Bankruptcy Litigation

Davis Polk is widely recognized as one of the world’s premier law firms for its insolvency and restructuring practice. Our lawyers represent companies, financial institutions, hedge funds, investors, acquirers, trustees, administrators and receivers in connection with the largest and most complex restructurings. As one of the only firms in the world with both a leading debtor-side and lender-side practice, we understand the goals of all stakeholders and can develop aggressive strategies to maximize recoveries for our clients.

Our bankruptcy litigation team’s unique capabilities allow us to better address a range of issues. With experienced litigators, we handle a wide-range of complex commercial litigations in jurisdictions across the world, providing focus and insight that are not present when a bankruptcy litigation is led solely by transactional bankruptcy lawyers or by general commercial litigators. Our skilled lawyers routinely take leading roles in developing and advancing arguments, effectively analyze complex bankruptcy issues in order to protect our clients’ interests, and work seamlessly with our corporate colleagues and general commercial litigators in complimentary roles. 

We routinely litigate bankruptcy-related claims and issues in multiple jurisdictions:

    • Fraudulent Conveyance 

    • Equitable Subordination

    • Recharacterization

    • Preferences

    • Fraud

    • Insider/Control Issues

    • Valuation Disputes

We litigate and advocate in situations that are unique to the bankruptcy sphere:

    • Post-settlement defense and plan enforcement
    • Examiners
    • In-Bankruptcy Mediation
    • In-Bankruptcy Investigations

In addition to involvement in almost every aspect of the Insolvency and Restructuring practice, our Bankruptcy Litigation group has been involved in the significant matters described below.

Recognition

Chambers USA

  • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Nationwide, Band 1
  • Client Comments:
    • Davis Polk is "[h]ighly respected for both litigation and advisory work for leading financial institutions acting as administrative agents or lenders in bankruptcy matters."
    • "A team of very bright people. You don’t see them in the run-of-the-mill, day-to-day issues; you see them working in the highly sophisticated bankruptcies."
    • "Excellent lawyers, negotiators and business people. They have a firm grasp of the specific nuances of Chapter 11, but can also act as good counselors on making informed business decisions."

Notable Matters

  • Ad Hoc Group of Bondholders. We represented an ad hoc group of bondholders (the “Ad Hoc Group”) who hold approximately $935 million of bonds issued by the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico (“GDB”), in litigation before the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico and in connection with a possible restructuring of approximately $3.7 billion of GDB debt and in associated litigation.
  • Hedge and Private Equity Funds. We represented a group of hedge and private equity funds constituting the “First Out Lenders” in connection with RadioShack’s chapter 11 case, including significant litigation with the Unsecured Creditors’ Committee and other major creditors of the debtor.
  • Patriot Coal. We represented Patriot Coal Corporation in connection with all aspects of its reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, the related $802 million in debtor-in-possession financing, as well as significant litigation and successful trail advocacy before the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Patriot Coal is one of the largest coal producers in the United States and the bankruptcy proceeding involved numerous stakeholders and contested issues.

  • JPMorgan Chase. We successfully represented JPMorgan Chase Bank in one of the largest and most contentious bankruptcy matters on record: a multibillion-dollar fraudulent conveyance litigation challenging the 2007 leveraged buyout of Tribune Company wherein creditors seek to avoid approximately $10 billion in debt. 

  • Sterling Equity. We successfully represented Sterling Equities, the owners of the New York Mets, in obtaining significant favorable decisions in connection with highly publicized litigation arising from the Madoff liquidation.
  • Delphi Automotive plc. We succeeded in having a multimillion-dollar suit filed against our client Delphi Automotive PLC, by a number of hedge funds claiming that they were entitled to up to $300 million in payments as a result of Delphi’s IPO under the terms of Delphi’s plan of reorganization, dismissed with prejudice. The dismissal was affirmed in its entirety on appeal.
  • Lehman Brothers International. We represented the joint administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (LBIE) in connection with the litigation and settlement of $38 billion in claims between LBIE and Lehman Brothers Inc. (LBI). The Lehman Brothers SIPA case is one of the largest SIPA proceeding on record involving an insolvent broker-dealer. 

  • Citi. We represented Citi in a fraudulent conveyance litigation challenging a $21 billion leveraged buyout by Basell of chemical giant Lyondell, which resulted in a very favorable settlement for Citi after contentious litigation.

  • We won significant victories in respective bankruptcy proceedings related to the rejection of collective bargaining rights, pension termination and modification of retiree health care benefits for:

    • Delta Air Lines

    • Frontier Airlines

    • Pinnacle Airlines 

    • The Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • Cross-Border Financial and Corporate Clients. We have instituted or otherwise have been involved in Chapter 15 and Section 304 cases commencing ancillary actions under the Bankruptcy Code in aid of proceedings in local jurisdictions for several cross-border financial and corporate clients, including:

    •  U.K. real-estate entity 

    • A French Bank 

    • Argentine Telecom Company