Michael C. Harwood's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, frequently in the context of companies in bankruptcy or post-bankruptcy in order to maximize the recovery of creditors. These cases range from such bankruptcy issues as fraudulent conveyance and preference disputes, to claims in federal and state court for lender liability, professional malpractice against auditors and law firms, and tortious interference with business relations. In addition Michael handles complex contract and securities disputes on behalf of a wide variety of clients. Michael has been listed as a “leading lawyer” in the area of restructuring and insolvency by IFLR 1000.
- MatlinPatterson, a global asset manager, and certain principals, in securing the dismissal of $123 million breach of fiduciary duty claims brought by a minority shareholder of portfolio company DuCool. The minority shareholder had alleged that our clients, including directors and officers of DuCool, had breached their fiduciary duties in managing the company, diluting the plaintiff’s equity interest.
- Trial counsel for MF Global Holdings, a former global financial derivatives broker, in a $3 billion lawsuit against its outside auditor, PwC, which settled during trial. Also, representing MF Global Holdings and the Plan Administrator for MF Global Holdings in various actions, including fraudulent transfer claims, arising out of MF Global Holdings’ bankruptcy.
- Recovery of nearly $100 million from indenture trustees on behalf of secured debt holders in Continental Airlines arising out of the trustees' breaches of fiduciary duty in failing to protect the creditors' interests in the collateral securing their debt. This case involved two trips to the New York Court of Appeals to clarify state law regarding champerty and the transfer of claims, as well as a three-week jury trial.
- Successful prosecution of more than $300 million in fraudulent conveyance claims against several national banks and insurance companies arising out of the collapse of the FoxMeyer Corporation, one of the nation's largest drugstore distribution companies.
- Successful prosecution of lender liability and legal malpractice claims against most of the largest banks in Australia and Skadden Arps arising out of the liquidation of Linter Textiles, then the owner of Speedo and other clothing subsidiaries. This case was the largest commercial litigation in the history of the federal courts in Australia at the time and was settled after several days of trial.
- Extensive work on behalf of the creditors committee in the Adelphia Communications bankruptcy ranging from participating in the confirmation proceedings and a wide variety of litigation on behalf of the post-bankruptcy litigation trust against numerous national banks, Deloitte & Touche, Florida Power & Light, and Goldman Sachs. Recoveries to date have exceeded $400 million and additional claims are still pending.
- Successful prosecution of claims against Monsanto Corporation on behalf of a patent licensee seeking payment of tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties.