Thomas Lauria is the Global Head of the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Practice at White & Case, which comprises more than 130 lawyers located in over 20 countries around the world. Mr. Lauria has led White & Case teams in efforts to restructure more than US$100 billion of debt in some of the largest and most complex restructurings in history, including Dynegy Inc., the Los Angeles Dodgers, LightSquared, Inc., General Maritime Corp., TORM A/S, Central European Distribution Corp., Washington Mutual Inc., Visteon Corp., Six Flags Amusement Parks, Chrysler, WCI Communities, Delphi Corporation, Adelphia Communications Corporation, Mirant Corporation, Corporación Durango.
He regularly represents debtors, ad hoc creditor and lender groups, statutory committees, strategic and financial investors, and sovereigns in a wide variety of industry and market sectors.
Recent and noteworthy restructurings and bankruptcy representations include:
- Dynegy Inc., one of the largest generators of electricity in the United States. We advised the company in connection with its innovative refinancing and restructuring of over US$6 billion of debt and obligations, which was completed through a chapter 11 plan in the Southern District of New York.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers, one of Major League Baseball's most storied franchises, which filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware to preserve Frank McCourt's continued ownership of the team. We represented Major League Baseball in successfully negotiating for the sale of the team to new ownership in a record-setting US$2.15 billion transaction.
- Chrysler, where we represented holders of portions of Chrysler's approximately US$7 billion in first-lien secured debt in opposing the reorganization of Chrysler through a Section 363 sale of substantially all Chrysler's assets. As widely reported, we pressed the dispute to the US Supreme Court where we initially obtained a stay of the sale (which the Court subsequently vacated to permit the sale to close), and later won the vacature of the Second Circuit's ruling regarding the sale.
- Washington Mutual, the largest bank failure in US history. We represented the Ad Hoc Committee of Senior Noteholders, the senior-most stakeholders in this US$327 billion chapter 11 bankruptcy in successfully recovering the full amount of their debt plus substantially all of the accrued interest thereon.
- Mirant Corporation, one of the largest producers, generators and marketers of electricity in the world. White & Case served as debtors' lead counsel in its successful chapter 11 reorganization in the Northern District of Texas involving more than US$10 billion in debt—the largest US bankruptcy in 2003 and one of the largest energy sector bankruptcy filings in US history.
- Visteon Corp., one of the largest auto-parts manufacturers in the world. We represented a group of bondholders who led the negotiation and financing of Visteon's successful exit from chapter 11.
- Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball club. We represented an investor group led by Hall of Fame pitcher, Nolan Ryan, and sports attorney, Chuck Greenberg, in their successful effort to purchase the team out of chapter 11 in August 2010, facilitating their ability to lead the team to its first-ever World Series appearance.
- Six Flags Amusement Parks, the largest amusement park operator in the world. In chapter 11, we represented an ad hoc group of parent-level noteholders in their successful effort to acquire the company by raising sufficient new debt and equity financing to over-take the company's previously proposed plan, which would have provided the parent-level lenders with a de minimis recovery.
- Adelphia Communications, among the largest, (with more than US$18 billion in assets), and most complex bankruptcies ever filed in the Southern District of New York. White & Case acted as counsel to the Ad Hoc Committee of Arahova Noteholders, a group of large financial institutions and funds who held a substantial portion of the US$1.75 billion of notes issued by Adelphia's indirect subsidiary, Arahova Communications. Through our efforts the Arahova Noteholders received total consideration valued at an amount roughly equal to the full par amount of the notes plus all accrued interest after defeating a plan that would have paid them only a small fraction of what they were owed.
- WCI Communities, one of the largest home builders to seek chapter 11 relief in the current downturn. White & Case served as lead counsel to the debtors in their successful chapter 11 reorganization, which was confirmed less than one year after the case was filed. The WCI case involved US$2 billion in debt and was the 14th largest US chapter 11 case filed in 2008.
- Corporación Durango, the largest paper and wood products company in Mexico. White & Case acted as lead restructuring counsel to the company in its successful restructuring of nearly US$1 billion in debt pursuant to the Ley de Concursos Mercantiles in Mexico, and its simultaneous ancillary proceeding in the Southern District of New York. We subsequently represented the company in a follow-on financial restructuring involving more than US$500 million of unsecured notes issued by Durango.
- The Williams Companies, Inc., one of the largest pipeline and energy companies in the United States. White & Case represented Williams as the largest creditor (US$2.5 billion) and former parent of Williams Communications Group (WCG) in WCG's successful chapter 11 case before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Subsequently, White & Case advised TWC in its successful restructuring of more than US$13 billion in debt.
Mr. Lauria has also played a prominent role in numerous other large and complex cases, including Vitro S.A.B. (senior noteholders); Lyondell Chemical (DIP lender); Trump Casinos (first lien lender); Global Power Equipment Group (debtor); Enron Corporation (Ad Hoc Committee of Energy Merchants); Pacific Gas and Electric Company (Ad Hoc Committee of Qualifying Facilities); Marvel Comics (Official Bondholders' Committee); Greyhound Lines (debtor) and LoneStar Steel (debtor).
Mr. Lauria has spoken and written on various restructuring topics, including comparative insolvency law systems and related cross-border issues, enterprise valuation, liquidating plans and alternative dispute resolution procedures. He has been featured on a regular basis in leading publications for his views on restructuring issues of national and international interest, including the current economic crisis and how it has impacted the rehabilitation strategies of distressed companies.
Bars and Courts
US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2007
US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 2000
Florida State Bar, 1995
US District Court for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida, 1995
Texas State Bar, 1986
US District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas, 1986
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1986
JD, George C. Taylor Law Center, University of Tennessee, with honors, 1986
BA, University of Tennessee, with honors, 1982
Awards and Recognition
Outstanding Restructuring Lawyer, Turnarounds & Workouts, 2011 and 2012
Top Ranking: IFLR USA
PLC Which lawyer? USA
World's Leading Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers, Expert Guides
The Best Lawyers in America, 2008 – 2013
Americas Restructuring Team of the Year, IFLR 2006
Best Bankruptcy Lawyer in America, Turnarounds & Workouts Magazine
Thomas Lauria is envied for his "amazing client list and first-class cases." Although he operates out of the Firm's Miami office, his practice is national and he has worked on some of the largest bankruptcies across the USA. The Miami office of this international titan is "without question" home to "top-notch bankruptcy lawyers".
"Brilliant bankruptcy lawyer" Thomas Lauria is chairman of the Firm's financial restructuring and insolvency department. Taking on a variety of Chapter 11 debtor representations and creditor matters, he is admired for his work on tough cases. According to clients, his greatest strength is his conviction; he is an "extremely persuasive litigator and negotiator."
A "first-class team" of 20 Miami insolvency lawyers maintains a thriving national and international practice. They represent clients in all aspects of restructuring and bankruptcy, handling debtors, creditors, equity owners and distressed buyers of assets and companies. Many of the Firm's recent deals have been among the largest and most complex in the USA.
Leading bankruptcy attorney Tom Lauria of White & Case is "one heck of a lawyer," reported sources. Co-chairing the firm's financial restructuring and insolvency department in Miami, he is best known for having a highly successful national practice, advising clients from a range of industries in Chapter 11 debtor representations and creditor matters. Peers praised him for being "a strong commander and negotiator," while one remarked: "I've learned more from him in one case than from everyone else put together!"