Biography

An experienced litigator and bankruptcy attorney, Michael has achieved results for his clients by combining collaborative negotiating skills with a hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners approach to dispute resolution and litigation. He has developed a reputation for efficiency and the ability to find creative solutions to seemingly intractable disputes.

In practice for more than 20 years, Michael is among the state’s most experienced Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy attorneys. He has been quoted on the subject by national news outlets including The New York Times, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, among others. He also represents local governments and public agencies in litigation as well as in bankruptcy matters.

In addition, Michael’s diverse practice includes advising companies on cross-border transactions and assisting American companies pursuing investments abroad.

Litigation

Michael is an accomplished litigator who represents plaintiffs and defendants in commercial and employment disputes, receivership cases, probate litigation, creditors’ rights issues and class actions. He has brought multiple jury trials to verdict. His clients include technology companies, trustees, receivers and other fiduciaries, financial institutions, small businesses, developers and companies in the hospitality industry.

Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring

In the bankruptcy arena, Michael represents debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees and trustees in bankruptcy disputes throughout the state of California and nationally. He takes a creative approach to dispute resolution with the goal of maximizing recovery for clients inside and outside the courtroom. Michael has extensive experience litigating preferences, fraudulent conveyances, claims objections and plan confirmation, and he frequently advises clients in financial distress on bankruptcy avoidance. He has secured multimillion-dollar recoveries for clients in preferential transfer and avoid action proceedings.

Michael is a registered mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California.

Public Entities

Michael represents public entities, including local and state governments and agencies, in disputes in bankruptcy court as well other courts throughout California. He has assisted multiple government bodies and public agencies in Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy proceedings, and in restructuring their finances to avoid Chapter 9 proceedings. He has also represented a number of public entities in state court receivership matters as well as in the bankruptcy cases of the owners of blighted properties.

Representative Matters

  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Ankra Behavioral Health (Bankr. N.D. Cal.)
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Heavenly Couture (Bankr. C.D. Cal.).
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of SpeedVegas (Bankr. D. Del.).
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of West Contra Costa Healthcare District (Bankr. N.D. Cal.).
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Tri-Valley Learning Corporation (Bankr. N.D. Cal.).
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Fresh & Easy, Inc. (Bankr. D. Del.).
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of NJOY, Inc. (Bankr. D. Del.).
  • Counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Santa Cruz Berry Farming, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Cal.).
  • Counsel for major secured creditor in Chapter 9 case of Kennewick Public Hospital (Bankr. E.D. Wash.).
  • Lead counsel for Palm Drive Health Care District in its Chapter 9 case (Bankr. N.D. Cal.).
  • Assisted the city of Richmond, California, in restructuring its finances to avoid filing for bankruptcy.
  • Successfully represented a California county in negotiations with state regulators over a budget shortfall to prevent the need for a Chapter 9 filing.
  • Served as lead bankruptcy counsel to the Official Committee of Equity Investors in California Mortgage and Realty (CMR) cases in the Northern District of California, which involved more than 1,200 equity investors with claims based on more than $200 million in investments.
  • Represented a Healthcare District in obtaining significant concessions from creditors thereby avoiding a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing.
  • Represented City of Eureka, California, in a Chapter 11 matter involving the owner of 30 parcels of blighted commercial and residential real estate.
  • Represented City of Oakland in a bankruptcy matter involving a residential hotel.

Before Fox Rothschild

Michael has practiced at various bankruptcy and litigation firms throughout California. Prior to his arrival at Fox, he served as chair of the municipal debt restructuring and bankruptcy practice group at a California law firm.

He is a former judicial extern for The Hon. Lisa Hill Fenning of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.

Beyond Fox Rothschild

Michael has spoken and written extensively on bankruptcy topics, particularly in the arena of government issues related to potential Chapter 9 bankruptcy filings.

Specifically, Michael was approached by national publications to provide commentary following the ruling that declared the City of Stockton, California, eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, as well as following Detroit’s bankruptcy filing. He appeared in a variety of news outlets including: