The Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group at Stark & Stark has a long history of representing secured lenders, equipment lessors, commercial landlords, trade creditors and distressed debt buyers in complex restructurings, out-of-court workouts, foreclosures, receiverships, replevins and bankruptcy litigation matters in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Established as a core practice area in 1939, our attorneys have been appointed to the panel of bankruptcy trustees by the Office of United States Trustee, Bankruptcy Lawyers Advisory Board and the New Jersey Local Bankruptcy Rules Committee.
Complimented by the Firm’s highly accomplished Litigation Group, the Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group is capable of handling litigation matters involving creditors in state or federal court. The Group also works closely with the Firm’s Land Use Group, Environmental Law Group, and the Commercial Real Estate Group to handle unusual and complex issues as they arise in the collection process.
Commercial Loan Workout Legal Services
Stark & Stark’s Commercial Loan Workout Group has extensive experience in representing lenders and equipment lessors in developing and implementing cost-effective and creative loan workout solutions in complex debt restructuring transactions. Our team of workout attorneys is able to draw on the expertise of other lawyers within the firm in a multidisciplinary approach to challenging legal issues confronting lenders and lessors, including environmental, land use, and corporate issues. Our loan workout lawyers have the expertise and knowledge to serve lenders and lessors, including:
- Reviewing and analyzing loan documents and identifying problems before litigation is commenced.
- Negotiating and documenting loan modification and forbearance agreements.
- Negotiating and documenting deeds in lieu of foreclosure, pre-litigation auction sales, or other alternatives to judicial foreclosure or bankruptcy.
- If transfer of the debtor’s interest in the property to the mortgagee is in the best interest of the mortgagee, we provide legal services that assist in the management and protection of the property pending later disposition in a better market.
- Advising commercial lenders on environmental matters, including applicability of New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Protection act, the Industrial Site Recovery Act, and other environmental statutes.
Stark & Stark’s Loan Workout Group consists of experienced litigators and transactional lawyers who work as a team as issues arise. If a loan workout is not successful and litigation is required, the transition from one lawyer to another is seamless.
Foreclosure and Rent Receiver Legal Services
Stark & Stark attorneys represent mortgage lenders and debt buyers in the foreclosure of commercial and residential properties throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our client base includes national and regional banks, credit unions, finance companies, community banks, and distressed debt buyers. We obtain prompt relief for our clients at a reasonable cost.
Stark & Stark handles all aspects of the mortgage foreclosure process, from the issuance of any required notices through the entry of a foreclosure judgment and the scheduling of a sheriff’s sale. Stark & Stark also handles all post-sale issues that may be confronted once property is transferred to the REO Group of a lender. We are registered with the New Jersey Superior Court to file foreclosure pleadings electronically so that the process will proceed expeditiously.
For income producing properties, we often seek the appointment of a receiver to collect the rents, manage the property, and possibly to sell the property prior to completion of the foreclosure process. Stark & Stark lawyers think outside of the box and seek creative solutions to problems. Examples of the types of problems we have handled in the foreclosure process include:
- Foreclosure of operating farms with livestock on site.
- Foreclosing operating hotels with state issued liquor licenses.
- Foreclosing partially built residential developments and protecting development approvals during the foreclosure process.
- Challenging redevelopment plans and PILOT agreements (Payment in Lieu of taxes) in order to remove restrictions and lower the real estate tax liability.
- Selling property pendent lite (sale prior to end of case) in order to liquidate property on an expedited basis.
- Foreclosing special use properties.
Stark & Stark also handles post-sale issues, including removal of owners and tenants, and handling the sale of personal property remaining on site.
As an added bonus, Stark & Stark’s Tax Appeal Group works closely with the Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group to file tax appeals during the foreclosure process to help lower the carrying costs for lenders.
Equipment Lease Recovery, Collateral Recovery, and Replevin Legal Services
Stark & Stark has a knowledgeable and experienced group of leasing attorneys. Armed with Article 2, 2A, and 9 knowledge; creditors’ rights experience; and a thorough understanding of equipment leasing documents and mechanics; our team has the ability to move through state court remedies and bankruptcy court procedures to achieve results.
Practicing in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, our lease attorneys are able to move rapidly through each of the various jurisdictions to recover assets on the move. If assets are located in numerous states, our team can achieve results simultaneously in multiple jurisdictions. The firm has long held a prominent position with a nationally recognized network of leasing attorneys, the Lease Enforcement Attorney Network (LEAN), to coordinate efforts seamlessly across jurisdictions to satisfy client goals.
Stark & Stark has represented national and regional clients in the recovery of highly sophisticated medical equipment, leased vehicles, and other specialized leased equipment and the recovery of money damages resulting from the defaulted leases. These recoveries have been accomplished by our lawyers by commencing with emergency orders to show cause with restraints in state courts and when appropriate, utilizing bankruptcy applications in the bankruptcy courts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York.
The Equipment Leasing Practice Group is actively involved in the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) and other trade organizations. Its members have lectured at various national meetings and authored articles on a wide range of lease, workout, arbitration clause enforcement and related UCC topics.
Bankruptcy Litigation and Representation Legal Services
Our team of skilled bankruptcy attorneys has extensive experience in the protection of creditors’ rights in bankruptcy cases. We leverage our knowledge and experience to provide legal services relating to all aspects of complex Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy matters, including:
- Litigating stay relief motions and discharge actions;
- Representing creditors and buyers in bankruptcy sales (363 sales);
- Defending preference, fraudulent transfer and lien avoidance actions;
- Contesting cash collateral motions and plan confirmation;
- Representing lenders in DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing;
- Representing Chapter 7 trustees in bankruptcy court and state court;
- Representing condominium an homeowners associations in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases; and,
- Protecting the rights of commercial landlords in complex Chapter 11 cases.
Stark & Stark has represented creditors in many complex Chapter 11 cases. Among the cases that our lawyers have represented clients include:
- Kara Homes
- Solomon Dwek
- The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (A & P)
- Radio Shack
- Sports Authority
Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors and State Court Receiverships
The cost to liquidate a company utilizing the bankruptcy process can be expensive. As a result, lenders and businesses are looking at alternative vehicles to liquidate, including Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors and state court receiverships. In each case, a third party takes control of the assets or business, liquidates the assets, and resolves claims with court supervisions.
Stark & Stark’s Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Group has extensive experience in handling these types of matters. Attorneys in the group have been the Assignee for the certain companies and understand the nuances of the liquidation process. In addition, Stark & Stark attorneys represent creditors in prosecuting claims and defending preference claims made by Assignees. Since the New Jersey courts do not handle Assignment cases on a regular basis, it is important to have experienced counsel involved to protect you rights.
State court receiverships are also an area that Stark & Stark has experience. Courts have the ability to appoint a receiver or fiscal agent for a company, a remedy that creditor’s often pursue. Since Stark & Stark lawyers have substantial experience in matters involving the liquidation of companies, it has an extensive network of professionals to call upon to assistance, including auctioneers, real estate brokers and appraisers
Stark & Stark offers quality counsel to lenders and servicers in the management and sale of real estate owned (REO) properties, as well as all aspects of residential and commercial real estate conveyances, including closing and title curative services.
Services provided to clients include:
- Residential and commercial closings
- Identifying and litigating title claims
- Negotiating and drafting new leases for existing or new tenants
- Prosecuting evictions
- Analyzing and resolving environmental claims
- Filing and prosecuting real estate tax appeals.
Stark & Stark is able to provide a “one stop” law firm who could handle all aspects REO property services including defaulted loan, from the initial demand through the ultimate sale of the real estate.