James T. Bentley focuses on in-court and out-of-court restructurings, representing ad hoc committees of creditors, secured lenders, unsecured creditors and debtors. James regularly counsels a variety of constituencies on issues including foreclosures, claim challenges, cash collateral and debtor in possession financing, stay relief and director and officer liability claims. He is presently representing the ABL Lenders in the iHeart Media Inc. bankruptcy case pending in Texas, a significant vendor in the FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. bankruptcy case pending in Ohio and the debtors in the Bertucci’s Holdings case pending in Delaware. Additionally, James works with various international and domestic clients on insolvency-related issues in securitization transactions.

James has authored numerous articles on restructuring-related topics that have appeared in New York Law Journal, Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Law 360, The Bankruptcy Strategist and Bloomberg. James also has been frequently quoted on healthcare-related restructuring issues. Prior to joining SRZ, James clerked for the Honorable Carla E. Craig, Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York, was an associate in the finance department of Otterbourg P.C. and was an Assistant Vice President in the Global Corporate Banking Group at Citigroup. 

Representations

Ad Hoc Groups and Committees

Ad hoc group of lenders in connection with the out-of-court restructuring of bond debt of EB Holdings II, Inc.

Ad hoc committee of first lien noteholders and DIP lenders in Chapter 11 case of Digital Domain Media Group, Inc.

Ad hoc committee of second lien bondholders in their credit bid acquisition of the assets of the largest casual Mexican food restaurant chain in the United States in Chapter 11 case of Real Mex Restaurants, Inc.

Ad hoc group of secured lenders in their credit bid acquisition of a group of television stations in Chapter 11 case of Pappas Telecasting Inc.

Ad hoc group of multiemployer benefit plans as unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 case of B&M Linen Company.

Ad hoc committee of first lien lenders in Chapter 11 case of Global Geophysical Systems, Inc. et al.

Secured Creditors

TPG Specialty Lending, Inc., in its capacity as ABL Agent, in the Chapter 11 case of iHeartMedia, Inc., et al.

Burford Capital in connection with investment in litigation being prosecuted by Motors Liquidation Company Avoidance Action Trust, in Chapter 11 case of Motors Liquidation Company, f/k/a General Motors Corporation, et al.

TRGP in connection with investment in intellectual property claims prosecuted by Netlist, Inc., against major retailer.

Black Diamond and Spectrum Investment as prepetition first lien lenders and DIP lenders in Chapter 11 case of Allied Systems Holdings Inc.

Wells Fargo Capital Finance, as secured creditor in Chapter 11 case of Oceanaire Restaurant Company.

Fortress, as credit bidder in connection with acquisition of radio stations in Chapter 11 cases of Millcreek Broadcasting et al.

Wells Fargo Capital Finance, as DIP lender to a prepared foods manufacturer in Chapter 11 case of Chef Solutions Holdings.

Counsel to secured creditor regarding the negotiation of the consensual use of cash collateral for an oil and gas company in Chapter 11 case of Mahalo Energy (USA) Inc.

Goldman Sachs Special Situations, as secured creditor regarding the negotiation of the consensual use of cash collateral and exit financing for an oil and gas company in Chapter 11 case of Osyka Corporation.

Counsel to secured creditor regarding the negotiation of DIP financing for an oil and gas company in Chapter 11 case of Foothills Texas, Inc.

Counsel to secured creditor regarding the negotiation of DIP financing for an international oil and gas company in Chapter 11 case of Storm Cat Energy (USA) Corporation.

Numerous secured other creditors in out-of-court asset foreclosure.

Unsecured Creditors and Equity Holders

Murray Energy Corporation in the Chapter 11 cases of FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., et al.

Member of creditors' committee in Chapter 11 cases of Angelica Corporation, et al.

Panasonic Corporation of North America in the Chapter 11 cases of TK Holdings, Inc., et al. (Takata).

Member of creditors' committee in Chapter 11 cases of Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Inc., et al.

Chair of creditors' committee in Chapter 11 cases of Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc., et al.

Chair of creditors' committee in Chapter 11 cases of RIH Acquisitions NJ, LLC d/b/a The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, et al. 

Multiemployer benefit plan and 401(k) savings plan as members of creditors' committee in Chapter 11 cases of HMX Acquisition, LLC, et al.

Multiemployer pension plan in Chapter 11 cases of Trump Casino (TCI 2 Holding, LLC), et al. 

Multiemployer pension plan regarding the prosecution of a claim for withdrawal liability under ERISA in Chapter 11 case of Tropicana Casino (Adamar of New Jersey).

Represented equity sponsor in out-of-court reorganization of global operations for manufacturer of sealing systems for automotive applications.

