Insight from Fort Lauderdale Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney David Langley

Fort Lauderdale – Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to both individuals and businesses. It can provide a lifeline for small businesses in financial difficulty. For those individuals with debts in excess of $1,000,000.00 it may provide an opportunity to reorganize that may not be available in Chapter 13. For a small business a bankruptcy filing allows the business to reorganize its debts and make arrangements to pay all or a portion of the debts while obtaining protection from creditors. A small business case may also be used to sell the business as a going concern. Our Broward office has filed numerous reorganization cases throughout South Florida.

Note that many Fort Lauderdale attorneys advertise that they handle Chapter 11 cases, but few small firms handle them well and successfully. We provide a free consultation to review your case and to provide you a chance to question our experience and abilities.

Our firm has represented creditors and employees in many national bankruptcy cases, including the K-Mart, Winn-Dixie, Linen Supermarkets and Bertram Yachts bankruptcies. Call us if you need assistance with the J.C. Penney or Hertz Bankruptcies or any pending case.

A small business can invoke the protection of Chapter 11 to hold collection actions and levies at bay while developing a plan of reorganization. There is also a new Small Business Chapter 11 for businesses with debt of less than $2,725,625.00. The CARES Act has temporarily increased the debt limit to $7,500,000.00. The new provisions are designed to speed up the process and reduce the costs. However, in a Sub-Chapter V Small Business case a trustee distributes payments, so trustee fees will be charged.

Individuals may also file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. There is no debt ceiling as there is in Chapter 13 nor is there a limit on the length of a plan. An individual Chapter 11 also provides greater flexibility than a Chapter 13.

Condominium Association Chapter 11’s Condo associations can also file for bankruptcy protection. Many condo associations are facing serious financial problems from past hurricanes and financial slow downs.  Recent events in Surfside may also result in increased financial pressure. When the unit owners are in foreclosure the banks often drag their feet as they are in no hurry to take title to the units and by doing so incur the monthly maintenance fees. While not a solution for all associations, a reorganization can stop pending lawsuits and levies, force all creditors to deal withcondominium-association-bankruptcy-chapter-11 the association in one forum, prevent utility companies from terminating service and allow the association to reject unfavorable leases. The association should have a clear exit strategy before filing. We have successfully confirmed plans for several associations.

Bankruptcy protection also provides a means to stop IRS collection procedures for a period of time while payments are made. Bankruptcy Code § 362, which grants debtors automatic relief from collection activity, applies to the IRS in the same manner as other creditors. Priority and non-priority taxes can be treated in a plan and paid out over time. This may allow a business which has been seized by the IRS to re-open and operate without interference from the IRS or other creditors.

Some Success Stories from a Fort Lauderdale Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney

We have filed Chapter 11 for many individuals and small businesses in South Florida over the past 30 plus years of practice in bankruptcy law, including doctors, lawyers and business executives. Here are a few examples:

  • We recently confirmed a Plan for a Fisher Island resident after successfully removing a second mortgage in excess of $5,000,000.00 from the residence. We handle many individual cases.
  • In the past two years we have confirmed two Plans for local condominium associations. The Plans allowed the Associations to stop lawsuits and significantly reduce the outstanding debt.
  • Individual 11 to stop a foreclosure, allow the client to convert a small rental building to condo and sell off two units to pay down debt and reinstate mortgages.
  • Small business 11 to stop an IRS levy and allow the client to negotiate a payment plan with the IRS. We were able to file and remove all levies within 48 hours and save over 100 jobs.
  • Small business Chapter 11 for a toy distributor which allowed the client to sell the business as a going concern and shed most of the company debt.
  • A Chapter 11 for an LLC which owned two apartment complexes to reduce the secured debt to the appraised value of the real property.
  • Small business case for a mortgage company to stop a foreclosure proceeding by its warehouse line lender.
  • Individual Chapter 11 to challenge and remove a second mortgage on a Fisher Island home.
  • We currently have a number of individuals and couples in Chapter 11 to negotiate a payment plan to reinstate their mortgages.

Call us to see if there might be a strategy to help you or your business at 954-356-0450.