Businesses facing bankruptcy require one thing above all else: a trusted advisor with the knowledge and experience to take them through the process with the least amount of stress and disruption possible.
The recommendation by our team to file a bankruptcy case is made only after a complete business analysis takes place, which goes beyond your company’s immediate troubles and focuses on your business as a whole; its operations, its financials, its past, present and your goals for the future. A bankruptcy filing is advised only in the event that it’s in your best interests.
Consultation with our team should not be considered as a “last resort.” Rather, our involvement during the early indications of fiscal distress can very often avoid the need for a bankruptcy filing, or worse, the filing of an involuntary bankruptcy petition, against your company, by your creditors.
Every member of our team — from our partners down to our support staff — specializes in bankruptcy and insolvency law, and each are experienced in handling clients across a broad spectrum of industries including real estate operation and development, construction, restaurants, manufacturing, retail, garment, jewelry, energy, technology and personal service. We have worked with public companies and closely held businesses; those with multi-location operations as well as ones with a single site.
Chapter 11 Reorganization
A chapter 11 bankruptcy is technically considered a reorganization for a business, although it can also be used to assist a company in selling or winding down its operations. Essentially, a chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to continue to operate in its ordinary course of business but with the benefit of the “automatic stay” in place – a mechanism that can only be achieved in a bankruptcy case. The “automatic stay” is a court-imposed bar which prevents your creditors (your lender, suppliers, landlord, labor union, taxing authorities, etc.) from continuing their efforts to collect monies due. This bar can remain in place, in most cases, until together we are able to propose a plan of reorganization. Often times, some “breathing room” from your creditors is just what your company needs to regroup, rebuild and restructure, leaving you with a stronger, more solvent company with increased cash flow and a brighter future.
We have an exceptionally skilled team with a proven track record of successfully guiding businesses, large and small, through the bankruptcy process. Just a few of the benefits of a chapter 11 can include:
- Substantially discounting trade debt by as much as 90%
- Restructuring and repaying obligations over a longer term in a way that makes sense for your business’s cash flow
- Selling the business or assets free and clear of the claims or liens of its creditors
- Terminating burdensome contracts or premises, equipment or other types of leases
- Achieving payment terms with your taxing authorities over a five (5) year period and substantially discounting penalties
- Stopping collection efforts for as long as ten (10) months, and sometimes longer
- Avoiding impending foreclosures, labor strikes, repossessions, restraints and seizures.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation of a company by a court-appointed trustee. This process can be very useful where ownership wishes to shut down business operations, walk away and leave much of the details to someone else. While not an appropriate option for every business, in certain situations a chapter 7 liquidation can accomplish a “clean death” for a business, with minimal effort and cost on the part of the management and ownership.
In a Chapter 7 process, the assets of a company are gathered by the trustee, liquidated and distributed to the company’s creditors in accordance with a statutory priority scheme; typically, secured creditors (such as creditors with liens on the assets of the company), priority creditors (such as certain taxes, wages, benefits) and then to the ordinary trade creditors. In this scenario, ownership can feel confident in moving on from the failed business without the concern of trailing liabilities and fallout.
Rattet Pasternak, LLP has been representing the interests of creditors in bankruptcy cases since we opened our doors. Even the most successful and astute business owners can find themselves involved in a bankruptcy case, especially in these challenging economic times. Our team is committed to protecting your rights.
Creditors Committee Representation
In many Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, an unsecured creditors’ committee is appointed to serve as a fiduciary, whose job it is to protect the interests of all of the unsecured creditors. These committees are entitled to representation at no cost to them. Rattet Pasternak, LLP has been appointed in numerous chapter 11 cases to fight for the rights of the creditors in order to monitor the chapter 11 debtor’s operations, communicate and explain the process to the creditors, and most importantly, ensure that the creditors
Involuntary Bankruptcy Filings
One very powerful tool available to creditors is the ability to file an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding against the debtor company. This forces the debtor into a bankruptcy case and immediately places it under the scrutiny of the bankruptcy court and ultimately a bankruptcy trustee. An involuntary bankruptcy is particularly useful when:
- you are not otherwise able to collect monies due
- there are other creditors having the same difficulty collecting from the company
- you suspect that the company may not be acting in the best interests of its creditors
- you suspect the company may be secreting assets or worse, trying to defraud their creditors
Rattet Pasternak can evaluate your claims, prepare and file the involuntary bankruptcy petition, after which time we can take on a number of different roles in order to protect your claims and ensure the best possible recovery.
Preference and Fraudulent Conveyance Actions
Over the course of a bankruptcy case, lawsuits are often filed against creditors or companies whose sole involvement with the bankrupt company was limited to regular business transactions during the months leading up to the bankruptcy filing. These lawsuits are usually based upon very limited information and are received by a shocked and confused business owner.
Preference actions and fraudulent conveyance (or fraudulent transfer) actions are very often filed with the sole intention of prompting a settlement. Most of these claims are defensible. In many cases, we have achieved the dismissal or settlement of these lawsuits through a simple exchange of information demonstrating a solid defense. When necessary, our skilled team can efficiently litigate these claims and typically achieve a resolution for substantially less than the amount demanded.
Distressed Asset Acquisition
Many companies and investors are able to capitalize on these challenging economic times by repositioning themselves for growth and acquisition. Rattet Pasternak has represented many of these industry players as they maneuver within the bankruptcy and distressed asset markets. Whether you are a traditional or non-traditional lender looking to purchase assets from a chapter 11 or chapter 7 estate, or engaged in a strategic transaction with a financially distressed company out of court, our team can successfully guide you through the process.