J. Ford Elsaesser

J. Ford Elsaesser: Attorney with Elsaesser Anderson, Chtd. AV stamp icon
Attorney Awards


Ford has developed a national practice in bankruptcy law and has extensive experience in every aspect of insolvency, restructuring and bankruptcy issues, from the most complex Chapter 11’s to small business, agricultural and consumer matters.

Among notable Chapter 11 achievements, Ford represented the Bonner Mall Partnership in successfully arguing to the Ninth Circuit the principle of the new value exception to the absolute priority rule, and later, in the same case, argued for the elimination of the routine vacating of lower court decisions to the United States Supreme Court, resulting in a 9-0 landmark decision. More recently, Ford represented a number of the creditor parties in the Sunwest Management, Inc., U. S. District Court case in Eugene, Oregon, arguably the most complex case on the West Coast in recent years, in a case which resulted in dividends that should approach 60¢ on the dollar, mostly for elderly real estate investors.

Ford has represented unsecured creditors committees on numerous occasions. In recent years, he has represented the parishes and schools directly impacted by the Catholic organizations that have filed bankruptcy due to abuse lawsuits.

Ford's first major Chapter 11, filed in the mid-1980s, was the case of Riley Creek Lumber Co. This company was one of the few lumber companies to ever successfully reorganize. Riley Creek, now known as Idaho Forest Group, is the largest lumber producer in the inland Northwest.

Ford has served as a Chapter 7 Trustee since 1984, handling well in excess of 20,000 cases, and has served as a Chapter 12 Trustee for all of the Eastern District of Washington and Northern Idaho since 1986. He has served and continues to serve as a Chapter 11 Trustee and “Plan Trustee” in cases throughout the Northwest, as well as cases in Arizona and Nevada, and has served as a federal court-appointed receiver, operating the Schweitzer Ski Area (1996-1999), and more recently appointed as a receiver on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission.

Ford has served as an expert witness on numerous occasions, testifying as to the standard of care and standard of practice in regard to lawyers, trustees, and debtors-in-possession in a wide variety of state and federal lawsuits.

Member: Moot Court Team; Order of the Barristers. Adjunct Professor, St. John's University School of Law LL.M. Program (2002—); Adjunct Professor, University of Idaho College of Law, Bankruptcy Program (2005—). Fellow: American College of Bankruptcy, Sixth Class.

American College of Bankruptcy, Sixth Class.

Areas of Practice (9)

  • Commercial Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Insolvency
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Receivership
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Bankruptcy

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
208-263-8517  Phone
208-661-5773  Cell Phone
208-263-0759  Fax
University Attended:
Goddard College, B.S., 1973
Law School Attended:
University of Idaho, College of Law, J.D., 1977
Year of First Admission:
1978, Idaho; 1978, U.S. District Court, District of Idaho; 1992, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; 1994, U.S. Supreme Court
Idaho State Bar (Recipient, Professionalism Award, 1999; Pro Bono Award, 1990; Member: Fee Arbitration Committee, 1982—; Bankruptcy Law Section, 1982—; Chairman, Bankruptcy Law Section, 1988-1989); American Bankruptcy Institute (Member, Executive Committee, 1992-2002; President, 1999-2000; Chair, 2001-2002).
Birth Information:
Cleveland, Ohio, October 29, 1951
Reported Cases:
U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Co. v. Bonner Mall Partnership, U.S. Supreme Court No. 93-714 (November 1994).
General Counsel, Coldwater Creek Inc.; Intermountain Community Bancorp; Federal Receiver for Schweitzer Ski Resort/Pack River Ltd. Co, 1996-2001; lead counsel for Creditors Committee and Chapter 11 bankruptcies of Output Technologies, Gulf, Sisco Seeds; Creditor Representation in AgriBioTech; Chapter 11 Trustee and Liquidating Agent for Myers Financial Group; counsel for debtors in bankruptcy of Bonner Mall Partnership, Bunker Hill Mining Co. (U.S.), Riley Creek Lumber Co.; Chapter 7 Panel Trustee-Northern Idaho; Chapter 12 Panel Trustee-Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.
Payment Information:
  • Credit cards accepted
  • Accepts Visa and MasterCard
  • Fixed Hourly Rates
  • Fixed Fees Available

Peer Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0
  • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

Sandpoint, Idaho

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