James brings an innovative approach to representing business and individuals in all manner of workout negotiations, bankruptcies and related litigations. He recently obtained confirmation of the plans for the first ever Chapter 9 cases in Kentucky for a county hospital and its related real estate holding company through litigating the enforceability of general obligation bonds and negotiating the sale of the hospital and clinics.
James is also a skilled appellate advocate, successfully representing clients in the Sixth and Seventh Circuits and on appeals of bankruptcy court orders to the district courts. Clients value James’ practical approach to their unique challenges.
- Successfully obtained confirmation of Chapter 9 plans of adjustment – the first ever in Kentucky – for a county hospital taxing district and affiliated real estate corporation. The entities sold substantially all assets to a private non-profit and obtained approximately a 50% discount on settling their debts.
- Represented non-profit community mental health center by establishing its eligibility for Chapter 11 rather than Chapter 9 relief and terminating participation in a Kentucky state defined benefit pension plan with zero liability to the community mental health center. Ky. Emples. Ret. Sys. v. Seven Counties Servs. (In re Seven Counties Servs), 511 B.R. 431 (Bankr. W. D. Ky, 2014).
- Obtained confirmation of Chapter 11 plan for physician with income tax debt of over $1 million that provided for payments of approximately $300,000 over five years on tax liabilities.
- Represented specialty retail store with $600,000 annual revenue in Chapter 11 and confirmed plan to restructure $600,000 in bank debt and accounts payable to approximately $165,000 payment plan.
- Discharged $7,000,000 of business owner’s bond indemnity and loan guaranty indebtedness from failed construction business through Chapter 11 plan for payment of $23,000.
- Obtained summary judgment against the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration in the amount of $1,764,704.66 for Medicaid payments wrongfully withheld from the hospital before and after the filing of the bankruptcy, which was fully upheld on appeal to the Seventh Circuit. St. Catherine Hosp. of Ind., LLC v. Ind. Family & Soc. Servs Admin., 800 F.3d 312 (7th Cir. 2015).
- Obtained voluntary dismissal of involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed against individual debtor.
- Represented post-confirmation committee of unsecured creditors for recovery of preferential and fraudulent conveyances to former vice president of the debtor and the subsequent transferee. Case resolved favorably for client at mediation.
- Successfully prevented a creditor from excepting a debt obtained by default judgment from discharge based on creditor’s failure to follow proper procedure in obtaining judgement. In case, the Sixth Circuit held that a judgment excepting a debt from discharge could not be entered by the court clerk alone, but required a court hearing even where the debtor had failed to answer the complaint. Keeley v. Grider, 590 Fed. Appx. 557 (6th Cir. 2014) .
Education & Clerkship
- Law Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Western District of Kentucky (2008-2009)
- Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, JD (2008)
- University of Notre Dame, BA (2005)
Honors & Awards
- Graduate of Louisville Bar Association Leadership Academy (2014)
- Kentucky Super Lawyer Rising Star (2015-2016)