Bankruptcy Symposium

35th Annual Western District of Pennsylvania

ACBA Bankruptcy Symposium

Friday, Dec. 9 at the Westin Pittsburgh

The ACBA’s 35th Annual Western District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Symposium – the region’s largest annual Bankruptcy Law event – will feature a star-studded lineup of speakers, a full day of bankruptcy programming and multiple networking opportunities. The event allows registrants to earn up to six CLE credits, selecting from nine total programs.

Late registration or walk-in fees will be included if you register after Friday, Nov. 25.

Last day to Pre-register: Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, 11:59 p.m.

To register, click the button below.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Introductory Remarks and State of the Court  

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Plenary Session: Navigating the Ethical Perils of Bankruptcy Practice

Navigating the Ethical Perils of Bankruptcy Practice
1 Ethics credit

Featuring perspectives from the judiciary, disciplinary and defense counsel – and a leading advocate for ethical professionalism in Pennsylvania – this keynote presentation will address common ethical situations bankruptcy professionals face and how to respond. The panelists will review the framework of applicable ethical rules, regulations and enforcement proceedings; conflicts, retentions and disclosure issues; preparing the petition and schedules and attending the meeting of creditors; and ethical fee arrangements and billing practices. This session will offer guidance on strategies for dealing with less-than-candid debtors, minimizing risk and taking appropriate steps when difficult circumstances arise.

Panelists:

  • The Hon. David L. Bissett, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of West Virginia
  • Michael L. Temin, Senior Counsel, Fox Rothschild LLP
  • James M. Fox, Disciplinary Counsel, Office of Disciplinary Counsel for District IV for the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
  • Amy J. Coco, Shareholder, DiBella Weinheimer Geer McAllister Best Coco Lloyd Whalen

Moderator:

  • Helen S. Ward, Shareholder, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby

10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Plenary Session: Nunc pro Tunc (Now for Then): A Retrospective on the Courts, Administration of Justice and the Career of Chief Judge Emeritus Thomas P. Agresti

Nunc pro Tunc (Now for Then): A Retrospective on the Courts, Administration of Justice and the Career of Chief Judge Emeritus Thomas P. Agresti
1 Substantive credit

In a “fireside chat” format, retiring U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas P. Agresti will share the lessons of his career that has spanned nearly a half century. Having served as an assistant district attorney, municipal solicitor, trial lawyer managing a successful law practice, bankruptcy trustee and chief U.S. bankruptcy judge, Judge Agresti will share his knowledge and experience as a leading member of the bar and Pennsylvania judiciary. Some of the important matters Judge Agresti will discuss include attorney ethics in and outside the courtroom, the qualities of a competent legal counsel, the motivations and origins in him pursuing a career in law, challenges presented to the administration of the bankruptcy system and important precedential decisions issued by the Western District of Pennsylvania during his illustrious tenure. Judge Agresti also will share some personal reflections and anecdotes, which experienced and new lawyers will find educational and enjoyable.

Panelist:

  • The Hon. Thomas P. Agresti, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania

Moderator:

  • The Hon. Jeffery A. Deller, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Networking Lunch

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Plenary Session: When Do Federal District Courts and State Courts Interact with Bankruptcy?

When Do Federal District Courts and State Courts Interact with Bankruptcy?
1 Substantive credit

A distinguished panel of judges from the U.S. District Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas will discuss the interaction between the various federal and state courts on topics that are frequently presented to the bench. Don’t miss as the moderators pose questions and scenarios to each of the panelists regarding the automatic stay and relief therefrom, appeals, receiverships vs. bankruptcy, core vs. non-core proceedings (including jurisdictional issues), automatic reference and withdrawal of the reference, and res judicata. This session will provide an in-depth view from the bench on how each court deals with various issues that stem from the Bankruptcy Court but ultimately evolve into another court’s jurisdiction.

Panelists:

  • The Hon. Carlota M. Böhm, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • The Hon. J. Nicholas Ranjan, U.S. District Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • The Hon. Christine A. Ward, Administrative Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Moderators:

  • Keri P. Ebeck, Partner, Bernstein-Burkley, P.C.
  • Jason L. Ott, Member, Frost Brown Todd LLC

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Consumer Breakout Session: Meetings of Creditors: Best Practices and Technology’s Impact

Meetings of Creditors: Best Practices and Technology’s Impact
1 Substantive credit

A knowledgeable panel will address virtual 11 U.S.C. § 341(a) meetings, trustee document requirements and portal submissions, debtor and attorney – client communications, asset evaluations and disclosures and debtor – and attorney cooperation with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees. Seasoned consumer practitioners and veteran trustees will offer their insight on best practices and new developments as the courts leverage and integrate technology to streamline interactions.

Panelists:

  • Rosemary C. Crawford, Mediator, Crawford McDonald LLC and Chapter 7 Trustee, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Ronda J. Winnecour, Chapter 13 Trustee, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Abagale E. Steidl, Partner, Steidl & Steinberg PC
  • Kenneth Steidl, Partner, Steidl & Steinberg PC
  • Michael C. Eisen, Partner, M. Eisen & Associates PC
  • Bryan P. Keenan, Partner, Bryan P. Keenan & Associates PC

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Commercial Breakout Session: Whose Money Is It Anyway? Insurance Issues in Bankruptcy

Whose Money Is It Anyway? Insurance Issues in Bankruptcy
1 Substantive credit

Bankruptcy and insurance issues often intersect at the heart of a bankruptcy case. Panelists will address the treatment of policies and proceeds in bankruptcy, providing a comprehensive overview of the treatment of policies vs. proceeds, effect of the automatic stay and insurance policies as executory contracts. They also will discuss insurer settlement issues, including buybacks and coverage-in-place agreements, requirements for judicial approval and settling insurer protections such as third-party releases and channeling injunctions. Finally, panelists will review insurance-specific confirmation issues including confirmation objections, insurer standing and insurance neutrality and the preemption of anti-assignment provisions.

