Some of Michael’s business clients come to him for financial counsel concerning debtor-creditor relationships and bankruptcies. Others come to him seeking franchise counsel, whether in establishing a franchise system, evaluating a franchise purchase, or resolving a dispute between a franchisor and franchisee. Whatever their situation, Michael helps his clients deftly resolve their challenges, crafting strategic solutions that keep his clients’ interests at the forefront. With years of experience, Michael helps his clients negotiate and litigate in a cost-efficient manner in order to help them achieve their business goals while minimizing their legal risks.
A client of Michael’s had a service business and wanted to offer franchises in order to fuel company growth. Michael helped guide the process from the start, helping the client comply with federal and state statutes and regulations, as well as drafting the franchise agreement and disclosure document with the client. After the successful launch of the franchise, Michael helped the client expand geographically and handle its relationships with franchisees. With the initial work establishing a solid legal foundation, the franchisor had the confidence to expand the business rapidly without exposing it to unnecessary liability.
“In the web of state and federal laws applicable to franchises, franchisors should seek counsel from a lawyer with specific expertise in franchise law early in the process.”
Financial Services, Bankruptcy, Creditor’s Rights
Michael and one of his partners defended a commodity trader that was sued for more than $19 million by the trustee in the bankruptcy of an ethanol producer. Michael and his partner obtained a partial summary judgment based on a seldom-used defense that eliminated all but a small portion of the trustee’s claim. They negotiated a resolution of the remaining claim that required no cash payment by the client.
Financial Services, Bankruptcy, Creditor’s Rights
Michael and his partners represented a lending bank’s successor in interest, attempting to collect on a multi-million-dollar agricultural loan. They litigated a number of lawsuits, including a bankruptcy case in which they successfully opposed confirmation of a plan of reorganization, due to the plan’s failure to treat the client’s claim properly. The denial of confirmation was the turning point, and Michael and his partners ultimately negotiated a resolution that resulted in the client receiving $2.4 million more than the debtors had previously offered at the beginning of the representation.
- University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 2000)
- Augustana College (B.S., Cum Laude, 1997)
- Nebraska (2000)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit (2003)
In its newly released 2022 edition, The Best Lawyers in America® has recognized 47 McGrath North attorneys in the full range of specialty practice areas key to supporting businesses of all sizes across a broad range of industries. Of these partners recognized based on peer-review surveys, 11 were named “Lawyer of the Year.” This honor is awarded to only one attorney with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic location.
With chapter 11 bankruptcy filings on the rise, all vendors should use this opportunity to evaluate the credit risks that their customers present. Short of terminating the relationship for nonpayment, there are some actions that vendors can take to minimize the risk of continuing to do business with a struggling customer. Below we discuss a variety of possibilities, including some that are not often used but can be very helpful in protecting a vendor’s position.
Trade creditors often find themselves, especially in hard economic times, in the familiar scenario where struggling customers purchase goods on credit approaching or exceeding their credit limits—in some cases making rosy predictions to creditors about the customers’ prospects for success—only to file for bankruptcy, stiff unsecured creditors for goods purchased in the days leading up to the bankruptcy filing, and use the goods purchased to support the customer’s operations in bankruptcy. Prior to 2005, trade creditors were generally rewarded for their willingness to work with debtors in these situations with general unsecured claims for unpaid shipments, unless their claims were reclamation claims entitled to administrative-expense status. In most cases, this resulted in creditors receiving distributions on their claims in tiny bankruptcy dollars, i.e., distributions worth a fraction of the value of the goods shipped. In 2005, Congress, in connection with its enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (“BAPCPA”), sought to remedy this situation to some degree by adopting two provisions that significantly alter the relationship between debtors and trade creditors.
- Omaha Bar Association
- Nebraska State Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- Texas Review of Law and Politics, 1998-2000
- Judicial Clerk for Justice Michael McCormack, Nebraska Supreme Court, 2000-2001
- Lecturer on BAPCPA, secured transactions, judgment enforcement, FDCPA, guarantees, avoidance actions, and franchising
- Listed: Martindale-Hubbell, AV/Preeminent Rating
- Listed: “Best Lawyers in America”, Franchise Law
- Related Practices
- Related Industries