Peter Friedman

Partner

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Peter Friedman is a nationally acclaimed bankruptcy and restructuring litigator. He has successfully represented troubled borrowers and public entities and their stakeholders, including lenders, bondholders, investors, and officers and directors, in bankruptcy courts, district courts and courts of appeals across the country.

Peter is listed as a leading bankruptcy lawyer in Chambers USA (2010-18). Chambers has described Peter as “known in the market for his expertise in contentious bankruptcy cases,” a “great oral advocate,” and “top-notch bankruptcy litigator,” who is “effective in the courtroom,” but is also “focused on trying to keep the fight out of court and getting to a creative resolution.” Peter is also a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.

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Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2019 for Bankruptcy & Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency & Reorganization Law, and Litigation - Bankruptcy in Washington, DC; Peter has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2014.
  • Named a leading bankruptcy lawyer by Chambers USA (2010-2019)
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 in Bankruptcy and Restructuring (2017-2018) and as a Leading Lawyer (2016)
  • Recognized as one of 12 “Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyers” by Turnarounds & Workouts Magazine
  • Noted as one of the Best Lawyers in Washington, DC by Washingtonian Magazine and Super Lawyers

Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeals, Third and Seventh Circuits
  • US District Court, District of Columbia

Education

  • Northwestern University, J.D., 1998, Order of the Coif, cum laude; Editor, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
  • Trinity College, B.A., 1994, with Honors

Professional Activities

Clerkships

  • Honorable Joel M. Flaum, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Fellow

  • American College of Bankruptcy

Adjunct Professor

  • Georgetown University Law Center: Bankruptcy 

Board Member

  • DC Law Students in Court and American Jewish Committee, Washington DC Region; Journey Through Hallowed Ground

Author

  • “An Inherent Claim Against The Estate?” Law360 (2010)
  • “Leverage and Lenders of Last Resort,” The Bankruptcy Strategist (2009)
  • “Chrysler, GM: Courts Extend Law On Sales,” Law360 (2009)
  • “Approval of Management Equity Plans after Chapter 11,” New York Law Journal (2007)
  • Serves as lead litigation counsel to the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority in Puerto Rico's historic Title III restructuring proceedings. 
  • Represented Verso Paper Corp. in its bankruptcy as lead litigation counsel. Among other things, Peter led a team of O’Melveny lawyers in bringing together several groups of secured lenders to reach a complex intra-company protocol to address a key contractual matter at the beginning of Verso’s case.
  • Successfully argued a motion to dismiss an adversary proceeding filed by Marathon Asset Management seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from three major private equity funds regarding the interpretation of an intercreditor agreement in the EFH Bankruptcy. Decision affirmed on appeal in the United States District Court for Delaware. 
  • Lead bankruptcy litigation counsel to the iconic American company Colt Defense Industries in its Chapter 11 cases.  Colt’s case, which was highly contentious at the outset, resulted in a fully-consensual plan that provided meaningful recoveries to all parties.
  • Co-led O’Melveny’s representation of Suntech Power Holdings, Inc., which, in November 2014, received recognition of its Chapter 15 petition in the Southern District of New York over the objection of a major creditor, and defeated challenges to Suntech’s eligibility to be a United States Debtor as well as a motion to transfer venue of the case to California.
  • Successfully defended Sound Point Capital Management and its managing partner, Stephen Ketchum, and obtained dismissal of a $2 billion lawsuit brought against them by Harbinger Capital in the LightSquared chapter 11 cases.
  • Represented the United States Treasury and the Presidential Task Force on the Automobile Industry as lender and acquirer in the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcies.
  • Advised LyondellBasell Industries as a debtor in every aspect of its bankruptcy restructuring of more than US$25 billion in debt. He counseled Lyondell and litigated on its behalf in its precedent-setting settlement of fraudulent transfer litigation and in connection with unwinding a complex web of intercreditor relationships.
  • Represented US Bank, NA as Indenture Trustee for leveraged lease bonds in the Dynegy Holdings bankruptcy, where he successfully argued for the appointment of an examiner over the objection of many other parties in interest and led litigation efforts related to the treatment of US Bank's claims under Bankruptcy Code section 502(b)(6). US Bank ultimately reached an extremely favorable settlement on its claims.
  • Peter was lead bankruptcy litigation counsel to the Renco Group as a secured lender and equity sponsor in the RG Steel bankruptcy, and assisted Renco in obtaining a structured dismissal of the case on very favorable terms (including a full release).

