Bankruptcy & Restructuring

If you face restructuring issues for your own company, your borrowers, or people you do business with, we can help. We have a strong reputation for representing large, sophisticated debtors in matters that require significant resources and specialized knowledge. We are able to draw upon the legal resources within the firm to handle the nonbankruptcy issues that often become a source of disputes during Chapter 11 reorganization cases. 

Our practice is considered to be one of the premier bankruptcy and workout practices for tax-exempt bondholders. We have represented tax-exempt and taxable bondholders and their indenture trustees doing business throughout the country and internationally, and we have appeared in bankruptcy courts in almost every state in the nation.

We know the intricacies of deal documents as well as how to attack or defend them. Throughout the bankruptcy process, we are always attentive to the cost that must be shouldered by the client and the fact that, in the end, the client’s needs and desires are paramount.

Quick Facts

  • Nationally recognized bankruptcy practice
  • Supported by a full-service firm of approximately 500 attorneys in virtually all areas of law
  • Comprehensive, creative, and cost-effective representation in the most complex insolvency and reorganization proceedings
  • Experience representing all parties and interests involved in the debtor / creditor relationship
  • Deep knowledge of creditors’ remedies allows for effective, efficient representation for our debtor clients
  • Past and present leaders and board members at American College of Bankruptcy, American College of Bankruptcy Foundation, American Bankruptcy Institute, Turnaround Management Association, and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education

Areas of Focus

  • Acquisitions or dispositions of financially distressed entities or their assets
  • Bondholder, indenture trustees, and bond issuers in debt restructurings, workouts, reorganizations including Chapter 9 filings
  • Debtors in Chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructurings
  • Distressed debt and claims trading
  • Landlords with respect to financially distressed tenants
  • Litigation of insurance coverage disputes arising from bankruptcies
  • Representation of boards, individual directors, and management of financially stressed companies
  • Structured financings and asset based lending
  • Secured and unsecured creditors, including parties providing debtor-in-possession financing
  • Uniform Commercial Code issues and litigation

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Best Lawyers in America
    • 8 bankruptcy attorneys listed within the Boston, New York, and San Diego offices
  • Chambers USA
    • Practice ranked 1st Tier in Massachusetts, one of only three firms ranked
    • 4 bankruptcy attorneys listed
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Practice recognized as a leading firm within the Finance - Municipal Bankruptcy practice area
    • Practice leader named "Leading Lawyer," the highest ranking for individual lawyers, for Finance - Municipal Bankruptcy
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers
    • 8 bankruptcy attorneys recognized
  • U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers: “America Best Law Firms”
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency Law:
      - Nationally ranked (2010 – 2017)
      - Boston (2010 – 2017)
      - San Diego (2011 – 2017)
    • Litigation - Bankruptcy
      - Nationally ranked (2011 – 2017)
      - Boston (2013 – 2017)
      - New York (2013 – 2017)
      - San Diego (2013 – 2017)
  • M&A Advisor
    • 3 bankruptcy lawyers recognized as deal team member recipients of the 2015 "Restructuring Community Impact" Award
    • Multi-year recognition at the Annual M&A Advisor Turnaround Awards
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William W. Kannel

William W. Kannel

Member / Chair, Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practice

Case Study: Unsecured Noteholders of Bankrupt Energy XXI Receive Favorable Cash Payout

Mintz Levin represented Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB as indenture trustee for holders of $367 million in convertible notes in the bankruptcy case of Energy XXI, Inc., which was filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Texas (Houston Division). At the time, Energy XXI, Inc. was the largest oil and gas developer in the Gulf of Mexico. Energy XXI, Inc. was a publicly traded company and had 67 subsidiaries, not all of which filed for bankruptcy. The obligor of our client’s note claims was actually a Bermuda company that also filed a companion “winding-up” petition in the Bermuda courts. The debtor owed in excess of $3 billion of secured and unsecured debt. The case was highly contentious, with eight different tranches of debt, including two classes of secured debt, all having different priority over common, as well as separate, collateral. Some debt was structurally subordinated by virtue of being held at parent levels, which engendered intense disputes over the valuation of subsidiaries and their assets, the movement of cash and assets among the subsidiaries, and the claims against those assets at various levels of the capital stack. Over the course of approximately 120 days, our team of litigators participated in 67 depositions, the preparation of thousands of pages of written and electronic discovery, and weeks of mediation and court appearances.

Some of the issues that were litigated included:

    • The valuation of oil and gas assets, including governmental leases of tracts in the Gulf of Mexico
    • The extent and priority of security interests in oil and gas rights, as well as other collateral
    • The validity and amount of secured claims that were subject to fraudulent conveyance challenge
    • The proper amount of adequate protection payments to be paid to secured creditors
    • The allocation of post-petition expenses and claims among Energy XXI's numerous subsidiaries
    • Whether movements of assets and cash among sister subsidiaries were fraudulent conveyances
    • Whether cash held by the obligor of the convertible notes could be used for the benefit of subsidiaries
    • Whether notes repurchased by the debtor constituted subordinated claims
    • The validity and value of a number of potential D&O claims
    • Whether releases, exculpations, and injunctions in favor of non-debtors were appropriate in the plan

Ultimately, all disputes were settled, and a consensual plan was confirmed that doubled the payout originally offered to our noteholders and, unlike other note tranches, immediately paid our noteholders in cash.

