Thomas A. Willoughby

twilloughby@ffwplaw.com Direct: (916) 231-6651

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Representative Cases and Clients

Clients Dealing with Insolvency and/or a Liquidity Crisis

Over many years, Tom has an excellent track record representing businesses and individuals facing liquidity and/or insolvency issues in and out of chapter 11 in a wide variety of industries including agriculture, health care facilities, food processors, hotels and hospitality, high tech, manufacturers, automobile dealerships, a national retail chain, franchisors and franchisees, a fast food chain with multiple locations, and all types of real estate related businesses.

Tom currently represents Archer Norris, LLP in its Chapter 11 case. Archer Norris was a litigation firm with over 100 lawyers at its peak, and over 70 on filing. An interesting aspect of the Archer Norris case was that the law firm operated for several weeks in the Chapter 11 and successfully transitioned its clients and cases to successor firms. On March 22, 2018, a Plan of Liquidation was confirmed before the Honorable Hannah Bulmenstiel The case was venued in the San Francisco division of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California.

Tom just concluded the representation of a large (multi-state) fuel and propane distributor and assisted it in avoiding a Chapter 11 filing, but also in concluding a sale that provided value to equity notwithstanding the write off by the primary secured creditor of $16,000,000 in debt representing 50% of the total secured debt.

Recently, Tom represented Zacky Farms, the largest poultry processor in the State of California, in its chapter 11 case. Through a sale and confirmed chapter 11 plan, the company was transferred to one of the branches of a complicated family ownership structure. The result saved over 700 jobs. Every other potential buyer for the business intended to close the business and convert the poultry processing facilities to warehouse space.

Official Committees

In one of Tom's recent cases, Tom represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Blue Earth, Inc. Chapter 11 case, which involved a heated plan confirmation dispute with the primary secured creditor and ultimately a beneficial resolution for the Unsecured Creditors (Approx. 40 to 50% distribution). The plan preserved the debtor's net operating losses for the benefit of the secured creditor who in return funded the payments to the unsecured creditors.

Several of Tom's major committee representations include the Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors in the Tri Valley Growers chapter 11 case (over $1 Billion in claims) and the Heller Ehrman, LLP chapter 11 case (AM Law 100 law firm with over 600 attorneys). The recoveries in both of these cases far exceeded initial expectations. The 60% distribution to date to unsecured creditors in the Heller case almost doubles the next closest distributions in comparable Am Law 100 bankruptcy cases throughout the country.

  

Trustees and Receivers 

 

Tom has long represented many of the top trustees/receivers in Northern California in large and small cases. He currently represents Mr. Russ Burbank as Chapter 11 Trustee in the Greener Globe case, which involves a closed landfill adjacent to Galleria Shopping Center in Roseville, CA.

In December 2016 Mr. Willoughby confirmed a liquidating plan proposed by Ms. Beverly N. McFarland, the chapter 11 Trustee in the largest Ponzi scheme ($120M in losses) originating in the Sacramento area. 

   

Creditors and Financial Institutions

 

Over his career, Tom has represented numerous secured and unsecured creditors as well as landlords and financial institutions. For over twenty years, Tom  represented North Valley Bank in a wide variety of cases throughout Northern California.

 

Value for Clients

 

From helping clients to reorganize and save a failing business, to finding assets in hard cases to maximize a return to creditors, Tom has a reputation for finding value for his clients in complex and challenging cases.