recognized and honored by his peers. He was inducted as a Fellow of the prestigious, invitation only American College of Bankruptcy, and served as the president of the Financial Lawyers Conference. Mr. Shemano frequently lectures at events presented by the Practicing Law Institute, American Bankruptcy Institute, Beverly Hills Bar Association and other organizations.


  • Named a "Southern California Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers (2006-2007, 2009-2019)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2013-present)
  • Recognized as “Bankruptcy/Restructuring Leader” by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-present)

Professional Associations

  • American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow (2014)
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Member, Board of Governors (2009-2010); Chair, Bankruptcy Section Executive Committee (2007-2008)
  • Financial Lawyers Conference, President (2012-2013); Member, Board of Governors (2003-2005, 2008-present)


Megan Lewis is a partner with Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP and has been with the firm since September, 2002. She graduated in 1999 from the California State University, Stanislaus, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. Ms. Lewis obtained her Juris Doctorate in 2002 from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and graduated with great distinction. Ms. Lewis is a member of Order of the Coif.

Areas of Current Emphasis
Ms. Lewis' practice focuses primarily on bankruptcy and commercial litigation. Ms. Lewis' bankruptcy practice includes representation of Chapter 11 debtors, Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 trustees, creditors and creditors' committees and stakeholders in Chapter 9 cases. Ms. Lewis' business practice includes business litigation as well as providing general counsel to business entities. During her tenure with Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP, Ms. Lewis has also gained experience in general civil litigation, employment law, and health care law. Ms. Lewis has also gained extensive knowledge regarding the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), has spoken at several seminars concerning HIPAA compliance and continues to provide counsel to clients regarding HIPAA.

Professional and Civic Activities
Ms. Lewis was the Chair of the Sacramento County Bar Association, Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section in 2010. She is a current board member of the California Bankruptcy Forum. Ms. Lewis is also on the executive committee of the State Bar of California's Litigation Section.  She is a board member with California Women Lawyers and is the current President of Women Lawyers of Sacramento.

Professional Licenses
Ms. Lewis is admitted to practice before the courts of the State of California and the Federal District Courts for the Eastern District of California, the Northern District of California, the Central District of California and the Southern District of California.

On February 1, 2001, SHERI BLUEBOND was appointed by the Ninth Circuit as a bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California, sitting in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to taking the bench, she was a partner in the law firm of Irell & Manella LLP, where she co-chaired the Creditors' Rights and Insolvency Group, specializing in bankruptcy, debtor/creditor relations and business litigation, representing debtors in possession and trustees as well as secured and unsecured creditors. 

She is a graduate of UCLA Law School, where she served on the UCLA Law Review, earned numerous American Jurisprudence Awards and graduated Order of the Coif, first in her class.  Judge Bluebond is a Fellow of the American Bankruptcy College and a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the American Bankruptcy Institute. She currently serves on the Executive Committee and the Bankruptcy Committee of the Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and has at various times served on the Board of Trustees of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles/Camp Max Straus, the Board of Governors of the Financial Lawyers Conference, the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum and the Board of Directors of the Turnaround Management Association.

Steven is of counsel to his boutique bankruptcy law firm. His clients include debtors, official committees, private equity funds, state agencies, public pension funds, institutional lenders, trustees and creditors in bankruptcy cases. He has helped reorganize businesses in many industries, including energy, hospitality (hotel and restaurant), forest products, food processing, publishing, entertainment, real estate development, agriculture, and financial services. 

He and his partner Paul Pascuzzi are currently co-counsel with the California Attorney General representing numerous state agencies in the Pacific Gas & Electric chapter 11 case.   Steven has represented the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) in the chapter 9 cases of the City of Vallejo and the City of San Bernardino.  Other recent engagements include representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton in its chapter 11 case.  He also represented the Creditors Committee in the Heller Erhman chapter 11 case, the Retirees Committee in the Stockton chapter 9 case, and a private equity fund in the out of court restructure of a novelty ice cream manufacturer. He served as outside bankruptcy counsel to the California Department of Transportation in the South Bay Expressway chapter 11 case, and to the California Attorney General in several large chapter 11 cases, including Pacific Lumber, Pacific Gas & Electric (2001), Enron, and Worldcom. 

From 2002 to 2014, he and Judge Michael S. McManus (ret.) taught the bankruptcy course as adjunct professors at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.  He has lectured for many continuing education providers, including Practising Law Institute, Strafford Webinars, the California Continuing Education of the Bar, Lorman Education Services, the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys, Central California Bankruptcy Association Institute, National Association of Bond Counsel, and local and regional bar associations.  He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, and a past president of the California Bankruptcy Forum, a statewide organization of bankruptcy judges and professionals.  The Best Lawyers in America has recognized his expertise in bankruptcy law for over 30 years, and in 2011 named him Sacramento Lawyer of the Year for Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights.  He has also been recognized by Super Lawyers of Northern California as a top bankruptcy lawyer.

