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Overview

Lenders turn to Michael when they need unwavering help with troubled borrowers.

Many clients that Michael counsels find themselves as creditors on troubled loans to distressed and insolvent borrowers. Michael takes a straightforward, no-nonsense approach, seeking to maximize recoveries for these lending institutions, while minimizing their time and fees. Michael's advocacy often results in enforcing loans, crafting workouts and representing lenders in state and federal courts (including bankruptcy proceedings) on matters involving defunct borrowers.

Michael also works proactively to counsel clients on avoiding or mitigating exposure to bankruptcy avoidance actions such as preferential transfers and constructively fraudulent conveyances, a process that frequently offers time- and cost-savings benefits. His work includes the development of Pref-Defend—a proprietary program used to efficiently defend preferential transfer claims for which Michael was given a Top Legal Innovation Award. He is one of just a handful of attorneys in Missouri and Kansas who are board certified in Business Bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification.*

Clients appreciate Michael's reputation as a thought leader. He has authored over 30 articles nationally and internationally and given more than 60 presentations. His recent writings and speaking engagements illuminate issues central to banks and other lending institutions wrestling with troubled loans.

*The American Board of Certification’s Business Bankruptcy certification program is accredited by the American Bar Association. Neither the Supreme Court of Missouri nor The Missouri Bar reviews or approves certifying organizations or special designations.


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • Kansas City Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2013-2016
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights, 2011-2019; Top 100, 2018; Rising Star, 2008-2010
  • IFLR1000, Restructuring and Insolvency (Missouri), Highly Regarded, 2018-2019
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Top Legal Innovation Award

Education

  • J.D., Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School
    • cum laude
  • B.A., Brigham Young University
    • Economics
    • Spanish Minor
    • with honors

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Board of Certification, Director, 2016-2018; Marketing Committee, Chair, 2018
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Labor & Employment Committee, Co-Chair, 2016; Education Director, 2014-2016; Newsletter Editor, 2013
  • Risk Management Association
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Kansas City Chapter, Board of Directors, 2010-2013; Religious Freedom Committee, 2015-2018
  • Legal Aid of Western Missouri
  • National Eagle Scout Association

Languages

  • Spanish
Experience
  • Obtained affirmation from Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding bankruptcy court's decision that worker's compensation lien was not voided by the automatic stay. In re Garcia, 740 Fed. Appx. 163 (10th Cir. 2018), cert denied 139 S. Ct. 2614 (2019).
  • Obtained $3.37 million judgment following 14-day trial, avoiding constructively fraudulent conveyances. In re Brooke Corp., 568 B.R. 378 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2017)
  • In matter of first impression in Delaware Bankruptcy Court, obtained ruling holding that a client could offset its $2.6 million administrative expense claim against alleged preference liability. In re Quantum Foods LLC, 554 B.R. 729 (Bankr. D. Del. 2016)
  • Obtained judgment voiding more than $2 million in constructively fraudulent conveyances. In re Brooke Corp., 541 B.R. 492 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2015)
  • Obtained complete dismissal of complaint seeking $2.978 million as alleged preferential transfers. Kravitz v. National Info. Solutions Coop. (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 15-80053)
  • Defended several preferential transfer claims that sought recoveries in excess of $1 million. Notable preference settlements: Peterson v. Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. (In re Agri-Best Holdings LLC, Bankr. N.D. Ill. 12-01455), $1.4 million preference settled for $32,500; Davis v. Invista S.A.R.L. (In re Fabrics Estate Inc., et al., Bankr.E.D.Tenn. 10-01210), $388,243 preference claim settled for $4,000.
  • Obtained court ruling granting motion to dismiss more than $12 million in counterclaims. Redmond v. NCMIC Finance Corp. (In re Brooke Corp.), 485 B.R. 650 (Bankr.D.Kan. 2013)
  • Defended against various motions that sought to dismiss avoidance action claims seeking recovery of millions of dollars. In re Brooke Corp., 2012 WL 2120736 (D.Kan. 2012) and In re Brooke Corp., 2012 WL 2412151 (Bankr.D.Kan. 2012)
  • Obtained summary judgment denying administrative expense claim for indenture trustee of notes held by securitized lenders. In re Brooke Corp., 443 B.R. 856 (Bankr.D.Kan. 2011)
  • Defended claim that sought post-confirmation award of bank’s attorneys’ fees. In re Farmers Cooperative Association, 323 B.R. 494 (Bankr.D.Kan. 2005), aff’d 2006 WL 950189 (D.Kan. 2006)
  • Prosecuted various discharge complaints seeking denial of debtor’s bankruptcy discharge: In re Patterson, 2013 WL 3376780 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 2013), granting of summary judgment and denying discharge of $807,500 debt, Quinn Capital LLC v. Ballard (Bankr. D. Kan. Case No. 11-06202), agreed judgment for $1.5 million; In re Glenn, 335 B.R. 703 (Bankr. W.D. Mo. 2005), denying debtor’s discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 727), Automotive Finance Corp. v. Knotts, (Bankr. D. Kan. Case No. 12-5102), agreed judgment.
  • Obtained court order confirming foreign arbitration award. Guang Dong Light Headgear Factory Co. Ltd. v. ACI International Inc., 521 F.Supp.2d 1153 (D.Kan. 2007)
  • Served as principal author of amicus curiae brief for significant number of Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees whose rationale was adopted by U.S. Court of Appeals. In re Benn, 491 F.3d 811 (Eighth Circuit, 2007)
  • Served as lead attorney in Chapter 11 reorganization of Fortress Women's Center, St. Louis, Missouri, which provides services for homeless and abused women and children (Bankr.E.D.Mo. Case No. 06-40160)
  • Defended Dominican Republic and state-owned electric utility against enforcement of adverse foreign arbitration award. Cayman Power Barge I Ltd. v. the State of the Dominican Republic, Case No. 06CV01362 (D.D.C.)
  • Represented banks and other financial institutions in bankruptcy proceedings, including cash collateral issues, adequate protection payments, stay relief proceedings, plan confirmations, enforcement of rights and prosecution of discharge complaints.
Thought Leadership
Speaking Engagements
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Outside the Office

The father of five daughters and a son, Michael spends most of his free time with his family.

He enjoys hiking and running with his family or by himself.

Michael is actively involved in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Community Leadership

Since attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in his teens, Michael has maintained ties to the Boy Scouts of America.

He served as Unit Commissioner of Troop 1175 of the Heart of America Council. He served for more than four years as Scoutmaster for a troop of 11-year-olds, then in 2017 became the Scoutmaster for his son’s troop, 1946, where he continues to serve and help young men achieve the rank of Eagle. Michael also volunteers with Husch Blackwell's Human Trafficking Legal Clinic.

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City Law and Religious Freedom Conference, Steering Committee Chairman, 2014-present
  • Kansas Bar Association, Religion Law Section, Founding Member, President, 2017-present
  • City of Independence, Missouri, Personnel Board of Directors, 2011-2012
  • Religious Entities and the Law Community, Founding member and moderator, 2019-present
Pref-Defend Proprietary Analytics

Clients save time and money by using Pref-Defend, a proprietary and highly specialized software. Developed by Michael, Pref-Defend is a product of HB Innovations, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Husch Blackwell LLP.

Combining technology with his vast experience in preferential transfers, he developed the analytical tool to defend and resolve preference claims. Using basic payment history information, the analytical tool identifies defenses to preferential claims, strengths and weaknesses of a client’s case, and possible settlement results.

Learn More About Pref-Defend

Michael also has written and spoken extensively on how clients can protect themselves from preference claims.

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