Bankruptcy & Restructuring Overview

Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice is a microcosm of the firm, drawing from all areas of the firm’s practice. The group currently includes a core of lawyers who spend all or a significant portion of their time on bankruptcy, workout, and insolvency matters. A number of litigators and lawyers in other practice groups work closely with our bankruptcy attorneys on a regular basis. The scope of the practice is national and members of the practice are drawn from various  offices.

In addition, our New Jersey business tax lawyers frequently draw on the expertise of our other practices, for assistance on the real estate, corporate, securities, health care, tax, labor, environmental and ERISA issues that increasingly arise in troubled situations.

Our major areas of practice involve representing:

  • Chapter 11 Debtors/Debtors-in-Possession
  • Official and Ad Hoc Unsecured Creditor and Equity Committees
  • Insurance Companies
  • Indenture Trustees
  • Asset Acquirers
  • Secured Creditors

Sample representations are listed later in this resume.

We also have significant experience representing landlords, officers and directors of debtors, trustees, assignees for the benefit of creditors, and sophisticated workout consultants/crisis managers.

The diversity of our experience has enriched our lawyers’ understanding of insolvency and workout matters, from all perspectives, and enhanced our ability to represent any type of party in these matters.

Capabilities & Experience

Sonnenschein has handled workout, reorganization and bankruptcy matters throughout the United States for a wide variety of clients. Much of our experience in these areas cannot be neatly categorized as either “workout” or “bankruptcy” related. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of our practice has been an acute awareness of the overlap between these two disciplines — and the importance of offering experience and expertise in both workouts and bankruptcies in order to provide maximum flexibility and achieve the most effective results.

A brief overview of our experience in each of these areas follows.

Workouts

We have broad range of experience representing participants in out-of-court debt restructuring matters. This work includes:

  • review of loan documentation and lenders’ collateral positions for existing and potential defects, including enforcement problems;
  • evaluation of restructuring proposals and development of alternatives;
  • analysis of creditors’ positions and likely resort to bankruptcy, and assessment of lenders’ options in bankruptcy proceedings;
  • preparation of the legal documentation to implement out-of-court workout solutions and/or to support position in the event of a court proceeding;
  • appropriate litigation (including representation in bankruptcy court or enforcement proceedings) if a satisfactory out-of-court solution cannot be reached; and

Police arrest Wilmington man for crashing into cruiser

Intoxicated drivers endanger residents in Wilmington and the rest of the state. Several wrongful deaths are caused every year in  due to the decision of some motorists to drive while impaired. A drunk driver is more likely to cause a serious car accident because alcohol impacts the motorist’s ability to properly control a vehicle. Alcohol use also makes it more likely that a motorist will disobey traffic signals and drive in an erratic manner that endangers  pedestrians.

One 30-year-old drunk driver from Wilmington was recently arrested. A state trooper arrested the man after the man rammed into his parked, fully marked  State Police squad car. The Wilmington man was spotted driving in an erratic fashion around bar close time on Shipley Road near the intersection of Windley Road.

Drunk drivers injure many  law enforcement authorities every year. Police officers and state troopers are more likely to face personal injuries from drunk drivers because officers often work around bar close time and are exposed to traffic when they pull cars to the side of the road.

Fortunately the Wilmington man hit an empty squad car. The officer was out of his car investigating an earlier accident. The officer rushed to the man’s vehicle and saw that he was attempting to reverse his car and flee the scene. The officer yanked the drunk driver from the vehicle to prevent him from leaving and held the man until emergency crews arrived at the scene.

The drunk driver was treated at Christiana Hospital for injuries and then ticketed for drunk driving, failure to remain in a lane of travel and driving with an expired registration and lack of insurance. The officer was not injured.

Parents awarded $58M in birth injury malpractice case

women and children always face some risks during childbirth. Although medical advances have lowered ‘s high mortality rates during pregnancy and birth, obstetrics negligence continues to cause birth injuries that impact many women and children in our state. Obstetrics negligence can severely injure a child and result in serious birth injuries such as Erb’s palsy, head trauma and cerebral palsy, among other things.

