Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights
Sutin, Thayer & Browne regularly represents secured and unsecured creditors in enforcing their rights in all state and federal courts in New Mexico, including United States Bankruptcy Court. We regularly appear in most tribal courts in New Mexico, as well as some tribal courts outside New Mexico, and are licensed to file actions in the courts of other states, such as Texas, Colorado and California. We have decades of experience in handling commercial and consumer creditors’ rights matters of all sizes.
At the pre-litigation stage, the firm advises clients about compliance issues, including privacy, lending and collection laws. The Firm assists in drafting and negotiating forbearance and modification agreements, as well as assists in the voluntary liquidation of businesses or voluntary surrender of collateral, including deeds in lieu of foreclosure. We also advise clients about issues involving competing creditors, such as the effect of statutory and tax liens.
Our broad experience in litigation representation ranges from small individual creditors to large, publicly traded companies, consumer loans to complex commercial loans, and matters involving a few thousand dollars to hundreds of millions of dollars. The Firm has represented creditors in thousands of actions to obtain and enforce money judgments and recover personal property collateral. The Firm represents lenders in real estate foreclosure actions involving a broad range of properties such as office buildings, hotels, ranches, farms, dairies, retail centers, nursing homes, undeveloped land, and residential developments. This experience also includes obtaining injunctive relief and appointing receivers to preserve property.
The Firm has substantial experience defending creditors against claims brought by individual consumers or commercial borrowers alleging unfair trade practices, truth in lending violations, fraud, and other lender liability theories.
The Firm represents clients in all facets of bankruptcy reorganization and liquidation proceedings. Our lawyers represent creditors in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 proceedings, and handle the filing and prosecution of involuntary bankruptcy petitions, negotiations related to protection of the creditors’ interests during the confirmation of plans of reorganization, and negotiation of or litigation related to cash collateral orders, assumption or rejection of executory contracts and 363 sales. The Firm regularly defends fraudulent conveyance and preference actions and other adversary proceedings arising in bankruptcy and other insolvency matters.
- We represented a major agricultural lender in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of a large nut processing plant, with collateral involving raw product, completed product, equipment, accounts receivable, insurance proceeds, and real estate. The plant, including equipment and raw product, was sold in a complex, multiday auction held under 11 U.S.C. 363, with multiple bidders and a successful closing that resulted in payment of our client’s debt in full, approximately five months from the petition date.
- In one of the largest commercial foreclosure actions in New Mexico history, we successfully foreclosed upon 55,000 acres of developed and undeveloped real estate in and near Albuquerque, New Mexico, securing a loan of $200 million. The firm and co-counsel brought to a successful conclusion litigation involving thousands of pages of loan and security documents, tens of thousands of acres of real estate, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, all in the context of ongoing disputes and at least two class action lawsuits between the former owners of the property at issue. The firm and co-counsel also obtained court appointment of a receiver to manage the complex, ongoing affairs of the previous owner of the property during the pendency of the lawsuit, and assisted the receiver and its local counsel with that management.
- We represented lenders in three separate complex foreclosure actions involving nursing homes, including obtaining court-appointed receivers in all three cases, each of which involved millions of dollars in debt.
- We handle large farm and ranch foreclosures and bankruptcy proceedings, large dairy receiverships and bankruptcies, and feedlot and other CAFO loan workouts, foreclosures and bankruptcies.
- After successfully representing a lender in a contentious state-court proceeding that involved lender-liability counterclaims, including obtaining judgment foreclosing on a shopping center securing a commercial debt of more than $5 million, we represented the lender in the borrower’s heavily contested single-asset real estate Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in which the borrower sought to reorganize a shopping center and substantially change the use and structure of key assets. After an extensive evidentiary hearing, relief from stay was granted as to all the lender’s collateral.
- We successfully defended a national bank against a claim for alleged violations of the automatic bankruptcy stay where the debtor alleged he was entitled to $485 million in damages.
- We obtained a preliminary injunction and writ of replevin that allowed a finance company to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars of vehicle collateral from a defaulted new-car dealership.
- We successfully represented a creditor in a contested foreclosure of a $2.5 million hotel, involving a complex analysis and litigated dispute over the redemption rights of governmental entities and the priority of numerous governmental liens. We had to oppose a tax sale to protect the creditor, as well as oppose a redemption action brought by assignees of the debtor, and successfully negotiate with multiple creditors.
- We represented a bank in a highly publicized Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of a borrower accused of running a Ponzi scheme involving tens of millions of dollars. We successfully moved for relief from the automatic stay to permit the bank to foreclose its security interest in a commercial building, securing a debt of nearly $2 million.
- We advanced important Eleventh Amendment issues in persuading the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that it could not issue certain types of orders or award damages in certain contexts against state agencies. We argued similar Eleventh Amendment issues to the Tenth Circuit after prevailing in Federal District Court to prevent federal jurisdiction over the New Mexico Highway and Transportation Department.