Panelists:

  • The Hon. Thomas B. Bennett, Of Counsel, Bailey Glasser LLP and Retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Northern District of Alabama
  • The Hon. Judith K. Fitzgerald, Shareholder, Tucker Arensberg, PC and Retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Andrew J. Muha, Partner, Reed Smith LLP

Moderator:

  • Maribeth Thomas, Shareholder, Tucker Arensberg PC

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Consumer Breakout Session: Bifurcated Fee Agreements: Best Practices in the Western District of Pennsylvania

Bifurcated Fee Agreements: Best Practices in the Western District of Pennsylvania
1 Substantive credit

This panel will review competing perspectives on bifurcated fee agreements and third-party financing for Chapter 7 debtors, including disclosure issues, U.S. Trustee guidelines and ethical concerns. Panelists will discuss lessons learned from recent jurisprudence in the Western District (In re: Cialella and In re: Shepherd) and offer insight on best practices, risks and rewards and implementing requirements. They will further consider the likely future of such arrangements in a fast-evolving landscape and discuss open questions that remain unresolved.

Panelists:

  • The Hon. Gregory L. Taddonio, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Lauren M. Lamb, Partner, Steidl & Steinberg PC
  • David Z. Valencik, Partner, Calaiaro Valencik

Moderator:

  • Brian C. Thompson, Partner, Thompson Law Group P.C.

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
Commercial Breakout Session: Continued Viability of Alternative Exit Strategies: Post-Jevic Structured Dismissals and Global Settlements

Continued Viability of Alternative Exit Strategies: Post-Jevic Structured Dismissals and Global Settlements
1 Substantive Credit

The Supreme Court held that structured dismissals cannot be approved over objecting creditors in violation of the absolute priority rule in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., but five years of jurisprudence following this decision have shown that such a strategy can still be an effective tool for Chapter 11 debtors seeking to exit bankruptcy.  Panelists will discuss the holding in Jevic and its implications, review local and national cases in which debtors have successfully implemented structured dismissals and global settlements, address pros and cons for counsel to consider and provide practical insight that will help large and small Chapter 11 debtors make informed decisions when developing their exit strategies. 

Panelists:

  • Eric A. Schaffer, Of Counsel, Stonecipher Law Firm
  • Kurt F. Gwynne, Partner, Reed Smith LLP
  • Nicholas R. Pagliari, Partner, MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, LLP

Moderator:

Jana S. Pail, Counsel, Whiteford Taylor Preston, LLP

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Consumer Breakout Session: Claims Cornucopia: Special Considerations for Proofs of Claim in Consumer Cases

Claims Cornucopia: Special Considerations for Proofs of Claim in Consumer Cases
1 Substantive Credit

This panel will explore proof of claim issues that commonly arise in consumer cases and offer practical guidance for debtors and creditors. Featuring perspectives from the bench, the bar and the Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee, panelists will discuss mortgage proofs of claim following In re: Bernadin and In re: Stendardo, the treatment of late-filed claims and unscheduled creditors, the validity of post-bar date amendments to filed proofs of claims, preclusion issues in secured proofs of claim, timeliness of post-petition fee notices and considerations for asserting claims under 11 U.S.C. § 1305.

Panelists:

  • The Hon. Patricia M. Mayer, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • James C. Warmbrodt, Staff Attorney, Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Abagale E. Steidl, Partner, Steidl & Steinberg PC

Moderator:

  • Jill Manuel-Coughlin, Partner, Powers Kirn & Associates, LLC

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Commercial Breakout Session: What’s it Worth to You? Practical Considerations for Valuations in Bankruptcy

What’s it Worth to You? Practical Considerations for Valuations in Bankruptcy
1 Substantive Credit

Debtors, creditors and trustees rely on valuations and appraisals to seek relief throughout a bankruptcy case, including motions for stay relief, use of cash collateral, Chapter 11 viability, confirmation support and avoidance actions. Veteran practitioners will provide a comprehensive overview of critical areas in which attorneys can leverage valuations to benefit their clients, and seasoned financial advisors will offer guidance on gathering the information required to complete accurate valuations, tax implications for businesses and individuals and strategies for ensuring successful engagements.

Panelists:

  • John R. O’Keefe Jr., Member, Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC
  • Frank J. Guadagnino, Associate, McGuireWoods LLP
  • William R. Frederick, Director, Meridian Management Partners
  • Andrew Bianco Jr., Shareholder, Holsinger P.C.
  • William Krieger, Shareholder, Gleason Advisors

Moderator:

  • Michael A. Shiner, Shareholder, Tucker Arensberg, PC

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Networking Reception and ACBA Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section Holiday Party

Click here to view the flyer to share with your colleagues.

*This program has been approved for 5 hours of Substantive CLE credit  and 1 hour of Ethics credit in Pennsylvania and also qualifies for 6 hours of credit under the West Virginia Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.