The parents of one 8-year-old boy say that his cerebral palsy was caused by obstetrics negligence. The parents say their son cannot speak, eat, or walk and that he requires constant care because of the negligence of an obstetrician. A jury agreed and recently awarded the family $58 million in a landmark medical malpractice case.

“The dollar amount means he will be taken care of, that’s what this means to us,” the boy’s mother said.

The parents say that the obstetrician ignored complications and failed to deliver the boy early. When a C-section was finally performed a surgical error cut the oxygen to the boy’s brain which caused a severe disability that will forever impact his life.

“He got his life taken away from him, and the only form of justice is this,” the father said.

The doctors strongly contest the jury’s decision sand say that the mother was properly cared for. Attorneys for the doctors say that the boy’s disability was caused by an undetected infection in the womb and not malpractice. The parents will probably not see any of the substantial funds awarded by the jury for a long time because the doctors are planning to appeal the verdict.

Subjects Covered in the Safety Programs

  • Company Impact – How a properly implemented safety training program can impact the company’s workers comp, morale, and bottom line.
  • Statistics – Actual statistics on forklift operation and accidents in the U.S workplace.
  • The “L-Word” – Liability – How it relates to the company.
  • OSHA Regulations – The complete set of regulations as they relate to forklift safety, what they mean and how they can affect the operators, the instructors and the company.
  • Employee Involvement – How to get workers to be proactive about training programs and maintaining a safe work environment.
  • Management Involvement – How to get management involved in the enforcement and reinforcement of safety training, and management’s crucial role in the success of any training program.
  • Company Customization – How to adjust training to match company policies and how to resolve discrepancies between company policies and instructor course content or OSHA regulations.
  • Choosing the Right Presentation – how to select the format of and materials for your class based on the participants and environment.
  • Class Preparation – Room setup, materials preparation and equipment setup for successful training.
  • Instructing Style – How to develop a personal training style, and techniques that lead to a more effective presentation.
  • The Training Program – A complete run-through of the actual operator training program as it is written.
  • Documentation – Recording results and creating a thorough record of safety training.
  • Forms – All documents and forms to be used by the trainer and operators during training and in the workplace.
  • Accidents and Incidents – How to investigate and report incidents and who should be involved.
  • News Articles – Library of relevant news items that can be used in presenting safety training classes.
  • Reference Materials – Complete listing of contact information, phone numbers, websites, and addresses of various information sources, safety organizations and government agencies.

Workers injured in van rollover crash

At least 18 people were hospitalized yesterday when a van full of migrant workers crashed in . The accident happened on I-95 near Newport. Authorities say that the 20-year-old driver had no drivers’ license or insurance and that the van was not built to carry more than 15 people.

The van accident happened because of a blown tire. The van overturned several times before coming to rest on the left shoulder of I-95. All of the 18 occupants of the van were transported to Christiana hospital in seven ambulances but one of the passengers fled the hospital before receiving treatment.

The migrant workers may be in the country illegally and an investigation into the incident was launched by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. None of the 18 workers had identification and a retired agent from the New Jersey State Police Intelligence Bureau said that such cramped and unsafe conditions are common for migrant workers.

“The migrants will put up with anything because the village that they are coming from and the country that they are coming from has no work,” the agent said. “They can make enough money in 10 weeks here to feed them and house them for a whole year back in their own village.”

This is the first major  highway accident involving migrant workers since 2001. In June 2001 a van with 19 migrant workers ran into a tanker truck. The accident occurred on I-495 and killed five of the workers. That accident also involved a 15-passenger van, and the NHTSA has issued warnings indicating that these vans are more likely to rollover when fully loaded.

Should require school bus seat belts?

In our last post we discussed a pedestrian accident which left a 29-year-old  woman dead. Although the  woman was hit by a police car responding to a crime, pedestrian accidents are also common in a variety of other situations such as school bus loading zones.

Safety advocates say that a seat belt requirement for school buses may prevent such loading zone accidents and save several lives every year by cutting down the distractions that school bus drivers face.

“There is accident after accident where we can document that the cause has been school bus driver distraction,” said Arthur Yeager of the school bus coalition. “More kids are killed when their own school bus drives over them than by other drivers. Some of those kids are killed because the driver is distracted by kids jumping up and down on the bus.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration disagrees with Yeager’s assessment and views seat belts as an unnecessary expense. It notes that retrofitting school buses with seat belts would be so costly that it would amount to between $23 million and $36 million per life saved.

