Thomas A. Willoughby Direct: (916) 231-6651




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Tom's practice focuses on difficult insolvency related cases. Tom has been lead counsel to businesses in financial distress, trustees, Official Committees, financial institutions, and other creditors in a wide array of cases both in and out of bankruptcy court.


In one of Tom's recent cases, Tom represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the publicly traded 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.


In a recent out of court workout, Tom represented a major multi-state propane distribution company in preparation for a potential Chapter 11 case and in work out discussions with its secured creditor. Tom assisted the client and its financial advisor in resolving the case, which led to a sale of the company, an 18M write off (i.e. a 50% reduction) by the secured creditor, all unsecured creditors being paid, the preservation of essentially all jobs, a payment to equity, and a significant non-compete agreement for the CEO/shareholder.

Tom continues to represent the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the Plan Administrator in the most successful AM Law 100 (600 attorney firm) bankruptcy case in which distributions to unsecured creditors currently total 60%, almost double the distributions made to unsecured creditors in the second most successful AM Law 100 case.

In addition to his role as bankruptcy counsel, Tom has filed over 250 adversary proceedings in multiple bankruptcy courts recovering in excess of $18,000,000 through settlements and litigation. As general bankruptcy counsel, Tom has also helped chapter 11 debtors, trustees, and committees to identify potential claims, which ultimately were pursued by contingency fee counsel with recoveries exceeding $100,000,000.

From helping clients reorganize and save a failing business, to finding assets in hard cases for creditors, to finding contingency counsel when assets do not exist to bring legitimate claims on an hourly basis, Tom repeatedly finds value for his clients in complex and challenging cases. 



UC Davis Law School, J.D., 1988, Associate Editor UC Davis Law Review,

Am Jur Awards, Federal Tax I and Law & Economics

UCLA, B.A., Economics (1985)


Other Experience


Diepenbrock Wulff Plant & Hannegan, LLP (Associate 1988-1995, Partner 1996-1998)

Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts (1972-1985, retired as Mountain Manager to go to law school)


Legal Memberships, Activities and Honors

Named to the 2018 Best in the Bar edition by the Sacramento Business Journal

Named 2016 Bankruptcy and Insolvency Sacramento Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers

Bankruptcy Dispute Resolution Panel for the Eastern District of California, Resolution Advocate

Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum, Member

Best Lawyers in America, 2006 to present

Martindale-Hubbell, AV Premier

National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, Member

Sacramento County Bar, Bankruptcy Section, Member

Sacramento Valley Bankruptcy Forum, Member

State Bar of California, Member

Super Lawyer® of Northern California, 2005 to present


Prior Memberships

Chapter 11 Liaison Committee to the Office of the U.S. Trustee, Member
Sacramento Valley Bankruptcy Forum, Board of Directors 

Attorney Advisory Committee to the 'Eastern District Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s Office, Member,

State Bar of California Business Law Section, Debtor/Creditor Committee, Member