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Critical Real Estate Issues and COVID-19 - Using the Bankruptcy “Tool Kit” in the Post-COVID Landscape

Speaker(s): Janice Mac Avoy, Jennifer L. Rodburg, Manuel Farach, Melanie Cyganowski
Recorded on: Nov. 2, 2020
PLI Program #: 312965

Hon. Melanie L. Cyganowski (Ret.)

Former Chief Bankruptcy Judge Melanie Cyganowski joined Otterbourg P.C. as a partner in 2008, after serving a full term as a Bankruptcy Judge in the Eastern District of New York and as Chief Judge from November 29, 2005 through the end of her term.  She graduated magna cum laude from the School of Law at SUNY at Buffalo.  She then served as law clerk to the late Hon. Charles Brieant (SDNY), a litigation associate at Sullivan & Cromwell, and a senior attorney in litigation at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, before joining the bench.

Melanie presently chairs Otterbourg’s Bankruptcy practice.  She is currently co-counsel to the Ad Hoc Committee in Purdue Pharma, and appointed as a member of a blue-ribbon committee by the Rockville Center Diocese with former Chief Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez and former Comptroller of the City of New York Harrison J. Goldin.  Her fiduciary appointments include: Receiver in SEC v. Platinum Partners; CRO and Temporary Operator of Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center; Patient Care Ombudsman in Randolph Hospital Inc., Promise Healthcare, Orianna Health Systems, 21st Century Oncology and California Proton; Auditor of Capital One; and various trusteeships.  She also served as Special Master in Vivendi and Neogenix Oncology, a Court-Appointed Expert in Orion HealthCorp, and an arbitrator/mediator in cases including Madoff and Lehman.  She has testified as an expert in international cases involving U.S. bankruptcy laws.

Melanie is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, on the Editorial Advisory Board of Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Practice & Law, and an adjunct professor at St. John’s University School of Law in the Bankruptcy LL.M. Program.  She is active in philanthropic organizations, including Tina’s Wish.

Janice Mac Avoy is a member of the Real Estate Department and the Litigation Department, co-head of the Real Estate Litigation Practice Group and a member of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee.
Ms. Mac Avoy concentrates her practice in complex real estate-related transactions and disputes, commercial litigation and arbitration, complex commercial landlord tenant disputes and commercial fair market rent arbitrations. She also has extensive experience in creditor’s rights, including complex commercial real estate mortgage foreclosures and UCC foreclosures, workouts and restructuring of real estate secured debt. Ms. Mac Avoy works with the Firm’s Real Estate Department on transactions in order to resolve issues without resorting to litigation.

Ms. Mac Avoy’s clients include commercial landlords and tenants, lenders and investors, broker-dealers and multinational corporations as well as individuals involved in commercial disputes. A significant amount of Ms. Mac Avoy’s practice includes advising clients on complex securitized debt in which the underlying assets are real estate, including the enforcement of lender’s rights, acquisition and divestitures of real estate secured debt and the restructuring of real estate secured debt. She also advises clients in complex partnership and joint venture disputes.

Ms. Mac Avoy has created seminars and CLE presentations on, among other things, the basics of real estate restructuring and workouts, mezzanine loan foreclosures under the UCC and the parameters of the attorney-client privilege in the corporate context. Ms. Mac Avoy has also published articles on lender liability claims, developments in the law of attorney-client privilege, electronic discovery and the appropriate use of email.

Ms. Mac Avoy is ranked by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Real Estate Litigation, which describes her as “the best real estate litigator in New York.”

Ms. Mac Avoy received the “Courage Award” from The Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles for her exceptional dedication and commitment in the fight to protect women’s reproductive freedom. She received the "Commitment to Justice Award" for her extensive work on and long-term commitment to family law cases referred to her by Her Justice (formerly inMotion). In addition, she was honored with the 2018 Zero Tolerance Award by Sanctuary for Families at the annual Zero Tolerance gala for her lifelong commitment to the protection and empowerment of women. In 2019, Ms. Mac Avoy was admitted as a member to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), a premier organization of US real estate lawyers.