Significant unsecured creditor and trade vendor in the negotiation of post-bankruptcy trade terms and claim settlement in Chapter 11 cases of Delphi Automotive, et al.

Debtors

Special Counsel to the debtors in the Chapter 11 cases of Bertuccis Holdings, et al.

Counsel to the foreign representative in the Chapter 15 cases of Premium Point Master Mortgage Credit Fund, Ltd., Premium Point Offshore Mortgage Credit Fund, Ltd.; Premium Point ERISA Master Mortgage Credit Fund, Ltd.; Premium Point ERISA Offshore Mortgage Credit Fund, Ltd.; Premium Point Master New Issue Opportunity Fund, Ltd.; Premium Point Offshore New Issue Opportunity Fund, Ltd.; Premium Point Mini-Master New Issue Opportunity Fund, Ltd.; and PPI Acq, Ltd.

Health Care

National Health Care, Inc., as purchaser of skilled nursing facility and real property in Chapter 11 cases of Hebrew Health Care, Inc., et al.

Primary Care Development Corporation, as seller of a health clinic in Chapter 11 case of Caritas Healthcare, Inc.

Advise numerous clients on acquisitions, claims trading, and financing of government receivables in the healthcare industry.

Distressed M&A

Albertsons Companies as purchaser in Chapter 11 cases of Haggen Holdings LLC et al.

D.B. Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund LP as secured creditor, DIP lender and credit bid buyer in Chapter 11 cases of Everything But Water et al.

Numerous credit bidding acquisitions on behalf of secured creditors.

Litigation

Wilmington Trust Co. in litigation to establish ownership of an expected tax refund of over $400 million for the bankruptcy estate in the Chapter 7 case of Downey Financial Corp.

Directors and officers seeking stay relief to access proceeds of a D&O insurance policy in Chapter 11 case of Profile Technologies, Inc.

Defended numerous creditors in preference and fraudulent transfer actions.

Various Structured Finance Transactions

Significant international and domestic financial institutions in connection with their structuring of “bankruptcy-remote” asset-backed securities and in the negotiation and drafting of “true sale” and “non-consolidation” opinions issued in connection with CLO and CDO transactions and warehouse credit facilities.

Pro Bono

Coordinating attorney for task force of SRZ attorneys in connection with partnership with CUNY Citizenship Now.

Coordinating attorney for task force of SRZ attorneys in connection with partnership with the Clemency Project.

Counsel various indigent New Yorkers on behalf of the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project in connection with the preparation of their Chapter 7 petitions.

Represented individual in divorce by publication on behalf of Sanctuary for Families.

Publications

“Schools Suffer When Debtor Tuition Payments Are Recovered,” Law360, Dec. 20, 2018

“Lower Courts Wrestle with Debtors’ Tuition Payments,” SRZ Alert, Dec. 12, 2018

“Taberna Bankruptcy Ruling Brings Relief For CDO Investors,” Law360, Nov. 30, 2018

“Two New Decisions Clarify Chapter 15 Requirements,” Law360, May 17, 2018

“Rejecting Tuition Payment Clawback: A Logical Result,” Law360, Oct. 23, 2017 

How Bankruptcy Can Maximize Health Care Businesses’ Value,” Law360, Oct. 4, 2017 (co-author)

“Sale of Closed Hospital Could Avoid California Attorney General's Conditions,” Bloomberg BNA - Health Law Reporter, May 25, 2017 (quoted)

“Navigating the Bankruptcy Court's Power to Modify a Secured Creditor's Lien,” Equipment Leasing Newsletter, February 2017 (co-author); republished in The Bankruptcy Strategist, April 2017

“Nursing Home Can't Use Bankruptcy Court to Stop Provider Agreement Terminations,” Bloomberg BNA - Health Law Reporter, Jul. 14, 2016 (quoted)

“3rd Circ. Grants More Flexibility to Section 363 Acquirers,” Law360, Sept. 23, 2015 (co-author)

“Third Circuit Approves Use of Escrow Agreements Funded by Acquirers to Pay Junior Creditors Before Senior Creditors,” SRZ Alert, Sept. 21, 2015 (co-author)

“Asset Sales: ABI Commission’s Recommendations Could Make Value Realization by Secured Creditors a Waiting Game of Diminishing Returns,” Bloomberg BNA – Bankruptcy Law Reporter, March 12, 2015 (co-author)

“ABI Commission Report Recommendations on DIP Financing Would Eliminate Lender Protection,” SRZ Alert, Dec. 30, 2014 (co-author)

Litigation Involving Florida Nursing Home Exposes Bankruptcy, Health Law Tension, Bloomberg BNA - Health Law Reporter, Dec. 11, 2014 (quoted)

