Representing Debtors, Creditors And Interested Parties In Bankruptcy Litigation
Bankruptcy court is a complex arena. The stakes are high and creditors and debtors each have specific rights. The strong protections of bankruptcy are balanced against the creditor claims, and those creditors are also competing with each other for priority status.
This is my wheelhouse. I am Bart Houston, a Fort Lauderdale attorney with over 30 years of experience in commercial bankruptcy and related adversary proceedings. I offer sophisticated counsel and representation for debtors, creditors and interested parties in all areas of bankruptcy litigation, along with general business consulting. My clients include small businesses, real estate developers, corporations, lenders and private equity firms in Broward County and across Florida.
Contested Bankruptcy And Chapter 11 Resolution
For the first 15 years of practice, I primarily represented debtor companies in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Ideally, the two sides can come to an agreement that allows the business to continue and make good on the outstanding debts over time.
But there is not always enough money to go around, even after a business has reorganized or restructured debt. I also have extensive experience representing creditor constituencies (secured creditors) as well as nonsecured creditors such as vendors, suppliers and shareholders.
Bankruptcy Adversary Proceedings
Adversary proceedings are essentially lawsuits under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Creditors may initiate adversary proceedings when a debtor has violated the bankruptcy rules or failed to engage in good faith, or when there is a legitimate legal dispute over debts and obligations. I provide plaintiff and defense representation for:
Fraudulent transfers & clawback: In anticipation of filing for bankruptcy, a debtor may retitle assets or place them with a third party, move assets to a trust or shell corporation, or otherwise try to hide or shield those assets from the bankruptcy court. I have been successful in a clawback of fraudulent transfers on behalf of creditor clients, and I have also defended gifting and other lawful transfers by debtor clients.
Preference actions: Under Chapter 11 protection, debtors cannot pick and choose which creditors get paid. There is a pecking order defined by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. I have extensive experience in recovering preferential payments that debtors made to specific creditors prior to or even after the bankruptcy filing. I also handle preference litigation between creditors who are jockeying to get repaid under Chapter 11.
Dischargeability: Certain debts are subject to discharge at the discretion of the bankruptcy court. Creditors may formally object by filing a nondischargeability action, as when the debtor has fraudulently incurred the debt or fraudulently sought bankruptcy protection. I have argued both sides of these cases.
Three Decades Of Practice In Bankruptcy Court
I am admitted to practice in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for both the Southern District and Middle District of Florida. In a free initial consultation, I can explain your rights and remedies and gauge where you stand. You are retaining a veteran trial lawyer who understands both bankruptcy law and your business realities. Call my Fort Lauderdale office at 954-869-9155 or reach me by email.
The Houston Firm is a debt relief agency. We help people file for relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.