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Recent Developments in Distressed Debt, Restructurings and Workouts 2019

Speaker(s): Adam W. Verost, Alice Belisle Eaton, David M. Hillman, Jacob A. Adlerstein, James M. Lukenda, Janet M. Weiss, Joseph Samet (Ret.), Kyle J. Kimpler, Rick Antonoff, Steven N. Serajeddini
Recorded on: Jan. 31, 2019
PLI Program #: 251265

Joseph Samet?has been a partner and member of Baker McKenzie's Global Recovery, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Group, residing in the New York office. He retired from the firm in 2015, and still teaches and writes in the R & B fields. He is available for mediating, expert witness, officer/director, and other work. Since 1975, Mr. Samet has been immersed in national and international restructurings, chapter 11 reorganizations, distressed sales of assets, SIPC and bankruptcy practice, representing all parties in interest. This includes chapter 15 cases. He counsels parties in interest and transactional lawyers on potential creditors’ rights/bankruptcy implications of deals, sales, investments and litigation settlements they are considering. His experience includes structured finance, corporate governance, pre- and post-bankruptcy litigation, negotiations and mediation. He counseled on insurance, monolines and bank liquidations, and advises corporate boards. He analyzes executory contract issues, including licenses for businesses in the e-commerce economy, and gave written opinions and analysis in transactions. His practice has involved diverse businesses, including in manufacturing, financial services, retail, service, airlines, energy, healthcare, real estate, e-commerce, sports and telecommunications. He prosecuted and defended preference, fraudulent conveyance, equitable subordination and substantive consolidation actions, officer/director liability and Ponzi scheme issues. He counselled professional firms and their principals on risk management, “unfinished business” and clawback type issues. Mr. Samet has prepared expert reports and testified as an expert witness in jury trials and in an international arbitration. He has been the SDNY bankruptcy court mediation panel and took extensive meditation training courses in 1994, and in 2015 through the ABI. 

Mr. Samet is the principal co-author of the two-volume annotated Herzog’s Bankruptcy Forms and Practice published by Thomson Reuters. He has been a contributing author of Collier on Bankruptcy 15th Edition, and the Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide treatises, having written and updated for many years three chapters on voluntary and involuntary bankruptcies totaling about 400 printed pages. He has written or co-authored published articles and outlines including on Arbitration and Intellectual Property in Bankruptcy; Breakup Fees and Topping Agreements in Sales of Assets; Multinational Insolvencies; Duties of Officers and Directors and Liability Issues; Unfinished Business; Mediation; Partners and Partnerships; The Basics of Chapter 11 and Chapter 15; and Research Tools.  

Since 1981, he has chaired or lectured at over 250 CLE and Industry programs in the U.S. and internationally on pre-bankruptcy restructuring and bankruptcy-related issues, including programs of the National Bankruptcy Judges’ Conference, the Practising Law Institute, The American Bankruptcy Institute, the Commercial Law League, the Turnaround Management Association, and INSOL. He was chair of the annual PLI programs “Current Developments in Bankruptcy and Reorganizations” 2009-2020, and “Recent Developments in Distressed Debt, Restructurings and Workouts” 2008-2020. He is now Chair emeritus. Mr. Samet was an Associate Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference and a member of its Bankruptcy Code Review project which was submitted to the United States Congress in 1994. He has been an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School, and served on bankruptcy committees of national and local bar associations. Mr. Samet has been regularly selected by Super Lawyers as one of the Leading Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers, the Best Lawyers in America, in Banking and Finance Law, and Who’s Who in America. He received the 2004 Burton Award for Legal Writing at the Library of Congress as co-author of the article entitled “When Worlds Collide: Intellectual Property and Arbitration Rights in Bankruptcy Cases.” Mr. Samet is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the ABA, the NYS Bar Association, TMA, the NYC Bar Association and CPR relating to mediation. He has served as a member of boards of directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the CLLA Fund for Public Education and the NY Chapter of the TMA, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Zaretsky Roundtable at Brooklyn Law School. 

David M. Hillman is co-head of the Private Credit Restructuring Group and a member of the Business Solutions, Governance, Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group at Proskauer Rose LLP. David has more than 25 years of experience with an emphasis on representing private credit lenders, private funds, sovereign wealth funds and other alternative lenders and distressed investors in special situations and restructurings both in and out-of-court, whether the lender is secured or unsecured, unitranche or structured preferred. He has substantial experience in every phase of restructuring and distressed investing, including credit bid sales under section 363, debt-for-equity swaps, chapter 11 plans, out of court restructurings, foreclosures, and navigating inter-creditor issues involving the relative rights of majority and minority lenders. David also litigates the issues facing private credit lenders, including issues involving plan confirmation, solvency, valuation, inter-creditor disputes, financing and cash collateral disputes, fraudulent transfers, equitable subordination, recharacterization, breach of fiduciary duty and similar disputes. 