Case Study: Caesars Bankruptcy Settlements Far Exceed Expectations

Mintz Levin represented an ad hoc committee of holders of the 12.75% Second Priority Senior Secured Notes in the bankruptcy case of Caesars Entertainment Operating Company (“CEOC”) and related district court litigation.

The ad hoc committee appeared as a party in CEOC’s bankruptcy case in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois and, in their role as directing noteholders, directed the Indenture Trustee's litigation against CEOC's parent ("CEC") in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. In addition, Mintz Levin’s government relations consulting group, ML Strategies, lobbied the US Congress on behalf of the ad hoc committee with respect to changes to the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 that had been proposed by CEC in an effort to reverse certain legal rulings which favored the ad hoc committee.

Mintz Levin’s professionals guided the ad hoc committee through every step of CEOC’s bankruptcy case, even prior to the bankruptcy filing, by analyzing the documents associated with each tranche of debt and advising on various intercreditor issues. During the pendency of the case, Mintz Levin developed strategy on a wide range of bankruptcy-related litigation issues that would impact noteholder recoveries, including the viability of various fraudulent transfer claims, the treatment of original issue discount (“OID”), and the implications of an election to be treated as "fully secured" under section 1111(b) of the Bankruptcy Code. The ad hoc committee often led the charge in litigation and negotiations with CEOC and its non-debtor parent guarantor, CEC, which resulted in settlements far in excess of what was initially thought possible, including full reimbursement by CEC of all of the ad hoc committee’s legal fees.

In addition to representing and litigating on behalf of the ad hoc committee in CEOC's bankruptcy proceedings, Mintz Levin also shaped the fight against the debtors' parent, CEC, in the District Court. There, as directed by the ad hoc committee, the Indenture Trustee sued CEC to enforce CEC’s guarantee of the Notes. It was Mintz Levin’s strategy to seek summary judgment early in the case, thereby securing a very favorable opinion by the District Court that paved the way to an expeditious and favorable settlement with CEC. In the midst of the litigation, when CEC sought to have the Trust Indenture Act amended to render the District Court action moot, ML Strategies helped lobbying efforts with Congress, which ultimately failed to pass any such amendments.

Case Study: Synata Bio Wins Bankruptcy Auction for Kansas Ethanol Plant

Attorneys from our Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Real Estate and Corporate & Securities practices collaborated to represent Synata Bio, Inc., a bio-based renewable energy company, as the winning bidder in a bankruptcy auction of a cellulosic ethanol plant and electricity cogeneration facility in Hugoton, Kansas. The seller, a subsidiary of Spanish company Abengoa S.A., is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

To facilitate the $48.5 million deal, the Mintz Levin team negotiated the asset purchase agreement, prepared Synata’s winning bid package, and spearheaded a complicated real estate due diligence process. Attorneys also attended the 14-hour auction and counseled Synata on how to effectively compete against the stalking horse bidder, Shell Oil Company. In addition, the firm represented Synata at the subsequent sale hearing in bankruptcy court. With Mintz Levin’s assistance, Synata closed the deal a week and a half after the bankruptcy court approved the sale.

The acquisition of the facility, ideally located for Synata’s purposes, will allow the company to commercialize the technology it purchased from Coskata in another distressed asset sale in which Synata also was represented by Mintz Levin.

Debtor & Trustee Representation

  • Assisted a national discount retail chain with Chapter 11 issues including the divestiture of surplus real estate and the assignment and assumption of real estate leases.
  • Represented a manufacturing company in Chapter 11 proceedings.
  • Represented retail companies in Chapter 11 proceedings.

Creditor Representation

  • Assisted several government entities in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and helped clients respond to subpoenas, document requests, and general litigation.
  • Represented a national commercial real estate operator in one of the largest bankruptcy proceedings ever brought in the District of Massachusetts involving claims owed on the premier office tower in Boston — at the close of Mintz Levin’s presentation of evidence in the trial, the debtor agreed to pay $679 million to our client.
  • Represented a REIT in the foreclosure of a large residential condominium conversion project in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Creditors Committee Representation

  • Represented a creditors committee and liquidating trustee in the Oscient Pharmaceuticals Corporation Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, including the investigation, litigation, and asset recovery issues.

Out-of-Court Restructurings

  • Represented a real estate fund with $1 billion of assets in an out-of-court restructuring of loans.

Bankruptcy Acquisitions

  • Represented an acquirer of telecommunications companies from Chapter 11 proceedings.

Bondholder & Trustee Representation

  • Represented bond trustees and bondholders in numerous hospital bankruptcies and workouts throughout the country as well as numerous sales of hospitals throughout the United States.
  • Represented bondholders in connection with appointment of a receiver, foreclosure, and disposition of a golf course–based residential development project in Louisiana.
  • Represented bondholders in connection with marketing a disposition of a hotel condominium unit that served as collateral for defaulted tax-exempt financing.
  • Represented numerous bond trustees and bondholders in workouts and bankruptcies of numerous Continuing Care Retirement Communities, including the sale and/or restructure of facilities in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
  • Represented numerous bond trustees as bondholders in Chapter 9 bankruptcies and municipal workouts.

Clients We Serve

  • Acquirers of assets
  • Bondholders and their trustees
  • Committees
  • Companies
  • Debtors
  • Directors
  • Equipment lessors
  • Examiners
  • Executives
  • Investors and equity holders
  • Landlords
  • Private equity
  • Receivers
  • Secured and unsecured creditors
  • Trustees