Joseph M. Esmont

Associate

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7835
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Joe Esmont is a veteran commercial attorney. He litigates complex commercial and financial disputes, restructures troubled companies, protects clients from distressed business partners, advises clients acquiring distressed assets, and drafts commercial agreements. Joe is particularly experienced in distressed oil and gas assets, troubled financial institutions, and investigating complex fraud schemes.

Select Experience

  • Represented a publicly traded, bankrupt offshore exploration and production company with more than $200 million in assets in obtaining post-bankruptcy financing, developing a plan to decommission its assets and divesting unproductive properties to recover environmental bond collateral. 
  • Lead associate in a bankruptcy trustee's investigation of a $200+ million Ponzi scheme spanning dozens of entities and millions of documents.
  • Has represented both buyers and sellers of oil and gas leases and related assets in sales under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, including representing the buyer of two fields containing approximately 50 producing wells from a bankrupt independent energy company and the bankrupt seller of both operating and working interests in seven offshore platforms and related leases.
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Experience

  • Represented a publicly traded, bankrupt offshore exploration and production company with more than $200 million in assets in obtaining post-bankruptcy financing, developing a plan to decommission its assets and divesting unproductive properties to recover environmental bond collateral. 
  • Lead associate in a bankruptcy trustee's investigation of a $200+ million Ponzi scheme spanning dozens of entities and millions of documents.
  • Has represented both buyers and sellers of oil and gas leases and related assets in sales under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, including representing the buyer of two fields containing approximately 50 producing wells from a bankrupt independent energy company and the bankrupt seller of both operating and working interests in seven offshore platforms and related leases.
  • Represented a buyer of oil and gas leases in seven-figure litigation relating to pre-closing an oil spill. Successfully negotiated agreements that reduced the client's exposure by 70 percent.  
  • Represented a defendant as second-chair counsel in a $50+ million fraudulent transfer suit that was successfully dismissed.
  • Represented the bankruptcy trustee of an investment management firm accused of running an options cherry-picking scheme in the wind-down of its hedge funds and negotiations with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
  • Represented the successor management of a private equity fund in investigating a $9 million fraud by the predecessor management. 
  • Successfully advised an investment fund in resisting a threatened capital call by a failing real estate fund.
  • Represents the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in litigation arising from the failure of two substantial Midwestern bank holding companies and their subsidiary banks.
  • Represented Irving H. Picard, the Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, in connection with BakerHostetler's role as court-appointed counsel to the Trustee.  
  • Represented the plaintiff in successful fraudulent transfer litigation against filmmaker National Lampoon.
  • Represented the plaintiff in a commercial dispute against a Wall Street hedge fund that settled for $35 million.
  • Represented a bankruptcy trustee in the auction of a multimillion-dollar classic car collection and a $600,000 art collection.
  • Represented a bankruptcy trustee in negotiations with landlords and utilities.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges: Next Generation (2017)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Association for Corporate Growth
      • Young ACG Mentorship Committee
    • Turnaround Management Association
      • TMA NextGen, Cleveland Chapter: Chairman

Community

  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 3Rs Program
  • Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Financial Literacy Course

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2009
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2009
  • Ohio

Education

  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 2008
  • B.A., Political Science, History, Towson University, 2005, summa cum laude