Craig Averch | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Craig Averch
Craig Averch

Craig Averch

Partner, Los Angeles

T +1 213 620 7704

T +1 213 620 7700

E caverch@whitecase.com

in LinkedIn profile

“Craig Averch… has broad expertise in handling both debtor and creditor relationships.”

Chambers USA

Overview

Craig advises clients on all aspects of financial restructuring and insolvency, steering clients who are in deep trouble in the best possible direction. His area of focus includes workouts and restructurings of problem loans and investments, as well as insolvencies.

He has extensive experience, gained through many years' involvement in a variety of proceedings throughout the United States and Central and Eastern Europe. He counsels clients across a wide range of industry sectors including transportation, real estate, retail, textile, oil and gas, energy, banking and financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, high-tech and telecommunications.

Craig has represented many different groups in connection with bankruptcy and restructuring matters, including bondholders, bank groups, strategic and financial investors, miscellaneous creditor constituencies, sovereigns, and debtors. Craig's knowledge and appreciation of diverse groups, combined with his tenacious approach, enable him to secure the best interests for his clients.

Craig also has litigation experience involving bankruptcy matters. Prior to joining White & Case, he acted as Senior Counsel for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, an international and prestigious financial institution headquartered in the City of London.

Craig has been active in academic circles for a number of years, and is currently enjoying his second spell as Adjunct Professor at the Pepperdine University School of Law. He has also previously been Adjunct Professor at the Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law.

Craig heads up the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Practice within the Firm's Los Angeles office.

Bars and Courts

  • California State Bar
  • Texas State Bar
  • US District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas
  • US District Courts for the Central and Southern Districts of California
  • US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Education

  • JD, University of Texas School of Law
  • BBA, University of Texas, Austin

Languages

  • English

Experience

Otero County Hospital Association, Inc., 2012

Otero County Hospital Association, Inc. operates a regional medical center in New Mexico. Craig acted as lead counsel in its chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court. Prior to commencing its chapter 11 in 2011, the hospital faced 50 separately filed personal injury lawsuits. The plaintiffs' aggregate damage demands exceeded US $100 million, several multiples of the available insurance. Through the chapter 11 plan the hospital consensually resolved the lawsuits and numerous additional related claims, and regained access to the public municipal debt market. The hospital's plan became effective in 2012, with the closing of a US $70 million municipal bond offering.

Freedom Communications Holdings, 2009-10

In the Freedom Communications Holdings chapter 11 case, Craig was lead bankruptcy counsel, representing a certified class comprising 2,500 plaintiffs. Having reached a settlement of nearly US $30 million, Freedom filed for bankruptcy protection to avoid paying the settlement. Under the terms of a pre-negotiated plan support agreement between debtors and their secured lenders, the certified class and general unsecured creditors were to receive US $5 million. Freedom's largest unsecured creditor took the primary role in increasing recoveries to general unsecured creditors to US $14.5 million, plus the right to sue Freedom's former directors through a litigation trust. Craig successfully represented the litigation trust.

Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, 2010

White & Case represented a group headed by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and sports attorney Charles Greenberg in its successful bid to purchase the Texas Rangers through the Texas Rangers Baseball Partners' bankruptcy proceedings. The Greenberg/Ryan group submitted the high bid in an auction for the Rangers prior to the Texas Rangers' bankruptcy, but the secured lenders refused to consent to the sale. White & Case navigated its client through the bankruptcy process to complete a sale of the Rangers to the Greenberg/Ryan group through an auction, with the winning bid topping US$591 million.

National Products Group, LLC, 2009

Craig represented Natural Products Group, LLC and certain of its subsidiaries, including Arbonne International, LLC and Levlad, LLC, in connection with their restructuring of approximately US$746 million in debt pursuant to a prepackaged Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. Natural Products Group and its domestic subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions on 27 January 2010, confirmed their plan of reorganization less than a month later, on 22 February 2010 and closed the deal on 5 March 2010. Through the restructuring, the company reduced its debt obligations by more than 80 percent.

WCI Communities, 2009

WCI Communities successfully emerged from chapter 11 in late 2009, where White & Case served as lead counsel to the debtors. WCI was one of the largest home builders to seek chapter 11 relief during the global downturn. In addition to confirming a plan of reorganization, WCI was able to secure DIP financing at a time when the credit markets were frozen. White & Case's innovative strategies and credibility with the stakeholders allowed WCI to emerge as a deleveraged lifestyle community developer and land-holding company with the flexibility to successfully continue its business.

Corporación Durango, 2009

White & Case acted as lead restructuring counsel to Corporación Durango, the largest paper and wood products company in Mexico, 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 before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Speaking Engagements

"The Absolute Priority Rule in Bankruptcy", December 7, 2012: Lorman Educational Conference, (lead presenter)

"Contested Valuations: Trying the Appraisers", March 16, 2010: Los Angeles County Bar Association, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Series, (panelist)

"Dealing with Chinese Drywall During an Insolvency", November 11, 2009: HB Litigation Conference — Chinese Drywall Litigation and Insurance Coverage Update, Los Angeles, CA, (lead panelist)

"Netting, Recoupment, Setoff and Such Matters – How to Make It Stick", International Energy Credit Association, 2009 Spring Education Conference, Dana Point, CA, (lead presenter)

Publications

  • When May a Bankruptcy Court Enjoin Proceedings Against a Non-Debtor?, Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law, January 2008 , (co-author)
  • Has The Disturbance To Claims Trading Been Quelled?, Bankruptcy Law 360, November 16, 2007

Awards & Recognition

California Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Chambers USA , 2008 – 2013

Southern California Super Lawyers, Super Lawyers Magazine, Lawyers 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013 & 2014