David was listed as a “leading individual” in bankruptcy/restructuring by Chambers USA, which noted that interviewees praised him as “wonderful to deal with,” “very effective” and an “excellent litigator and strategist” who “thinks outside the box.” Chambers also noted that David is “an excellent counselor for distressed situations with significant litigation elements” and “a terrific, conscientious and focused lawyer.” He has also been recognized as a leader in his field by New York Super Lawyers as well. A member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, David speaks frequently on bankruptcy-related topics including recent decisions affecting secured creditor rights and preparing creditors for bankruptcy risks. David graduated, with honors, from Albany Law School in 1995.


Adam Verost is a Partner at Ducera Partners, where he advises companies in various industries regarding financial restructurings, M&A, and capital raising.  Adam has advised debtors, creditors, and interested third parties through out-of-court restructurings and bankruptcy filings.  He is Co-Chairman of Ducera Partners’ fairness committee.

Previously, Adam held similar positions at Perella Weinberg Partners, Kramer Capital Partners, Greenhill & Co., and Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin.  He is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Adam serves as a director on the board of LaunchCyte, a business incubator with portfolio companies in healthcare and technology industries.

Janet M. Weiss assists clients in achieving their objectives in complex bankruptcy cases and out-of-court restructurings. Whether representing debtors, creditors, strategic buyers or other interested parties, Janet’s strong transactional skills coupled with her practical business sense enable her to develop creative solutions in corporate reorganizations and debt restructurings.

Janet has represented debtors, creditors, committees, secured lenders, debtor-in-possession financiers and acquirers in substantial chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructurings.  She also has significant experience in bankruptcy litigation, retail insolvencies, and bankruptcy aspects of asset-backed and mortgage-backed financings.  In addition, she has assisted structuring corporate transactions to minimize insolvency risks.

Janet was a partner at Gibson Dunn for more than 15 years and most recently was a partner at Dorsey & Whitney.

Janet is a frequent speaker and writer on bankruptcy and financial restructuring law topics.  She has lectured at ABA, American Bankruptcy Institute, New York City bar and PLI programs.  She has written articles on the intersection of bankruptcy and trademarks, indentures and real estate, among other topics.

Ms. Weiss was educated at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her B.A., cum laude, and her J.D.

Kyle Kimpler is a partner in the firm’s Bankruptcy & Corporate Reorganization Department. He has broad experience advising clients in complex restructuring and bankruptcy cases, including secured creditors, ad hoc creditor committees, distressed investment funds, claim purchasers, and equity sponsors. Kyle has particular expertise in bankruptcy-related litigation and insolvency issues involving structured finance and derivative transactions. 

Kyle’s recent representative matters include:

  • Expro Holdings, a leading provider of well flow management services to the oil and gas industry, in its pre-packaged chapter 11 case;
  • The ad hoc group of Puerto Rico General Obligation Bondholders in restructuring the $18 billion of Constitutional debt issued or guaranteed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;
  • Citigroup and its affiliates worldwide in connection with prosecuting and defending claims arising from Lehman’s collapse;
  • The second lien agent in the chapter 11 case and related fraudulent transfer litigation concerning Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation, an oil and natural gas exploration and production company;
  • The ad hoc committee of first and second lien secured creditors in the pre-packaged chapter 11 case of Allen Systems Group, Inc., a provider of information technology management software solutions;
  • The Citco Group of Companies in bankruptcy-related litigation and cross border insolvencies arising out of the collapse of the Fletcher Funds;
  • An informal committee of certain holders of secured and unsecured notes of Chassix Holdings, Inc., in connection with Chassix’s restructuring through a pre-arranged chapter 11 case;
  • Oak Hill Capital Partners in the restructuring and chapter 11 case of Southern Air Holdings, a leading air cargo carrier;
  • Silver Point Capital, as prepetition and postpetition agent for lenders to Hostess Brands; and
  • An ad hoc group of trade creditors in the chapter 11 case of Spansion Inc.

Rick Antonoff is a Partner in the Finance, Bankruptcy and Restructuring practice at Blank Rome LLP in New York City.  Rick represents global banks and other financial institutions, direct lenders, private equity and alternative investment firms, landlords, intellectual property licensors and licensees, trade creditors and other parties in bankruptcy proceedings, out-of-court restructuring, M&A transactions and commercial litigation.  His clients are secured and unsecured creditors, strategic and financial buyers of distressed companies, lenders, foreign receivers in cross-border cases and defendants in preference and fraudulent transfer cases and mediation.

Rick is a member of the Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization Committee of the New York City Bar Association where he also Co-Chairs Puerto Rico Task Force. He has been an observer at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Insolvency Working Group sessions since 2014.  He earned his law degree with honors from Cardozo Law School where he was a Law Review Editor and a bachelor of arts degree from Harpur College at Binghamton University.

Steven Serajeddini is a partner in the Restructuring Group based in New York.