Yeager notes that the NHTSA requires seat belts in most other vehicles despite its longstanding opposition to school bus restraints.

“There is a certain hypocrisy in their supporting seat belts in virtually every other type of vehicle under their control except for school buses,” Yeager said. He went on to state that students are used to wearing seat belts in cars and that many children’s first experience riding without a seat belt is on a school bus.

GPS tracking devices encourage drivers to slow down

What will it take to get drivers to stop speeding? Transportation officials have been asking themselves this question for years. As it turns out, it takes a little money.

In a study funded partially by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers were given a GPS device that was placed in their car. It would track how fast they were going compared to the speed limit, and would offer a $25 cash prize at the end of each week for driving safely. Researchers hoped the incentive would slow the drivers down and reduce the number of car accidents in Portland, Oregon and need for portland, or personal injury attorneys.

The incentive appears to have paid off. Researchers found that speeding violations were reduced all around, including egregious violations, or when motorists drive more than 9 mph above the speed limit.

Money is clearly a motivation, but so is penalty. Tests subjects lost 3 cents from their prize every time they went 5 to 8 mph above the speed limit. That penalty doubled every time they drove over 9 mph over the limit.

The researchers think making a game out of it motivated some drivers to limit their speeding. There have also been numerous studies over the last several decades that suggest people tend to monitor losses that are slow and accumulating — known to some as the “ticking meter” phenomenon.
Whatever the reason, the study shows that such devices indeed work to limit speeding. And while it may not be practical or realistic to have them in every vehicle, some insurance companies may in the future offer them to drivers who may want to lower their premiums.

Increased traffic volume over July 4 could mean more crashes

It’s always important to drive especially carefully over holiday weekends to avoid car accidents. Memorial Day and Labor Day are notorious for the number of deadly crashes that occur, and it should be noted that this July 4 is going to be a busy one on the roads as well.

For the first time in several years, more Americans will be traveling for the holiday, which falls on a Wednesday this year. Over 42 million Americans are expected to travel to enjoy Independence Day festivities at least 50 miles away. About 35.5 million of them will travel by car.

That’s apparently a 42 percent increase over the number of motorists traveling that far in 2009, when the recession was probably at its peak. Now, falling gas prices may be encouraging people to travel and take a five-day weekend away from home. The average price for gas sits at about 15 cents lower than it did at this time last year.

The risk for car accidents, of course, increases as well. Over the July 4 weekend last year, there were 146 alcohol-related crashes in Pennsylvania that took the lives of six people. Authorities will be out in earnest over the holiday week to go after drunk drivers. Members of DUI task forces are already ramping up patrols and running checkpoints.

The holiday travel period is defined as July 3 through July 8. Please drive safely and look out for drivers who are not doing so.

New Jersey Woman Killed In Truck Accident

More often than not, truck accidents result in serious injuries or even death for the driver and passengers of the smaller vehicle. Because 18-wheelers are such monstrous vehicles, the impact of a crash can be severe. In a recent incident, a New Jersey woman was killed when her car collided with an oncoming truck.

The fatal truck accident occurred early this morning. A 20-year-old driver and a passenger were traveling south before 5:00 a.m. when she attempted to make a left turn onto another road. As she pulled across the westbound lane of the road, the oncoming truck crashed into her vehicle.

Following the collision, the woman was trapped in her vehicle, and it took emergency responders 20 minutes to free her. She was pronounced dead this morning at a nearby hospital. According to investigators, the passenger in her vehicle suffered serious injuries. He was reportedly transported to a local medical center for treatment. The 30-year-old truck driver was not harmed in the crash.

Parts of the road were closed for close to four hours following the crash. Authorities reopened the road shortly after 8:30 a.m. It seems that no charges will be filed against the truck driver.

This tragic accident illustrates the serious consequences of a truck accident. This woman was killed just weeks after celebrating her 20th birthday. Accidents like this one often affect more than just the victims, however. This woman’s family and friends may feel devastated by her death. To prevent similar accidents, it is important that all drivers keep their eyes on the road and avoid distractions inside their vehicles.