A retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey, Ray joined Fox in July 2013. With more than a decade of judicial service, he brings a wealth of experience to the firm’s national Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy Department. Notably, Ray presided over Zais Investment Grade Limited VII, an involuntary Chapter 11 case against a Cayman Islands entity that issued and invested in collateralized debt obligations. He served as visiting bankruptcy judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware where he presided over the Chapter 11 case of Montgomery Ward and the Chapter 11 case of Federal Mogul filed by more than 130 multinational companies with parallel insolvency proceedings in England involving billions of dollars in asbestos claims.
While on the bench, Ray earned a reputation for helping parties settle their disputes in his cases and for his colleagues in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. He completed the first bankruptcy mediation training offered by the American Bankruptcy Institute and St. John’s University School of Law. He was an instructor in the inaugural training for mediators offered by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey and received training in arbitration from the American Arbitration Association. Ray has been appointed to the Panel of Mediators for the Bankruptcy Courts in New Jersey, Delaware and the Western District of Pennsylvania, as well as the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He is on the Roster of Mediators and Arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals and the Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators for Federal Arbitration, Inc. (FedArb).
With the approval of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Ray served as mediator for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Among his most well-known and significant mediations is the Chapter 11 case filed by bank holding company Washington Mutual, Inc. following the largest bank failure in history. The mediation, which was covered by major news outlets across the country, led to a bankruptcy exit plan valued at $7 billion and spawned mediation with additional groups of claimants. Ray was lauded in the official court transcript for his dedication and commitment to achieving a resolution that benefitted all parties involved in the matter.
Cases Ray has mediated include:
- An adversary proceeding for trade secret and trademark infringement with damages estimated at $500 million.
- Chapter 11 plan negotiations between debtors operating apartment complexes in several states and a $475 million secured claim.
- A contested $1.4 million fee application.
- A $13 million claim by members of certified class of mortgage borrowers for alleged violations of Missouri’s Second Mortgage Act.
- Plan negotiations between debtors with commercial properties in several states and a $160 million secured creditor.
- An objection to a $4.1 million claim by an asset manager.
- A $3 million fraudulent conveyance action against a debtor’s former executives.
- A $500 million construction contract and mechanics lien action.
- A $5 million fire and theft property damage insurance claim.
- A $10 million avoidance action by a liquidating trustee against a major supplier.
- A legal malpractice claim against a debtor’s attorney for failure to schedule judgment creditors.
- Designated mediator for more than 100 preference cases in a retail Chapter 11 case.
- Copyright infringement claim.
- Predatory lending suit.
- Plan negotiations for a law firm Chapter 11 case.
- A retail pharmacy Chapter 11.
- WARN Act claims in a bankruptcy case.
Ray has been engaged as an expert witness in a variety of bankruptcy related matters. For example Ray has been asked to opine on:
- The settlement value of more than two dozen causes of action with potential damages in the tens of billions of dollars.
- Whether a debtors’ attorney’s advice was proper where the debtors faced criminal prosecution and an objection to discharge.
- The remedies available to a secured creditor following default under a confirmed Chapter 11 plan.
- The likelihood of success of an appeal to a United States Court of Appeals.
- The reasonableness of attorney’s fees for a third party defendant in a declaratory judgment action in the United States District Court.
Before Fox Rothschild
Prior to his appointment to the bench in 1999, Ray spearheaded the bankruptcy department of a major New Jersey law firm, primarily representing secured lenders and other creditors in corporate Chapter 11 cases. During the economic downturn and banking crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s, he represented the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in bankruptcy matters and commercial litigation.
Beyond Fox Rothschild
An active participant in bar activities, Ray is former chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Pro Bono Services Committee. In 1999, he received the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Legislative Services Award for his work in spearheading the passage of a law providing counsel to indigent children and parents in guardianship and parental rights proceedings.
In 1997, Ray was recognized by Legal Services of New Jersey with the Equal Justice Medal for his role as chair of the NJSBA Bankruptcy Law Section’s Pro Bono Bankruptcy Committee.
Ray was also an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Seton Hall University School of Law, teaching courses on banking law and legal writing.
- National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
- American Bankruptcy Institute
- Mediation Committee
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- Bankruptcy Law Section
- Dispute Resolution Section (Trustee 2014-17)
- Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference
- Justice Marie L. Garibaldi ADR Inn of Court (Trustee 2015-16)
- Turnaround Management Association, New Jersey Chapter
Honors & Awards
- Outstanding Bankruptcy Judge, Turnarounds & Workouts (2007)
- National Association of Chapter 13 Trustees, Hon. Ralph E. Kelley Award (2007)
- Legislative Services Award by the New Jersey State Bar Association (1999)
- Equal Justice Award from Legal Services of New Jersey (1997)