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Overview

Michael solves challenging distressed loan problems. 

Michael solves difficult problems involving distressed commercial and agricultural loans. Lenders look to him for enforcement of their rights when they have lost money or have dissipating collateral and are facing challenges that they cannot solve on their own. His advocacy frequently includes enforcing loans, crafting workouts and representing clients in state and federal courts (including bankruptcy proceedings) on matters involving defaulted borrowers. Michael takes a straightforward, no-nonsense approach, seeking to maximize recoveries while minimizing time and fees. He is one of just a handful of attorneys in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Utah who is board certified in Business Bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification.*

In addition to his in-the-trenches experience, clients appreciate Michael's reputation as a thought leader. He has authored over 40 articles nationally and internationally and given more than 100 presentations and podcasts. His recent writings and speaking engagements illuminate critical issues for banks and other lending institutions wrestling with troubled loans. Michael also proactively advises clients on minimizing exposure to bankruptcy avoidance actions such as preferential transfers and constructively fraudulent conveyances. His extremely efficient approach has generated very low settlement amounts for clients on multi-million dollar claims while minimizing both the time and attorney’s fees needed to get those results. 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.

*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

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation - Bankruptcy, 2021-2022
  • Kansas City Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2013-2016
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights, 2011-2021; Top 100, 2018; Rising Star, 2008-2010
  • IFLR1000, Restructuring and Insolvency (Missouri), Highly Regarded, 2018-2019
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Top Legal Innovation Award
  • Missouri Bar Pro Bono Wall of Fame, 2019

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
  • Utah
  • 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. District Court, District of Utah
  • 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 Memberships and Certifications

  • American Agricultural Law Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Labor & Employment Committee, Co-Chair, 2016; Education Director, 2014-2016; Newsletter Editor, 2013
  • American Board of Certification, Director, 2016-2018; Marketing Committee, Chair, 2018
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Kansas City Chapter, Board of Directors, 2010-2013; Religious Freedom Committee, 2015-2018
  • Kansas Bar Association, Agricultural Law Section, President, 2021-present; Religion Law Section, founding member and President, 2017-2021, Immediate Past President, 2021-present
  • Legal Aid of Western Missouri
  • National Eagle Scout Association
  • Risk Management Association

Languages

  • Spanish
Experience

Food & Agribusiness

  • In a disputed matter, obtained judgment in excess of $3 million and foreclosed multiple parcels of agricultural land covered by the same mortgage in two separate Kansas counties.
  • Regularly advises lenders regarding resolution of distressed agricultural loans.
  • 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. Davis v. Tyson Prepared Foods, Inc. (In re Garcia), 740 Fed. Appx. 163 (10th Cir. 2018), cert denied 139 S. Ct. 2614 (2019).
  • Coordinated successful multi-state foreclosure action for agricultural properties in Kansas and Oklahoma owned by a single owner who had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • Defended Tyson Foods, Inc. and affiliates from claims seeking over $10 million in alleged preferential transfers ultimately settling the four matters for $100,000. In re Central Grocers, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 17-13886 and Adv. Nos. 18-00662, 18-00692, 18-00693, and 18-00695).
  • 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. The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Quantum Foods, LLC v. Tyson Foods, Inc. (In re Quantum Foods LLC), 554 B.R. 729 (Bankr. D. Del. 2016).
  • Obtained summary judgment denying discharge of $807,500 debt. Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Patterson (In re Patterson), 2013 WL 3376780 (Bankr. N.D. Ala. 2013).
  • Resolved $1.4 million preference settled for $32,500. Peterson v. Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. (In re Agri-Best Holdings LLC, Bankr. N.D. Ill. 12-01455).
  • 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).

Bankruptcy & Other Litigation

  • Lead attorney in the successful Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Splash News & Picture Agency, LLC (Bankr. D. Nev. Case No. 21-11377) which confirmed plan provided for the sale of the debtor's assets as a going-concern.
  • Successfully represented client in obtaining voluntary turnover of artwork valued in excess of $1 million without needing to file a lawsuit.
  • Obtained $3.37 million judgment following 14-day trial, avoiding constructively fraudulent conveyances. Redmond v. NCMIC Finance Corp. (In re Brooke Corp.), 568 B.R. 378 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2017).
  • Obtained judgment voiding more than $2 million in constructively fraudulent conveyances. Redmond v. SpiritBank (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).
  • Successfully defended several preferential transfer claims that sought recoveries in excess of $1 million. Notable preference settlements: 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).
  • Prosecuted various discharge complaints seeking denial of debtor’s bankruptcy discharge: 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).
  • 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.
  • Served on legal team that navigated expedited negotiations, hearings and discovery for state insurance department client in disputed rehabilitation and subsequent liquidation proceedings. Team counsel avoided trial, resulting in significant client cost and time savings, thus preserving and maximizing estate assets.
Alerts | August 30, 2019
New Legislation Likely to Spur Increase in Bankruptcy Filings

Lenders and trade creditors alike need to assess their exposures and risk in light of these changes.

Webinar | December 2020
Minimizing Agricultural Loan Distress
Speaking Engagements | November 6, 2020 and November 13, 2020
Bank Legal Risk Management Conference Virtual Series, Missouri Bankers Association
Outside the Office

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

Michael is actively involved in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in various positions of responsibility. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, running, rock climbing and kayaking. Michael holds a General class ham radio license (call sign KF0HHJ) and is actively involved in various community emergency response preparation efforts.

Community Leadership

Michael has continually served the community in a variety of positions.

Michael 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 served until the end of 2019 helping several 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, 2017-2021; Immediate Past President, 2021-present
  • City of Independence, Missouri, Personnel Board, 2011-2012
  • City of Independence, Missouri, Board of Building and Engineering Appeals, 2021-present
  • Missouri Bar 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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