Practice Interests

Debtor-in-Possession representation in Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 provides businesses means by which they can reorganize under protection of the Bankruptcy Court. Chapter 11’s are theoretically available to individuals and to small businesses, but generally works only for larger corporations. Chapter 11’s often fail, or if they succeed at such a high price that our clients found the process not worth the effort, unless the debt involved is at least $1 million.

This office has handled a number of significant Chapter 11 cases, including, In Re: Loron Williams, a farm bankruptcy case, thought to have been the largest in the Middle District of Georgia,  In Re: Nidrah Plantation, Inc., another farm case, In Re: M&R Real Estate, LLC, In Re: RWD Real Estate, LLC ( part of the Rob Doll Nissan cluster of cases), In Re: Goldens’ Foundry and Machine Company, Inc.

We provide “screening” services to review potential Chapter 11’s and advise clients as to whether or not filing would be desirable or beneficial on a graduated fee scale ranging from $500.00 to $1,000.00. Please contact this office for more information.

Committee representation in Chapter 11.

When a Chapter 11 case is filed, under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, creditors, as a class, are entitled to representation. Creditors may form one or more official committees, which are authorized to take official positions in the bankruptcy case. They also may file, without necessity of court authority, one or more “ad hoc” or unofficial committees, which can take a position in a bankruptcy case to the extent that any one individual could.

We have represented official creditor committees in In Re: Lummus Industries, Inc., In Re: Pascoe Building Systems, In Re: Segall & Sons, In Re: Rental Supply Company.

This office has also represented unofficial or ad hoc committees and former employees in In Re: Tom’s Foods, Inc., and In Re, Johnston Industries, Inc.

Trustee Appointment and Representation.

When a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, the Court appoints an “interim” trustee, but the creditors may, if they wish, vote to appoint a private trustee. This office has acted as a private trustee in a number of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, including, most recently In Re: Zeferino Lucio-Anaya, a case in which over $8 million was recovered for payment of creditor claims.

Additionally, this office has represented a number of trustees in other bankruptcy cases where the interim trustee was appointed as the final trustee, and there was no election, and the trustee engaged it as special counsel.

Prosecution and Defense of Preference Cases.

When a bankruptcy case is filed either under any chapter, including Chapter 7 or Chapter 11, the debtor is required to report to the Court payments made to creditors within one year of case filing. If the payments made to creditors were not fair, made in equal proportions to all the creditors, then those creditors who have received more than their fair share can be required to pay money back through “preference recoveries” under 11 U.S.C. §547.

Preferences are frequently brought in both Chapter 11 cases and Chapter 7 cases by trustees, and this office has prosecuted or defended over two hundred (200) preference cases over the last twenty-five (25) years in which we have concentrated in the bankruptcy area.

Other Commercial and Business Litigation.

This office has prosecuted and defended a number of state and federal court claims arising out of defaulted debts and failed companies, other than preference suits mentioned in the preceding section. This practice includes defense of debt cases, prosecution of debt cases, and debt collection cases, where the amount in controversy is at least $15,000.00.

This office has held, with a short interruption, a listing in the American Lawyers’ Quarterly (listing for out of town commercial accounts) for almost thirty (30) years.

Representation in Involuntary Bankruptcy Proceedings.

Bankruptcy cases may be brought by creditors, wishing to force a debtor to liquidation, through the involuntary bankruptcy process. This office has prosecuted or defended numerous such cases including a successful case against one public company and the successful defense of another.

Consumer Bankruptcy.

This office maintains a limited practice in the area of consumer bankruptcy. Although consumer bankruptcy cases are handled on a case by case basis, and at a substantial reduction from regular hourly rates, we consider this to be a pro bono effort, and this practice is substantially limited.

Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Fife M. Whiteside is a Georgia licensed and certified mediator and arbitrator, and frequently provides mediation services in debt or commercial cases. He also is trained and qualified in collaborative law practice.