Steven advises companies, distressed investors, ad hoc committees, private equity firms, and other investors with respect to public, private, and portfolio companies in financial distress, including liability management transactions, amend and extend transactions, refinancings, out-of-court exchanges and restructurings, and bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings. Steven has been involved in some of the largest and most complex corporate restructurings of all time.

Steven also advises boards of directors and senior management of distressed companies regarding fiduciary duties and corporate governance.

Steven has extensive experience in a broad range of industries, including oil and gas, power, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, real estate, financial services, publishing, media, and pharmaceutical.

A partner in the Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization Department, Jake has broad experience advising a variety of clients in bankruptcy cases and corporate restructurings, including debtors, official and ad hoc creditor committees and distressed investment funds. Jake’s company-side representations include Cumulus Media, Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings and AbitibiBowater, and recent creditor-side matters include representing the ad hoc committees in the restructurings of Texas Competitive Electric Holdings Company, Pacific Exploration, ATD Corporation, Concordia Healthcare and Aspect Software.

Jake has been recognized by The Legal 500 as a recommended bankruptcy and restructuring lawyer and regularly participates on panels sponsored by industry organizations, including Practising Law Institute.

Jake received his J.D. from Columbia Law School where he was a James Kent Scholar and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. Jake also served as a clerk for the Hon. Robert E. Gerber, U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.

A partner in the Restructuring Department, Alice advises creditor and debtor clients in corporate reorganizations and bankruptcies, with a focus on postpetition financings, exit financings and related transactions. Her recent company-side matters include advising Animal Supply Company, Preferred Sands, Expro Holdings, Performance Sports Group and Foresight Energy, and recent creditor-side experience includes advising stakeholders in Neiman Marcus, Exide Technologies, Whiting Petroleum, LSC Communications, Mallinckrodt and TOMS Shoes.

Chambers USA recognizes Alice for her “rare combination of bankruptcy and financing experience” in dealing with distressed companies in major chapter 11 cases, and cites clients who have called her a “very talented lawyer” and complimented her abilities as she is someone who “works hard-nobody is going to outwork her.” The Legal 500 writes that Alice’s “ease in grasping complex structures make her the perfect lawyer to attack difficult restructuring issues” making her a “standout talent.” She is also recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for her work in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. In 2020, Lawdragon included Alice in their inaugural list of “500 Leading U.S. Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers.” Additionally, Alice was selected by Law360 to its list of Rising Stars for 2011, recognizing her as a legal talent under the age of 40, notably in connection with the successful bankruptcies of AbitibiBowater and CIT Group Inc.

Alice’s matters are routinely recognized by industry publications and associations. The M&A Advisor selected the restructuring of BPS US Holdings and its debtor affiliates (the Performance Sports Group restructuring) as its “Restructuring of the Year ($500M-$1B)” in its 10th Annual International M&A Awards. The Turnaround Management Association (TMA) has honored Alice in two awards; 2018 “Transaction of the Year: Large Company” for her work on Performance Sports Group’s chapter 11 case, as well as 2016 “Turnaround of the Year: Mega Company” for her work on behalf of Chassix Holdings Inc. debtholders. The Financial Times has recognized Alice’s work on a number of restructurings in its annual report on “U.S. Innovative Lawyers,” including “Highly Commending” her work on behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee of Dynegy Bondholders (2012) and CIT Group bondholders (2010), and “Commending” her work on the successful restructuring of AbitibiBowater (2011).

Alice received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin College.

Jim provides assistance to clients with troubled debt restructurings, mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, litigation and claims analysis, fraud investigations, and other financial consulting and bankruptcy assignments.

His experience spans numerous industries including financial services, heavy manufacturing, retailing, electronics, consumer products and distribution, construction and contracting, communications and publishing, real estate, and hospitality.

Jim’s extensive experience includes:

Financial Forensics

  • Analysis of a multimillion dollar construction contract and lost profits claim from a troubled state highway contract;
  • Financial records disentanglement assignment to locate misappropriated funds;
  • Analysis of inventory procedures and record keeping to explain product shortages and operating losses;
  • Investigation of trading pattern velocity and investment portfolio mismanagement of a not-for- profit institution.

Bankruptcy & Restructuring

  • Expert testimony on issues of business plans, liquidations, avoidance actions, substantive consolidation, and other reorganization and bankruptcy issues;
  • Development and evaluation of strategic business plans on behalf of debtors and creditors including the evaluation of customer and product profitability, store and plant profitability, overhead structure, and industry viability;
  • Analysis for providing expert testimony on business performance, lost profits, and claims for damages;
  • Preparation of valuation reports including enterprise value and liquidation analyses;
  • Negotiation and evaluation of out-of-court debt restructuring proposals.

Education and Certification

  • BSBA, cum laude, Georgetown University School of Business Administration
  • Certified Public Accountant (New Jersey and New York)
  • Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor
  • Certified in Financial Forensics
  • Instructor, AIRA coursework, Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor and Certification in Distressed Business Valuation