Ms. Mac Avoy is regularly named among Crain's New York Business' list of Notable Women in Law, a feature honoring achievements of the brightest and boldest legal minds with both distinguished careers and exceptional civic and philanthropic activities. In 2019, Globe St. Real Estate Forum named Ms. Mac Avoy to its Women of Influence feature, which recognizes remarkable commercial real estate professionals. Ms. Mac Avoy also was inducted into Real Estate Forum’s “Women of Influence” Hall of Fame, and has been named by Super Lawyers as one of the Top 50 Women in New York.
Ms. Mac Avoy serves on the boards for Sanctuary for Families and the Center for Reproductive Rights. She is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), the American Law Institute and the CREW Network (The Association of Commercial Real Estate Women), as well as a member and voting representative of the CRE Finance Council.

Ms. Mac Avoy received her JD from Columbia Law School in 1988, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and associate editor of the Law Review. She received her BA, summa cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis in 1985, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society and has since been recognized as a distinguished alumna. Ms. Mac Avoy is admitted to practice in New York; the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; and the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third and Ninth Circuits.


Jennifer L. Rodburg is a Restructuring and Insolvency partner resident in the New York office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

Ms. Rodburg focuses her practice on the representation of creditors and investors in corporate restructurings both in and out of court. She represents hedge funds, private equity funds, banks, property owners, asset acquirers and other strategic parties in connection with prepackaged and traditional bankruptcy proceedings, DIP and exit financings, Section 363 sales and other distressed situations. She has a broad range of experience in representing official and unofficial creditors’ committees and equity committees in connection with chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructuring situations. Ms. Rodburg also counsels investment funds, financial institutions and other clients on issues involved in trading distressed debt, analyzing the risks associated with potential investments and acquiring financially distressed companies.

Ms. Rodburg is consistently recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading individual in Bankruptcy/Restructuring and by Legal 500 in Corporate Restructuring. She was named an "Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer" in the April 2009 issue of Turnarounds and Workouts. Ms Rodburg lectures on bankruptcy-related matters for seminars and panels sponsored by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and other professional organizations.

Ms. Rodburg is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association and the New York City Bar.

Ms. Rodburg received her JD in 2000 from New York University School of Law and received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, in 1997. She is admitted to the bar in New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.


Manuel Farach represents businesses and individuals seeking help with complex real estate, business and appellate issues. Mr. Farach is triple board-certified by The Florida Bar in Real Estate Law, Business Litigation and Appellate Law, and past Chair of the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions for Contract Cases. He is the present Chair of the 19th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, and past Chair of the Fourth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission. Mr. Farach also serves as Chair of the ABA’s Real Property Litigation Committee, and is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers where he serves as Chair of the Bankruptcy and Real Estate Litigation Committee.

Among his honors, Manny is an elected member of the American Law Institute, has been named Board Certified Lawyer of the Year (2019) by The Florida Bar, Member of the Year (2016) by the Florida Bar Business Law Section, one of the 50 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders by the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and has received the Judge Edward Rodgers Diversity Award, the Sidney Stubbs Professionalism Award, and the Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Award. Among his other honors, he is listed in Chambers and Partners, The Best Lawyers in America®, U.S. News Best Lawyers, Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, Florida Super Lawyers (including Florida’s “Top 100”), and holds an “AV Preeminent” Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He is a graduate of the Leadership Florida Executive Class 11 (2020).

Mr. Farach is an adjunct professor at the Florida State University College of Law, and has also taught as an Adjunct Professor of Business Law at the Rinker School of Business at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He currently sits on the Executive Councils of the Real Property, Business Law and ADR Sections of the Florida Bar, and serves as chair or vice-chair of many of its committees. In addition to numerous seminars and other publications, Mr. Farach is the author of Florida Real Estate Law, the real estate treatise in West’s Florida Practice Series, and publishes the Case Law Update, a weekly summary of both Florida and Federal real estate and business cases. Mr. Farach chairs the Real Property Section’s Certification Review Seminar, sits on the Appellate Certification Examination Committee and reviews questions for the Business Litigation examination. Manny also serves as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Mediator and an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.