For more than two decades, Robert J. Labate has maintained
an active litigation practice in corporate restructuring and transactional media
and entertainment law. Mr. Labate has been an adjunct faculty member at DePaul
University School of Law for many years, where he teaches two courses reflecting
his practices: "Corporate Workouts and Restructuring" and "The Law of Film and
For the past five years, Mr. Labate has served as chair of the Public and
Charitable Service Committee for the Chicago office of Holland & Knight,
which supervises dozens of pro bono and community service representations and
projects in the Chicago metropolitan community.
As a corporate restructuring and bankruptcy attorney, Mr. Labate represents
parties in complex Chapter 11 and consensual out-of-court “workout” agreements.
As part of the financial restructuring portion of his practice, Mr. Labate
advises clients on creditor and creditor committee issues, debtor restructuring,
and asset sales and acquisitions, including Section 363 sales. Recent
restructuring engagements include:
- In re Platinum Oil Properties, LLC, Case No.
09-10832, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. N.M. Representation of the Jicarilla Apache
Nation in opposition to attempts by the debtor to assume operating rights for
oil and gas wells located on tribal land.
- In re Ridgeland Apartment Holdings, LLC, Case No.
12-35417, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Utah. Representation of secured
lender in successful litigation to modify the automatic stay to allow lender
to take possession of a 17-building, 264-unit,
residential apartment complex located in Ridgeland, Miss.
- In re The Clare at Water Tower, Case No. 11-46151,
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill. Representation of purchaser in $53.5 million
acquisition of a 50-story senior residential tower located in the Water Tower
district of Chicago.
- In re Clare Oaks, Case No. 11-48903, U.S.
Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill. Representation of debtor-in-possession lender to
debtor that owned a continuing care retirement community consisting of 154
residential apartments, 10 cottage units and a 33-unit licensed assisted living
- In re Fairview Ministries, Inc., Case No. 11 B
04386, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill. Representation of Hinsdale Bank &
Trust Co., as pre-petition and debtor-in-possession lender to continuing care
retirement community debtor in which substantially all of debtor’s assets were
sold pursuant to a 363 sale.
- In re SSK Partners, LLC, Case No. 11-49091, U.S.
Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill. Representation of primary secured lender to
commercial office building located on the west side of Chicago. which was sold
consensually pursuant to a 363 sale.
- Freedom Broadcasting of New York, Freedom Broadcasting of
Michigan, Inc. and Freedom Broadcasting of Florida, Inc., jointly
administered as Case No. 09-13046, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of
Del. Representation of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation regarding program
- ImagePoint Inc. vs. BFS Retail & Commercial Operations,
LLC, Adv. Pro. 09-03080 U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of
Tenn. Representation of Bridgestone retail operations in a defense of breach of
- In re J.M. Products, Inc., Case No. 09 bk 12828,
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Ark. Representation of Chapter 11 trustee in the
sale of substantially all assets.
- Out-of-court representation of Opus Northwest, LLC, a real
estate development company, in the restructuring of $300 million in participant
- Out-of-court representation of A.C. Houston Lumber Company,
a Nevada-based building products manufacturing and lumber company, in the
restructuring of facilities and operations in three states.
Mr. Labate's entertainment practice, which is best known for film production,
includes television, digital media, content acquisition, celebrity branding and
licensing, financing, book publishing and music. He represents media companies
in acquiring content for worldwide distribution as well as companies that wish
to license celebrity rights in connection with advertising campaigns and
celebrities who seek to “take-down” defamatory Internet postings in violation of
the Digital Milennium Copyright Act. Recent media and entertainment engagements
- Responsible for the successful "delivery" of a music video released in
connection with a #1 selling album released in November 2012.
- Production counsel for documentary film initially broadcast on the Fox
Network in May 2013 concerning a series of concerts on seven continents by one
of the world’s top recording artists.
- Lead production and financing counsel to Life Itself LLC, the producer
of a documentary film based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself (in
production for 2014 release).
- Financing and production counsel for Three Oaks Theater
Festival in its highly successful inaugural 2013 season, which brought
Chicago productions previously seen at Steppenwolf and the Goodman Theaters to a
summer resort community located in Three Oaks, Mich.
- Financing and production counsel for a Washington, D.C., documentary film
project on the life of civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis.
- Negotiated and drafted one of the first film licensing agreements executed
by CNN Films for broadcast on CNN.
- Production and distribution counsel responsible for negotiation of licensing
agreement with cable network for broadcast of documentary television series in
- Negotiated and prepared product integration agreements for a product to be
advertised on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
- Negotiated and prepared celebrity promotional agreements for the national
launch of an advertising campaign for an air purifier product for Akida
Holdings, a Jacksonville-based company.
- Financing and film production counsel in the creation of a series of
documentary films for a Colorado-based client.
- 102 Minutes That Changed America and Louder Than a
Bomb. Production counsel for producers, Siskel/Jacobs Productions,
of this documentary film that premiered on the History Channel in September
2008. This documentary film attracted 5.2 million viewers.
- Motel. Production counsel for this feature-length
film starring Robert DeNiro and John Cusack (in post-production).
- A Good Man (for PBS American Masters broadcast in
2011). Production counsel for Kartemquin Films.
- Head Games (in production for completion in 2012).
Representation of producer, Bruce Sheridan, chair of the Film & Video
Department at Columbia College Chicago, the largest film school in the United
- The Interrupters (premiered at Sundance Film
Festival, January, 2011). Production counsel for Kartemquin Films.
- The Last Rites of Joe May (released November,
2011, Tribeca Films). Representation of producer Steppenwolf Films LLC.
- Stetson Kennedy. Representation of Stetson Kennedy
and his estate in film matters, which included the acquisition of his life and
literary rights for the feature film and documentary.
- Welcome to Shelbyville (initial broadcast on PBS
in May 2011). Production counsel to The BeCause Foundation.