Practice/Industry Group Overview
Hill Farrer & Burrill LLP aggressively represents its clients in Federal and State Court in bankruptcy and collection matters that are likely to result in bankruptcy filings, including:
- Significant collection matters, from pre-filing investigation and pre-judgment attachments to obtaining and enforcing judgments
- Fraudulent transfer litigation to pursue assets diverted or concealed by debtors
- Receivership and judicial foreclosure actions for secured lenders
- Adversary proceedings in Bankruptcy Court such as objections to discharge, the determination of the dischargeability of debts, preferential transfer actions, fraudulent transfer lawsuits, successor liability claims, and lien priority disputes
- Protection of secured lenders in Bankruptcy Court through motions for relief from automatic stay, plan confirmation disputes, objections to the use of cash collateral, and valuation determination
- Landlord representation in Bankruptcy Court in connection with the assumption and assignment of leases, the collection of lease payments and obtaining relief from the automatic stay to proceed with State Court eviction remedies
- Chapter 11 reorganization or liquidation of business entities and individuals, particularly in highly litigious cases
- At trial before the Bankruptcy Court in 2013, successfully defended individual client against a creditor’s objection to discharge under Bankruptcy Code § 727, resulting in a favorable settlement of remaining dischargeability claim based upon fraud under Bankruptcy Code § 523(a).
- Represented a general contractor in a dispute with a project owner and its lender on a significant construction project in West Los Angeles. The project involved renovation and construction of an apartment tower and an adjacent mixed use building, and the lender sought to foreclose on the property. On behalf of his general contractor client, Mr. Porter mounted an attack against the construction lender on the issue of lien priority, asserting that the contractor’s mechanics lien was perfected before the construction lender recorded its lien. He ultimately filed a motion for judgment to establish the contractor’s mechanics’ lien priority. Throughout the case, Mr. Porter took on the lead role of coordinating a unified approach to the litigation, working with the numerous sub-contractor attorneys in an effort to control the litigation so as to maximize efficiencies for the contractors, and avoid unnecessary discovery and expense. While the motion for summary judgment was still spending, Mr. Porter negotiated a $1.3 million settlement for his general contractor client, with the settlement proceeds paid to the client and its subcontractors out of escrow in the sale of the building.
- High dollar collection activities for clients with seven figure judgments.
- Regularly handle general business litigation of all types, contract disputes, commercial real estate disputes, business related fraud.
- Took over the defense of a defendant group in a $40 million fraudulent transfer case in which the defendants were the subject of an onerous preliminary injunction issued by the Bankruptcy Court that was accompanied by very prejudicial findings against the defendants. The case turned upon a complex accounting of monetary transfers. In a complete turnaround, within a year, brought and obtained a summary judgment motion through which the clients completely prevailed in the case on all claims and the preliminary injunction was vacated.
- Represented well-known celebrity client as a debtor-in-possession in his individual Chapter 11 case. When that case and the companion case of his company were converted to Chapter 7, acted as special litigation counsel in 2007 and 2008 to the court-appointed Chapter 7 trustees in connection with a claim based upon a $104,000,000 default judgment against the debtors. Result was Court-approved settlement of that claim that was very favorable to the Chapter 7 estates.
- In 2010, obtained a stipulated judgment and a related settlement secured by real property from a defendant and his family members, who had allegedly engaged in fraudulent transfers of the family’s four real properties to avoid payment of a $600,000 debt owed to the client.
- In a December 2007 opinion published by the Bankruptcy Court, which was affirmed by the District Court on appeal in 2009 and which is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, obtained permission to sue a Chapter 11 trustee on behalf of a bankruptcy estate for the alleged improper handling of estate assets, which resulted in alleged losses that reduced the potential payout to creditors.
- Represented individual officer and director of national apparel retailer on fraud claims filed as an adversary complaint within the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings before the United States Bankruptcy Court for Central District. After completion of key party depositions and written discovery, negotiated highly favorable settlement of fraud complaint asserted by account receivable creditor, who had provided factor financing.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of individual defendant for alleged civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in United States District Court for Central District of California. Successfully defeated appeal filed by Plaintiff with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which confirmed the entry of summary judgment against Plaintiff. Obtained post-judgment award for attorneys’ fees and costs of suit under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1988(b) and Rule 54 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Currently enforcing and collecting judgment and attorneys’ fees and costs awarded against judgment debtor.
- Obtained summary judgment and an award of attorneys' fees in favor of a nationwide manufacturing company against a multi-million dollar complex breach of contract claim involving a real estate agreement and a bankruptcy.