Snokist Growers — In 2011-2012, David Criswell represented a secured lender with a $10 million loan in the Snokist Growers Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the Eastern District of Washington Bankruptcy Court. Snokist was a cooperative whose operations included the storing, packing and sale of fresh fruit as well as the processing and canning of apple, pear, and other fruit products. Mr. Criswell represented the lender client in a series of contested matters concerning adequate protection, section 363 sale, and auction proceedings and negotiations with other secured lenders with overlapping liens. Because of our successful representation, the client received a 100% payoff on its loan when the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case reached a successful conclusion, with Del Monte (a manufacturer and marketer of processed foods) purchasing substantially all of the operating assets of Snokist.
Law Firm Chapter 11 — In 2012-2013, David Criswell represented a lender with a blanket lien on the assets of a national mass tort plaintiff’s law firm which filed Chapter 11 in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Criswell represented the lender in prosecuting an adversary proceeding to determine the validity and priority of competing liens, in defending a lender liability action brought by another creditor of the law firm, and in negotiating plan treatment. Mr. Criswell’s efforts resulted in a judgment that the bank held a first priority lien, in the dismissal with prejudice of the lender liability action, and full payoff of the secured loan under a confirmed Chapter 11 plan, including payment of an exit fee to the lender.
ConocoPhillips – Olympic Pipeline — David Criswell represented ConocoPhillips in the Olympic Pipeline Chapter 11 case filed in Seattle, Washington. The Olympic Pipe Line Company operates a pipeline system that runs along a 299-mile corridor from Blaine, Washington to Portland, Oregon. The system transports gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to Seattle's Harbor Island, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Olympia and Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. Mr. Criswell filed and prosecuted a significant adversary proceeding on behalf of ConocoPhillips for declaratory relief regarding the classification and recovery of large refunds due to ConocoPhillips under Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission orders entered before the bankruptcy. His efforts in the bankruptcy court resulted in full payment of the refunds to ConocoPhillips and resolution of rate disputes between ConocoPhillips and Olympic Pipeline Company.
Harder/Sunwest Management Inc. – Bankruptcy and SEC Litigation
Represented several secured lenders owed hundreds of millions of dollars in complex civil litigation spanning several bankruptcy cases and an SEC enforcement action. The litigation involved secured loans to entities affiliated with Sunwest Management, Inc. and its principals who were accused of executing a "Ponzi-like scheme" to obtain funds from tenant-in-common investors. This high stakes litigation involved complex corporate and financing structures, legal issues of first impression, and large dollar amounts. As part of this litigation, Ball Janik LLP's team took the lead in successfully opposing a motion for preliminary injunction in the Bankruptcy Court aimed at stopping foreclosure efforts by secured lenders owed over $1 billion. Ball Janik took the lead in opposing a plan of distribution proposed by the SEC, the tenant-in-common investors, and others in the SEC enforcement action. This representation also involved a number of appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals coordinated by Ball Janik's team.
In this complex representation, Ball Janik took the lead in coordinating the litigation efforts of several national and regional firms representing various banks and financial institutions. Ball Janik was also lead trial counsel in both the Bankruptcy Court and in the Federal Court in several key contested matters.
Sunwest Management — David Criswell represented several secured lenders holding approximately $462 million of loans secured by assisted living facilities in the SEC receivership and Chapter 11 case of Sunwest Management. Along with representing his clients, Mr. Criswell coordinated and led a large group of similarly situated secured lenders in contested litigation in the Bankruptcy and District Court in Oregon as well as in two appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ultimately, he was able to assist his clients in reaching consensual loan restructurings which resulted in performing loans following the conclusion of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case and related SEC enforcement action.