Overview

HunterMaclean regularly represents financial institutions, lessors, trade creditors, and other businesses in bankruptcy proceedings, loan workouts, collections and foreclosures, and business restructurings. HunterMaclean’s bankruptcy and creditors’ rights group has expertise in representing Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors and debtors in Chapter 11 cases.

We provide clients with attentive and cost-effective representation designed to maximize creditor outcomes in liquidation and reorganization proceedings, whether a prompt negotiated resolution, a settled dispute preserving business relationships, or aggressive litigation.

Because bankruptcy and collection matters may involve other legal issues, our group draws upon HunterMaclean’s extensive resources in business litigation, alternative dispute resolution, commercial transactions, real estate law, and tax law.

Experience

  • Counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 case of TitleMax Holdings and affiliates. Pursuant to the confirmed Plan of Reorganization, unsecured creditors were paid 100 percent of their allowed claims with interest.
  • Counsel to the petitioning creditors and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 case of Dicon Technologies, LLC. Through the efforts of the petitioning creditors and the Committee, the Debtor’s assets were removed from the control of a parent company whose owners have been charged in a massive penny stock fraud scheme. The Chapter 11 Trustee was able to sell the Debtor’s assets on a going concern basis to a purchaser who assumed the lease for the company’s facility in Black Creek, Georgia.
  • Local counsel to stalking horse bidder in the Chapter 11 case of Sea Island Company. The stalking horse bidder joined forces with another prospective purchaser and became the successful bidder at auction. In addition to representing the purchaser in the bankruptcy case, HunterMaclean’s real estate group provided extensive assistance to the purchaser throughout the acquisition process, including matters of title, land use, zoning and permitting, and taxation.
  • Counsel to largest trade creditor and chairperson of Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in Chapter 11 case of specialty food ingredient manufacturer.
  • Successful defense of a $1.8 million fraudulent transfer claim against an investor who had provided financing to the debtor through the vehicle of a sale of property to the investor subject to a repurchase option.
  • Special litigation counsel to Chapter 7 Trustee in pursuing fraudulent conveyance action against the business partners of a debtor. Recovered over $750,000 in what was believed to be a no-asset case.
  • Representation of regional and national financial institutions, and distressed debt investors, as secured creditors in numerous bankruptcy cases and non-bankruptcy workouts.
  • Representation of commercial landlords in nationally significant Chapter 11 cases such as Goody’s, Movie Gallery, Bruno’s Supermarkets, and National Dry Cleaners.
  • Representation of credit unions and other creditors in consumer Chapter 7 and 13 cases involving auto loans and home mortgages.
  • Representation of a Savannah resort developer as Debtor in Possession in a Chapter 11 proceeding and a related adversary proceeding against his lender, who had failed to fund a loan commitment after being cited for securities fraud in Canada. Our suit enabled the client to maintain venue in Georgia, instead of California where the lender’s Chapter 11 was pending, and enabled the client to settle the case and retain his property.
  • Counsel to Debtor Durango Georgia Paper Company in Chapter 11 case involving a paper mill and significant land holdings in St. Marys, Georgia.
  • Successful defense of challenge to creditor claim, from bankruptcy court to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
  • Successful litigation establishing nondischargeablilty of debt, from bankruptcy court to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Representation of banks, other financial institutions, and business clients in many problem loan workouts and foreclosures, bankruptcies, and related litigation.
  • Successful defense of the former owner of a motel in Tennessee in a suit by a lender seeking a $4 million deficiency judgment pursuant to a ten year-old guaranty.
  • Successful obtainment of an injunction to stop a foreclosure against a Savannah hotel because the lender’s unauthorized disclosure of client’s confidential financial information to potential bidders at the sale may have violated bank secrecy laws. The ruling enabled the client to sell the hotel and to avoid a multi-million dollar deficiency.
  • ROCOR International, Inc. U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Oklahoma City. Representation of a secured creditor in the bankruptcy of a refrigerated trucking company. Our client recovered approximately $1.5 million of its claim, which was secured by real estate and rolling stock.
  • Printmasters Acquisition Company. U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Atlanta. Successful objection to a Section 363 sale, forcing the insiders seeking to acquire Debtor to pay our client $1.7 million plus attorney’s fees in a case concerning specialty printing equipment located in Alabama.
  • Flooring America, Inc. Successful fight against Debtor’s attempt to sell our client’s equipment collateral. Negotiated a workout under which client’s debt and our attorneys’ fees were paid in full.
  • Buckeye Foods, Inc. and Restaurant Properties, Inc. Successful obtainment of dismissal of a Chapter 11 filing for bad faith by a Debtor that owned seven Burger King franchises in Atlanta; recovered and liquidated collateral.
  • Five Star Partners. Successful defeat of Debtor’s attempt to avoid our Isle of Jersey client’s debt deed on an Atlanta hotel on the ground that it had failed to register as an alien corporation under the Georgia RICO act. Eventually obtained complete payoff of debt plus attorney’s fees. See Five Star Partners, L.P. v. Vincent Netherlands Properties, N.V. (In re Five Star Partners), 169 B.R. (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 1994)(related case).