Peter has represented numerous debtors, including:

  • Northwest Airlines
  • Entegra
  • Caribbean Petroleum
  • Xerium Technologies
  • Vertis Inc.
  • Enron
  • WorldCom
  • Saint Vincent's Catholic Medical Center
  • Cal Dive, Inc.
  • Colt Defense LLC
  • Armstrong World Industries Inc. 

He has also represented special board committees in the Local Insight Media, Inc. and Digital Domain Media Group bankruptcies. 

Representative ongoing or completed creditor representations include: 

  • Blockbuster (Icahn Associates)
  • Owens Corning (Credit Suisse as Agent for US$1 billion credit facility)
  • Lehman Brothers (Morgan Stanley as plan proponent and derivatives counterparty)
  • AMF Bowling (Cerberus & a leading financial institution)
  • BLB/Twin River Casino (Wells Fargo, Sankaty Capital)
  • Inner City Media Company (Yucaipa as successful undersecured petitioning creditor in involuntary Chapter 11 cases)
  • Crescent Resources (Morgan Stanley as lender and equity holder)

Peter has won numerous arguments and trials, including:

  • Prevailing on a motion to dismiss an adversary proceeding filed against three private equity funds in the Energy Futures Holding bankruptcy (Marathon Asset Mgmt. v. Wilmington Trust, et al.);
  • After a three day trial, obtaining approval of the largest privately funded debtor-in-possession financing in history in LyondellBasell Industries, Inc.;
  • In Dynegy Holdings, obtained appointment of a bankruptcy examiner over the objection of the debtor, its corporate parent and outside investors and bondholders;
  • After a one day trial, recognition of Suntech Power Holding’s Chapter 15 petition in the Southern District of New York and defeat of a motion to transfer venue;
  • In LightSquared, Inc., obtaining dismissal of $2 billion adversary proceeding brought by equity sponsor Harbinger Capital (Harbinger v. Ergen, et al.);
  • Dismissal of an adversary proceeding for equitable subordination brought against Icahn Associates, as well as defeating a motion to pursue other causes of action against Icahn in Blockbuster;
  • Obtaining an order enforcing Lyondell's plan of reorganization and requiring Highland Capital to dismiss a $150 million lawsuit against Lyondell;
  • Dismissal of a $25 million tortious interference claim brought by Verizon against Northwest Airlines in Northwest's chapter 11 case;
  • Dismissal of a $227 million constructive trust claim brought by the state of Connecticut in Enron's chapter 11 case;
  • After evidentiary hearing, obtaining approval of a contested sale of all Caribbean Petroleum assets;
  • Rejecting more than 150 contracts in a precedent-setting case involving the interplay of the bankruptcy code and the federal Petroleum Marketers Protection Act;
  • Defeating a motion to transfer venue of a chapter 11 case brought by a state taxing authority and public utility company, holding combined claims of over $40 million;
  • Approval of a management incentive plan over an objection by the United States government in Vertis;
  • After trial, successfully expunging a $125 million claim brought by Wells Fargo in WorldCom's bankruptcy case;
  • Limiting the scope and budget of an examiner's investigation requested by statutory committee of unsecured creditors and defeating an attempt to expand the scope of that examiner's work in the Lyondell bankruptcy;
  • After a six-day trial, obtained estimation of current and future asbestos liability of Owens Corning billions of dollars below amount proposed by debtor and asbestos claimants;
  • Dismissal of a multi-million dollar preference claim against Morgan Stanley brought by Crescent Holdings LLC litigation trust;