“Health Care Business Restructuring for Secured Lenders,” SRZ Guide, July 2014 (co-author); republished in Bloomberg BNA – Bankruptcy Law Reporter, Sept. 25, 2014

Sick Times in Healthcare, The Daily Deal, Oct. 20, 2014 (quoted)

“False Claims Act Debts Held Non-Dischargeable in Bankruptcy,” New York Law Journal, June 5, 2014 (co-author)

“Credit Bid Buyers Beware: Delaware Bankruptcy Court Caps Credit Bid,” The Bankruptcy Strategist, May 2014 (co-author)

How Unsecured Creditors Push Ahead of Lenders Who in Fact Invested, Part III – Equitable Subordination vs. Recharacterization,” Commercial Bankruptcy Investor Blog, Jan. 23, 2014 (co-author)

How Unsecured Creditors Push Ahead of Lenders Who in Fact Invested, Part II – What is Recharacterization?Commercial Bankruptcy Investor Blog, Oct. 28, 2013 (co-author)

How Unsecured Creditors Push Ahead of Lenders Who in Fact Invested, Part I – What is Recharacterization?Commercial Bankruptcy Investor Blog, Oct. 3, 2013 (co-author)

“Lehman Claims Update: LBI and LBIE Announce Agreement in Principle to Resolve All Claims,” SRZ Alert, Oct. 5, 2012 (co-author)

“The Benefit of Whose Bargain? Courts Grapple with Administrative Expense Priority For Postpetition Withdrawal Liability Claims,” Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Vol. 21, No. 4 (2012) (co-author)

“Supreme Court Affirms Secured Creditors’ Credit Bid Rights Under Plan,” SRZ Alert, June 1, 2012 (co-author)

“Reception Unclear: Media Company Restructurings Present Unique Issues,” Turnarounds & Workouts, February 2012 (quoted)

“Must Credit Bidding Be Permitted In Plan Sales To Satisfy The Bankruptcy Code’s Fair And Equitable Standard?: How The Third And Seventh Circuits Reached Different Answers To The Same Question,” Norton Bankruptcy Law Adviser, December 2011 (co-author)

“Restructuring Troubled Media Firms: Practical Tips for Creditors,” Troubled Company Reporter, Dec. 22, 2011 (co-author)

“Secured Creditors’ Credit Bid Rights Under Cramdown Plan,” Equipment Leasing Newsletter, December 2011 (co-author)

“Seventh Circuit Upholds Secured Creditors’ Credit Bid Rights Under Cramdown Plan,” The Bankruptcy Strategist, September 2011 (co-author)

“Seventh Circuit Upholds Secured Creditors’ Credit Bid Rights Under Plan,” SRZ Alert, July 5, 2011 (co-author)

“Camouflaged Collateral: ‘All Asset’ Liens May Not Include Proceeds of D&O Insurance Policies in Bankruptcy,” Bloomberg Bankruptcy Law Reporter, March 21, 2011 (co-author) 

“Not So ‘Silent’: Second Lien Creditor Allowed to Oppose Bid Procedures,” ABI Committee News, Secured Creditor Committee, December 2010 (co-author)

“Third Circuit Refines Break-Up Standard,” SRZ Alert, Feb. 4, 2010 (co-author)

“Florida Bankruptcy Judge Holds ‘Savings Clause’ Unenforceable When Voiding Guarantees as Fraudulent Transfers,” SRZ Alert, Oct. 30, 2009 (co-author)

Speaking Engagements

“Section 363 Bankruptcy Sales: Key Considerations in the Auction Process, Private Sales, Due Diligence and Operations,” Strafford Webinar, May 2018

“UCC Security Interests in Proceeds of Collateral: Perfection, Priority and Impact of Debtor's Bankruptcy,” Strafford Webinar, March 2018

Equitable Subordination and Recharacterization of Loans: Avoiding Pitfalls for Lenders, Creditors and PE Sponsors,” Strafford WebinarApril 2017

“UCC Security Interests in Proceeds of Collateral: Navigating Perfection, Priority and Impact of Debtor's Bankruptcy,” Strafford Publications Inc. Webinar, October 2016

“UCC Security Interests in Proceeds of Collateral: Navigating Perfection, Priority and Impact of Debtor’s Bankruptcy,” Strafford Publications Inc. Webinar, September 2014

Memberships

  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • Strafford Webinar Bankruptcy Law Advisory Board 

Distinctions

  • New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel Honoree
  • New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project Pro Bono Leader

Prior Experience

  • Law Clerk to Hon. Carla E. Craig, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, E.D.N.Y., 2004-2005
  • Otterbourg, P.C., 2002-2004
  • Citigroup, Global Corporate Bank, 1996-2002