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Joseph H. Lemkin is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group. Mr. Lemkin’s practice primarily focuses on the areas of bankruptcy law, commercial litigation, business reorganization, and related matters, with a particular emphasis on creditors’ rights. Mr. Lemkin has extensive experience representing mortgage lenders in both consumer and commercial bankruptcy proceedings, as well as secured creditors, creditors’ committees, debtors and trade creditors, and bankruptcy trustees.

National Realty Investment Advisors and numerous affiliates (“NRIA”) filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of New Jersey on June 7th (Case No. 22-14539). NRIA is a New Jersey-based real estate developer. According to filings with the Bankruptcy Court, NRIA owns thirty-one (31) completed properties; three (3) properties which are near completion; and sixteen (16) which remain to be completed and/or are in the planning stage per NRIA’s independent manager, Brian Casey. The value of these properties currently is asserted to be $225 million, with future stabilized values asserted to be over $1 billion.
Continue Reading National Realty Investment Advisors Lands in Bankruptcy

With the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, many expected a tidal wave of commercial bankruptcy filings. After an initial spike of retail bankruptcy cases at the outset of the pandemic, the onslaught of bankruptcy has not yet materialized. Whether due to PPP loans, other available credit, modification and forbearance agreements, or government moratoriums on foreclosure and eviction proceedings, many businesses have been able to temporarily avoid debt obligations without the need to file for bankruptcy protection. As moratoriums terminate and debt obligations become due, franchisors would be mindful to prepare for an uptick in franchisee bankruptcy filings.

Continue Reading What to do When Your Franchisee Files for Bankruptcy

Hair cuttery bankruptcyGovernment orders directing the shut-down of non-essential retailers, as a result of COVID-19, have forced another retail chain into bankruptcy. Creative Hairdressers, Inc. (“Creative”), the parent of Hair Cuttery, filed for Chapter 11 relief yesterday in the bankruptcy court for the District of Maryland. According to its first day filings, Creative is one of the largest independent, family owned chain of hair salons that provides comprehensive services for men and women.

Continue Reading Hair Cuttery Enters Chapter 11 Bankruptcy – Seeks to Trim 49 Locations

In an ironic bankruptcy twist, the COVID-19 outbreak is thwarting Modell’s Sporting Goods’ ability to liquidate. Modell’s filed its bankruptcy case on March 11th and announced that it was closing all 134 of its stores. The chain was founded by Morris A. Modell in 1889, with a single store on Cortlandt Street in Manhattan. Modell’s followed in the footsteps of The Sports Authority, Gander Mountain, Eastern Mountain Sports, and other sporting goods retailers who have struggled mightily in recent years, and have landed in Chapter 11. Modell’s intention was to complete all liquidation sales by the end of April. The budgets filed with the bankruptcy court reveal no line item for lease expenses starting in May.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Forces Modell’s to “Mothball” Chapter 11 Efforts

The lawsuits just keep coming… last week, Chapter 11 Debtor, Sears Holdings Corporation (“Sears”) continued to file hundreds of preference complaints to recover money from paid pre-petition creditors. The Debtor filed a mass of suits back in November 2019.

For most creditors, it makes no sense that they receive a complaint to return money for goods or services sold prior to October 15, 2018, when the company filed for bankruptcy protection. However, the Federal Bankruptcy Code allows a debtor to recover “preferences” in bankruptcy – 11 U.S.C. 547.

If you are a trade creditor who received a complaint, before you open the check book to Sears, know what defenses there are to this statutory claim.

Continue Reading Sears Continues to File Hundreds of Preference Suits Against Trade Creditors

frutta-bowls-logo-bankruptcyThe wave of retail bankruptcy filings has crash landed on the burgeoning fruit bowl industry. Frutta Bowls Franchising, LLC, the franchisor for the popular “Frutta Bowls” chain filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of New Jersey on February 15th (Case No.: 19-13230). According to its website, Frutta Bowls is the fastest growing superfoods café with healthy alternatives to traditional fast food, including options such as Açai, Pitaya, and Kale bowls.

Continue Reading Franchisor of Popular Frutta Bowls Chain Lands In Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Multiple new sources are reporting that the long anticipated bankruptcy filing for Sears Holding may happen this week.

A $134 million dollar debt payment due this coming Monday may force the company into bankruptcy. On Tuesday Sears announced that The CEO of Drivetrain, an advisory firm for distressed companies had joined its Board. Sears Holding operates approximately 500 Sears and 360 Kmart stores.

While in the past Sears’ CEO Eddie Lampert has provided funding from his own hedge fund, ESL Investments, to keep the company afloat, CNBC reports that Sears has contacted financiers to secured potential financing to keep it afloat in bankruptcy.

Continue Reading Sears May Be Preparing to File for Bankruptcy This Week

Ignite Restaurant Group (“Ignite”) filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division today (Case no. 17-33550). Ignite operates 137 Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants, including three international franchise locations in Dubai. Ignite employs 8,400 people, including 2,900 full-time (both salaried and hourly) employees. Ignite’s bankruptcy schedules list $197 million in liabilities and $153 million in assets.

In its bankruptcy filings, Ignite cites to declines in comparable restaurant sales and income from operations at both Joe’s and Brick House. The company also notes that it has closed underperforming restaurants, including a location in Newark, NJ which had opened in 2013.

Continue Reading Ignite Restaurant Group Fires Up Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case

On the heels of The Limited bankruptcy filing, another retailer appears to be on the precipice of Chapter 11.

Gymboree (Gymboree Corp.) reported yesterday that its CEO, Mark Breitbard, will be stepping down once a successor is appointed. Breitbard will assume the role of Chairman of the Board effective February 1st.

Continue Reading Gymboree – Next Retailer Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing?

Golfsmith International, Inc., a specialty golf retailer with 109 Golfsmith stores across the U.S. and 55 Golf Town stores in Canada, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday, September 14, 2016. This case follows other large sports retailer bankruptcy cases, including Sports Authority and Eastern Mountain Sports, who both filed Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware earlier this year.

Continue Reading Another Sports Retailer Bankruptcy – Golfsmith International, Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Protection in Delaware