Following law school Steven clerked for the Honorable Thomas J. MacBride, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.

David G. Epstein is the holder of the George E. Allen Chair at the University of Richmond where he teaches bankruptcy and other courses.  Before moving to Richmond to be near children and grandchildren, David had several other jobs, including Dean of the University of Arkansas Law School, Dean of the Emory University Law School, partner at King & Spalding and of counsel at Haynes and Boone.

Ali M. Mojdehi is a partner in the Cooley Bankruptcy & Restructuring practice group. He joined the Firm in 2012 and is resident in the San Diego office.

Mr. Mojdehi advises debtors and creditors and provides counsel to boards on innovative and efficient strategic transactions and restructurings. Both in and out of court, Mojdehi has represented debtors-in-possession, trustees, creditors, statutory creditor and equityholder committees, bondholders, financial institutions, and third-party purchasers of distressed assets, across a wide array of industries including real estate, construction, hospitality, oil and gas, energy, telecommunications, retail, manufacturing, transportation, financial services and technology.

Prior to joining Cooley, Mr. Mojdehi was a partner at Baker & McKenzie LLP. During his tenure at that firm, he was the chair of the Financial Restructuring, Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy Practice Group in North America.

Mr. Mojdehi regularly lectures to bar and lay groups. He is the author of several publications including:

  • Prepare for the Worst and Hope for the Best,¨ co-authored with David W. Parham, Inside the Minds: Structuring and Negotiating Reorganization Plans (2006)
  • The Implicit .Good Faith. Requirement In Chapter 11 Liquidations: A Rule in Search of a Rationale?¨ co-authored with Janet D. Gertz, 14 Am. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 143 (2006)
  • Settlement Payments Exempted From Avoidance: Payments for Illegally Unregistered Securities Are Not .Settlement Payments. Under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 741(8)¨, co-authored with Janet D. Gertz, The Bankruptcy Strategist Vol. 22 No. 7 (June 2005)
  • Appraising Postconfirmation Leaders: The Underutilized Confirmation Requirement, 2 Am. Bankr. L.J., 77 (2003); and Oil and Gas Liens in California,¨ 25 Cal. Bankr. J. 366 (2000)

Mr. Mojdehi earned his JD from the University of Tulsa in 1982 and received his BA from the College of William and Mary in 1978. He is admitted to practice in the states of California and Oklahoma.

  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • American Bar Association - Section of Corporation, Legal Banking and Business Law
  • American Bar Association - Subcommittee on Chapter 11 and Subcommittee on Sections 361-364 and Bus
  • Bankruptcy Rule and Practice Committee
  • California Bankruptcy Forum - Former Board Member
  • Iranian American Bar Association
  • San Diego Bankruptcy Forum
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of Oklahoma
  • The Bishops School - Board Member
  • Turnaround Management Association

Lewis Kruger is internationally recognized for his knowledge of insolvency law. Mr. Kruger, with over 40 years of experience, has played a major role in many of the significant reorganization proceedings in the United States.

Recognized by his peers for his experience, Mr. Kruger serves as the International Bar Association’s liaison to the United Nations Committee on International Trade Law, and has been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.

He has been a frequent lecturer on bankruptcy law for the Practising Law Institute and for Bar Associations in the United States and abroad. In addition, Mr. Kruger has taught insolvency courses at Columbia Law School, New York University School of Law, St. John’s School of Law and has lectured at Harvard Law School and Kings College, Oxford.

Mr. Kruger pursues a wide array of interests beyond insolvency including his current position as Chairman of the Board of the Museum of Art & Design in the City of New York. His past public service includes Special Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary with respect to corporate reorganization and as Special Counsel to the Governor of New York and the New York State Urban Development Corporation.

Representative Matters

Mr. Kruger has extensive experience representing both debtors and creditors in insolvency matters. He was the co-founder and co-manager of a fund focused on acquiring/operating businesses with a view towards running and selling businesses, winding down, collecting receivables and selling assets.

Mr. Kruger served as Chief Restructuring Officer of ResCap.

Mr. Kruger’s debtor representations include Columbia Gas Systems, Seatrain Lines, Anchor Glass Container Corporation, Pegasus Shipping Hellas, Cabot Cabot & Forbes, Tosco, Tiphook Finance Corporation, Daniel M. Galbreath, Neisner Brothers, Planet Hollywood, The Icing, The McCall Pattern Company and Victor Technologies.

Honors and Awards

Mr. Kruger’s accomplishments have been recognized by a number of publications including The International Who’s Who of Insolvency and Restructuring LawyersThe International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America.

In addition, Mr. Kruger has been selected for membership in the American College of Bankruptcy.

Mr. Munitz is a graduate of the University of Michigan (BA 1955) and the University of Chicago Law School (JD 1960). He is a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference and the American College of Bankruptcy.