Overview

John is a partner in the Business Restructuring, Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy practice group and is based in the firm's Atlanta office. He concentrates his practice in the areas of bankruptcy and insolvency law, including insolvency-related commercial litigation in both state and federal courts.

John represents secured lenders, debtors/borrowers, official committees of unsecured creditors, landlords, and other parties in interest in relation to, among other things, bankruptcy cases, receivership litigation, workouts, restructurings and state court foreclosures and confirmation proceedings. John frequently lectures on bankruptcy and commercial litigation topics before bar and trade groups, as well as continuing legal education programs.

Experience
  • Lead counsel for state law trust responsible for liquidating more than $50 million in real estate, including a high end hotel property and adjacent properties.
  • Lead counsel for a software company defending against a hostile takeover by a bankrupt majority owner seeking to force a $280 million sale of the software company.
  • Lead counsel for an equipment lender seeking to recover on $5 million in collateral in bankruptcy.
  • Lead counsel for a real estate lender in obtaining relief from stay and having receiver appointed to oversee liquidation of commercial real estate.
  • Lead counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of a distributor of infrastructure supplies and materials.
  • Lead counsel for a court-appointed receiver overseeing the operation of a multi-family apartment complex.
  • Co-counsel for a secured creditor in defending more than $16 million in lender liability claims brought by a creditor of a failed borrower/developer.
  • Lead counsel for a secured lender in a complex $36 million intercreditor dispute involving another secured creditor and the loan servicer.
  • Lead counsel to a creditor in arbitration proceeding involving $9.1 million in disputed claims asserted against guarantors.
  • Lead counsel to a secured creditor in negotiating the sale of more than $7 million in collateral through a Section 363 bankruptcy sale process.
  • Co-counsel for a secured creditor/DIP lender in a large, multi-national bankruptcy case, including negotiating a $6 million post-petition credit facility, negotiating the sale of more than $40 million in debtor assets during a series of section 363 sales, and negotiating the terms of a plan of liquidation.
  • Lead counsel for a secured lender in a bankruptcy case of a failed real estate development, wherein the secured lender was repaid in full after a lengthy contested bankruptcy case wherein the secured creditor was ultimately repaid through a negotiated exit loan provided by insiders.
  • Lead counsel for a secured lender in obtaining relief from stay in bankruptcy case to foreclose on improved and unimproved parcels of land with outstanding debt of more than $40 million, while defending against claims of lender liability and objections to claim amounts.
  • Defended more than $120 million in claims based upon alleged alter ego liability, pension plan evasion liability, environmental indemnification liability and preference claims brought by a bankruptcy trustee against a former owner.
  • Co-counsel to an aircraft lessor in defeating bankruptcy debtor's multimillion dollar claims of fraud, breach of contract, accounting, turnover, and tortious interference with contract after a five-day bench trial in bankruptcy court, while also obtaining a $2.8 million judgment on client's counterclaims.
  • Lead counsel for a landlord in defeating bankruptcy debtor/tenant's claims of breach of contract, conversion, equitable estoppel, unjust enrichment, statutory attorneys' fees and punitive damages after a one-day bench trial in bankruptcy court.
  • Lead counsel for a debtor's sole secured lender in obtaining dismissal of an involuntary bankruptcy case 29 days after the case was filed.
  • Represented the world's largest independent producer of primary and secondary carpet backing in bankruptcy with total assets and liabilities each exceeding $500 million.
  • Represented a sub-prime auto leasing company in bankruptcy. Served as lead litigation counsel during contested confirmation proceeding.
  • Represented a grocery retailer with $10 billion per year in annual sales in bankruptcy. Responsible for disposition of unwanted store locations, including selling below market leases and closing stores.
  • Represented a furniture retailer in bankruptcy. Responsible for all litigation aspects of bankruptcy case, including litigation against former advertising agency, former insurance carrier and former landlord.