Publications & Presentations

Publications

Strengthening the Financial Foundation of Your Business in the New Year

January is an important time to set goals, finalize budgets, and strategize for the coming year. Francesca Macchiaverna discusses how businesses can benefit from extending credit to their clients in this article for BiS.

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Good credit practices to minimize business losses

Credit is an important aspect of every modern business, but it has to be managed well. This article shares some basic good credit practices that can help minimize potential future losses.

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Business Bankruptcies a Sign of the Times

Bankruptcy has become a major reality in today’s business world due to the combination of a lengthy recession, high unemployment and a sluggish real estate market. Although filing for bankruptcy can help restructure or reduce business debt, the choice does not come without serious consequences.

Bankruptcy laws are designed to help individuals and business owners who can no longer pay their creditors get a “fresh start” by liquidating assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation.

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Bankruptcy vs. Workouts

Many businesses and business owners are in financial trouble during the current “Great Recession.”

Real estate related companies such as developers, community banks, mortgage brokers, realtors and contractors are particularly at risk. The reasons are simple: the bubble has burst, the value of commercial real estate has declined by 30% or more, the borrowers are required to continue to pay interest, the banks are required by the regulators to “clean up” their books by dumping real estate loans and demanding higher interest and earlier pay-downs of principal, and the borrowers have run out of cash at a time when their incomes are severely depressed.

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Proceed With Caution When Servicing Chapter 11 Companies

In a recent decision handed down by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2010, a vendor dealing with a company operating in Chapter 11 was ordered to give back almost $2 million in payments on post-bankruptcy invoices – because, unbeknownst to the vendor, the debtor did not have authority to expend its cash. When considering any business transactions with companies operating within bankruptcy proceedings, it is essential to protect yourself from a similar situation that subsequently can result in significant losses.

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Tenant Bankruptcy a Sign of the Times

In the recent economic slowdown, many national and regional retail chains — like Steve and Barry’s, Linens ‘n Things and Goody’s Family Clothing — have resorted to bankruptcy courts to downsize or liquidate.

Additional filings are likely to occur before this economic cycle is over. Landlord preparedness and knowledge is key when it comes to protecting assets and minimizing risk.

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Presentations

Dealing with the Pro Se Party

Presented by Robert M. Cunningham at the 23rd Annual Bankruptcy Law Seminar of the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute (CBLI) on May 8, 2015.

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Legal Lunch & Learn: Minimizing Business Losses and Credit Issues with Open Accounts, Defaults, and Bankruptcy

Presented by Robert M. Cunningham at the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce on January 21, 2015, in Brunswick, Georgia.

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Real Estate Issues in Bankruptcy

Presented at the Annual Title Standards Seminar sponsored by the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia and the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia in October 2013 by Robert M. Cunningham.

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Recent Developments

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in April 2012. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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Bankruptcy Basics for Creditor's Attorneys

Presented for the Glynn County Bar Association in Brunswick, Georgia, in March 2011 by Robert M. Cunningham.

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ALFA International Retail-Real Estate & Business Litigation Joint Practice Group Seminar

Took place in Palm Beach, Florida, in June 2010. A HunterMaclean attorney participated as a panelist.

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Creditor Matters

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in April 2009. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal Symposium

Took place in Atlanta, Georgia, in March 2006. A HunterMaclean attorney participated as a panelist.

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Hot Topics Seminar

Hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in January 2006. A HunterMaclean attorney participated as a faculty member.

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Limits on the Automatic Stay/New Creditor Notice Requirements of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & Consumer Protection Act of 2005

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in September 2005. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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Recent Developments

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in May 2002. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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Attorney's Fees

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in April 1999. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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Ethics

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in May 1998. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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Ch. 13 Procedures: Plans, Claims, Major Matters

Seminar hosted by the Coastal Bankruptcy Law Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in May 1997. Robert M. Cunningham participated as a faculty member.

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News

Attorneys Christopher H. Smith, Francesca Macchiaverna, and Patrick L. Barkley join HunterMaclean

HunterMaclean is pleased to announce that the firm’s Savannah office has welcomed three new attorneys: Christopher H. “Smitty” Smith, Francesca Macchiaverna, and Patrick L. Barkley.

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Georgia CEO: HunterMaclean Marks 135 Years in the Practice of Law

The year 2014 marks the 135th anniversary of HunterMaclean. Lucy Adams from Georgia CEO interviewed Managing Partner Frank Macgill regarding HunterMaclean’s history, areas of expertise, milestone anniversary, and future.

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HunterMaclean Attorneys Selected as Georgia Trend 2013 Legal Elite

HunterMaclean is pleased to announce that Georgia Trend recently honored five HunterMaclean attorneys in the magazine’s annual “Legal Elite” ranking, which recognizes top attorneys in the state of Georgia.

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