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Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Insolvency

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Miller Canfield has a broad-based Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Insolvency practice, representing all types of parties in their debtor-creditor relationships. We're consistently ranked as one of the top restructuring practices in Michigan.

Our lawyers have developed a variety of skills and expertise, allowing us to anticipate the philosophies and motivations of diverse parties in their restructurings, workouts and other debtor-creditor dealings. Our expertise extends beyond borders. Our offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia allow us to provide clients with seamless and consistent service throughout the world.

Among the services we provide are:

  • Local Government Restructuring: Assisting municipalities to restructure takes more than a single lawyer; it takes a team of professionals with years of subject-matter expertise that can efficiently provide advice in a fast-pace, complicated legal environment. Miller Canfield is uniquely suited to provide this advice having assisted in drafting the wholesale revisions of the emergency manager statute in Michigan.

    We have acted as special counsel to communities restructuring their operations, whether it be with its current government structure, through a consent agreement or an emergency manager. We've used the most challenging financings to enable communities to meet payroll obligations and pay for new infrastructure, including drafting the bond provisions of the Municipal Lighting Authority Act and acting as the Detroit Public Lighting Authority's special bankruptcy and bond counsel for the city's first financing during its bankruptcy.

    In the event that the 436 process outside of bankruptcy does not work for a struggling municipality, our extensive public financing experience uniquely positions us to assist municipalities, creditors and other interested parties. Our experience includes serving as co-counsel to the City of Detroit in the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy case ever filed.
  • Distressed Supplier Negotiations: We have been extensively involved in virtually every auto industry-related bankruptcy case in the U.S. and Canada in the last decade, representing the interests of a large American automobile manufacturer and several Tier 1 auto parts suppliers.
  • Creditor Committee Representation: We have represented numerous creditor committees from a variety of industries, including automotive, retail, packaging, building supply and paper products. Our knowledge and expertise in all aspects of Chapter 11 cases – from financing motions to asset sales – allow us to effectively advocate the positions of unsecured creditors throughout the case.
  • Litigation: We also have broad and extensive experience in bankruptcy litigation representing defendants and plaintiffs in preference, fraudulent transfer and dischargeability proceedings in bankruptcy courts across the country.
  • Workouts and Reorganizations: We represent debtors, creditors, trustees, bondholders and asset purchasers in a variety of financially distressed situations including bankruptcy cases and out of court liquidations and receiverships. Our clients include large public corporations as well as a wide variety of small businesses and individuals.
  • Distressed Loan Portfolios: We represent institutional and private equity clients throughout the United States and Canada in matters related to the acquisition, management, enforcement and divestiture of distressed loan portfolios. Our transactional experience includes negotiating and facilitating the purchase and sale of loans in lots from 1 to 500+, documenting modifications of existing loans and providing creative and economical solutions to real estate and title issues. Litigation and workout experience includes loan enforcement and collections, judicial and non-judicial foreclosures, receiverships and creditor representation in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy cases.
  • Cross-border Insolvencies: Miller Canfield’s lawyers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia have extensive experience acting for clients in complex international insolvencies and restructuring matters.

Miller Canfield lawyers have a variety of skills that, allow us to anticipate the philosophies and motivations of diverse parties in their restructurings, workouts and other debtor-creditor dealings. These enable us to successfully represent our financial services clients in the many and varied challenges they encounter with troubled borrowers, guarantors, counterparties and distressed businesses and properties.

Lender and Borrower Asset-Based Lending Deals

Counsel for lenders and borrowers in numerous asset-based lending deals collateralized by real estate, oil and gas, inventory and receivables assets

National Mortgage Company Forbearance/Workout Transactions

Representation of a major national mortgage servicing company in numerous forbearance/work-out transactions related to the collapse of the home mortgage securitization industry in the mid-to-late 2000s

Committee and Secured Lender Bankruptcies

Committee and secured lender representation in a number of bankruptcy cases in Texas and Michigan

Enhancing Creditor Recoveries Efficiently

In a bankruptcy case involving a regional home supply chain headquartered in Texas, Miller Canfield was given the role of investigating and prosecuting preference actions on behalf of the debtors. Recoveries on unsecured claims were initially estimated to yield 45-55 cents on the dollar. We investigated several hundred claims to select only those with likely recoveries, sent demand letters, and ultimately filed approximately 70 complaints. We negotiated settlements with each creditor, so that unsecured recoveries rose 50 percent (to approximately 75 cents on the dollar) without requiring a single creditor to waste resources on a trial.

ISDA Swaps and Derivatives Transactions

Counsel to a number of counterparties on ISDA swaps and derivatives transactions. 

Automotive OEM Bankruptcies and Workouts

Representation of an OEM auto company in numerous bankruptcy and work-out engagements throughout the U.S..

City of Detroit Bankruptcy

Miller Canfield serves as local counsel to the City of Detroit in connection with its Chapter 9 bankruptcy case filed in July 2013 and its ongoing restructuring efforts. In connection with this representation, Miller Canfield is (a) handling post-petition financing matters, (b) litigating and negotiating requests for relief from the automatic stay matter, and (c) assisting with the restructuring of various city departments. The City of Detroit has estimated that its total outstanding obligations as of the commencement of its bankruptcy case totaled approximately $18.5 billion.

The bankruptcy concluded with four transactions totaling $1.28 billion to fund revitalization efforts and creditor settlements. All four transactions include structures never before adapted to the municipal market. The City created these first-of-their-kind bond issues to execute its Chapter 9 plan of adjustment approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Nov. 7, 2014. 

The financings include:

  • $275 million Financial Recovery Income Tax Revenue and Refunding Bonds, Series 2014A/B (the “Exit Financing Bonds”), to refinance city debt, pay for quality of life projects, and pay for certain other settlement obligations;
  • Approximately $6.3 million in Financial Recovery Bonds, Series 2014B(1) and B(2) , to fund settlements with FGIC, Syncora, general unsecured creditors, holders and insurers of the City’s limited tax general obligation bonds and fund the City’s General Retirement System VEBA and the Police and Fire Retirement System VEBA;
  • Approximately $8.8 million in Financial Recovery Bonds, Series 2014C, to satisfy a portion of claims settled respecting the City’s pension obligation certificates; and

Approximately $2.8 million in Unlimited Tax General Obligation Restructured Local Project Bonds, Fourth Lien, delivered to the Michigan Finance Authority to pay for settlements with holders and insurers of the City’s unlimited tax general obligation debt.