  • Represented a sub-prime lender in bankruptcy. Responsible for developing litigation strategy for bankruptcy case, including pursuit of fraudulent conveyance claims against former owner while negotiating consensual liquidation process.
  • Represented a health care provider in bankruptcy, while defending against personal injury claims and seeking to subordinate or eliminate claims of punitive damages in bankruptcy case.
Publications
  • “Supreme Court Clarifies ‘Actual Fraud’ for Purposes of Debt Discharge,” Thompson Hine Business Restructuring, Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy Update, June 2016
  • Co-author (with Alan R. Lepene, William H. Schrag and Andrew L. Turscak, Jr.), "Lender Beware: Eleventh Circuit Court Allows TOUSA Decision to Stand," NY Business Law Journal, Winter 2012, Vol. 16, No. 2
  • Co-author (with Alan R. Lepene, William H. Schrag and Andrew L. Turscak Jr.), "Lender Beware: Eleventh Circuit Court Allows TOUSA Decision to Stand," Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors, Vol. 26, No. 2
  • Co-author( with Linda A. Striefsky and Andrew L. Turscak, Jr.), "TOUSA 2 – Round Two of TOUSA Battle Goes to Lenders," ALI-ABA Course of Study, Commercial Real Estate Financing: Strategies for Changing Markets and Uncertain Times, April 2011
  • Co-author (with Arthur J. Steinberg), "Resolution of Madoff Customer Claims: Still in Act One," New York Law Journal, April 2010
  • Co-author (with Arthur J. Steinberg), "The Need to Revisit the 'Value in Good Faith' Defense to Fraudulent Transfer Claims," Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, August 2009
  • "Fighting Dispossession," Fulton County Daily Report, July 2009
  • Co-author (with Arthur J. Steinberg), "Protecting Redemptions in a Ponzi Scheme Case," New York Law Journal, March 2009
Presentations
  • "Tousa: An Analysis of the Case and its Consequences, Consumer and Business Bankruptcy," sponsored by Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, November 2012
  • "Workouts & Bankruptcy: 10 Ways CPAs can get Involved," Gwinnet Chapter of GSCPAs, September 2012
  • "Ponzis and Barring Claims Against the Guilty," 17th Annual Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop, sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute, July 2012
  • Non-Dischargeable Debts, Workouts, Turnarounds & Restructurings Seminar, sponsored by Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, March 2012
  • "Bankruptcy Alternatives: State Law Dissolutions, Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors, and Receiverships, Consumer and Business Bankruptcy," sponsored by Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, November 2011
  • "Workouts & Bankruptcy: 10 Ways CPAs can get Involved," Gwinnet Chapter of GSCPAs, November 2011
  • "Prevalent Legal Issues in this Real Estate Cycle," Commercial Real Estate Show, sponsored by Bull Realty, September 2011
  • "Bankruptcy Litigation Tips for Trying a Real Estate Valuation and Fraudulent-Transfer Actions," 35th Annual Judge Alexander L. Paskay Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Practice – SPECIAL FOCUS Real Estate in Crisis, Sponsored by American Bankruptcy Institute and Stetson Law School, March 2011
  • "Intersection of Bankruptcy and State Foreclosure Laws," Strafford Bankruptcy CLE, February 2011
  • "Best Practices for Remedies, Workouts, Forbearance & Foreclosure," Preserving Capital, Enhancing Value: A Seminar for Special Asset Managers & Credit Officers, May 2010
  • "The Intersection of Fraud and Bankruptcy," Fourth Annual Fraud and Forensic Accounting Education Conference, sponsored by Georgia Southern University, May 2010
  • "Insolvency Update for Bankers: the Tousa Opinion," National Funding Association Monthly Meeting, February 2010
  • "Bankruptcy Reorganization Plans and Cram Downs: Strategies for Debtors and Creditors to Navigate Complex Plan Confirmation Rules," Strafford Bankruptcy CLE, July 2009
  • "Representing Creditors – Issues and Strategies," 2008 Real Property Foreclosure, Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, April 2008
Distinctions
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2018
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, 2014 to 2017
  • Selected as a Rising Star by Georgia Super Lawyers magazine in 2012 to 2013
  • Listed in Georgia Trend's 2012 Legal Elite
  • Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Georgia, 2013, 2016 and 2017
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Alabama State Bar
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, Board of Directors

Community Activities

  • United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta's Cole Society, board member
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