Michael A. Sabella

Associate

New York
T +1.212.589.4625
F +1.212.589.4201

Overview

Michael Sabella focuses his practice on the areas of bankruptcy, restructuring, creditors’ rights and complex commercial litigation. Drawing upon his clerkship and prior bankruptcy experience, Michael combines his understanding of the transactional and litigation sides of bankruptcy for a thorough and proactive approach to all client situations. He is actively involved in every stage of litigation, from the initial consultation through resolution, encompassing discovery issues, motion practice, court appearances, settlement discussions and trial. Michael has also spoken and written about a wide range of bankruptcy issues, including case-specific appellate decisions, preference issues and interpretations of components of the Bankruptcy Code.

Michael uses his legal experience and skills in advocating for pro bono clients on issues impacting LGBTQ+ individuals, asylum seekers, death row inmates and projects for different human rights and interest groups.

Select Experience

  • Member of the BakerHostetler team serving as court-appointed counsel to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), an unprecedented effort involving more than 1,000 lawsuits filed by the SIPA Trustee to recover assets for the benefit of defrauded BLMIS customers.
  • Represented a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in the liquidation of a multimillion-dollar real property lease and the administration and operation of a golf course on Long Island. Handled every aspect of the case, including the sale of assets of the estate, extensive claim litigation against unsecured and alleged secured creditors, numerous court appearances before the Bankruptcy Court and appellate litigation before the district court.
  • Represented a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in the liquidation of several parcels of real property. Handled every aspect of the case, including the sale of properties, claims litigation against alleged secured and unsecured creditors, and the contested election of the chapter 7 trustee.
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Experience

  • Member of the BakerHostetler team serving as court-appointed counsel to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS), an unprecedented effort involving more than 1,000 lawsuits filed by the SIPA Trustee to recover assets for the benefit of defrauded BLMIS customers.
  • Represented a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in the liquidation of a multimillion-dollar real property lease and the administration and operation of a golf course on Long Island. Handled every aspect of the case, including the sale of assets of the estate, extensive claim litigation against unsecured and alleged secured creditors, numerous court appearances before the Bankruptcy Court and appellate litigation before the district court.
  • Represented a chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in the liquidation of several parcels of real property. Handled every aspect of the case, including the sale of properties, claims litigation against alleged secured and unsecured creditors, and the contested election of the chapter 7 trustee.
  • Represented a chapter 7 trustee in litigation against a former principal of debtor seeking to recover fraudulent conveyances made by principal and breach of principal’s fiduciary duty to debtor.
  • Defended a landlord who owned multiple residential buildings against a class action litigation related to wage and hour violations for building managers and janitorial staff. Successfully negotiated settlement of the class action.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • New York Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2015 to 2018)

Memberships

  • American Bankruptcy Institute 
    • Law Review Alumni Association: Member
  • American Bar Association
    • Business Law Section
      • Lawyers with Disabilities Involvement: Vice-Chair
    • Business Bankruptcy Committee
    • Business Law Fellows Program (2017)
    • Business Bankruptcy Committee eNewsletter: Co-Editor-in-Chief
  • New York City Bar Association
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Committee: Member
  • LAMBDA Legal
    • Young Leadership Council: Member
  • OutNEXT
    • OutNEXT Leadership Committee
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association

Pro Bono

  • Assisted in drafting an amicus brief on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign and leading child welfare associations in favor of the rights of transgender students for the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gloucester County School Board. v. G.G. 
  • Works with the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) on the Name Change Project to assist transgender individuals in changing their names to reflect their gender identity.
  • Represents an Alabama death row inmate referred through the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system.
  • Works with Immigration Equality, helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive individuals gain asylum in the United States.
  • Served as special assistant corporation counsel for the Law Department of the City of New York in 2017. Conducted and defended numerous depositions on behalf of the city of New York in various tort lawsuits.
  • Assisted the American Constitution Society in various research and policy-related matters.
  • Aided low-income individuals through New Orleans Legal Assistance with the preparation of their bankruptcy petitions.
  • Represented small investors through St. John's University School of Law Securities Arbitration Clinic in disputes against their broker-dealers. Filed claims with the National Association of Securities Dealers, analyzed account statements to determine the validity of causes and actions, selected arbitrators, and participated in arbitrations.
  • Represented elderly individuals through the St. John's University School of Law Elder Law Clinic. Interviewed clients and witnesses, negotiated with attorneys and debt collectors, and prepared court documents and correspondence to opposing counsel and organizations.

Prior Positions

  • Law Clerk for the Honorable Dorothy T. Eisenberg, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York (2008 to 2012)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • New York
  • New Jersey

Education

  • LL.M., Bankruptcy, St. John’s University School of Law, 2009
  • J.D., St. John’s University School of Law, 2007; Associate Managing Editor, American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review
  • B.A., Muhlenberg College, 2004, magna cum laude