Michael A. VanNiel

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7698
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Mike VanNiel maintains a bankruptcy and commercial law practice focused on insolvency and related commercial litigation, corporate debtor restructuring, creditors’ committee representations, and representation of financial institutions and secured lenders in workouts and similar matters. Throughout his career, Mike has represented every constituency involved in reorganizations, workouts and insolvency-related commercial litigation. With a creative approach to the complex issues facing his clients, Mike provides hands-on representation and is relentless in advancing clients’ interests during high-stakes restructuring and commercial litigation.

Mike is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law. He is also a recipient of the 2002 American Bankruptcy Institute Gold Medal of Excellence Award.

Select Experience

  • Serves as lead counsel representing the Chapter 7 Trustee of Fair Finance Co. in significant litigation against Fair Finance's former lenders and owners. The matter involves all issues relating to Ponzi scheme litigation, including state and federal fraudulent transfer and related avoidance laws, as well as state law tort claims.
  • Lead counsel on a team that represented the official committee of administrative creditors in a large Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of an integrated steel manufacturer. This engagement involved virtually all significant issues that could arise in the context of a creditors' committee representation under the federal bankruptcy laws, including the successful prosecution and settlement of more than $100 million in breach of fiduciary duty and related state law claims. When the team was retained, the committee's constituents expected to receive payment of a small fraction of their claims. When the engagement concluded, those constituents collectively received full payment of approximately $165 million.
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Experience

  • Serves as lead counsel representing the Chapter 7 Trustee of Fair Finance Co. in significant litigation against Fair Finance's former lenders and owners. The matter involves all issues relating to Ponzi scheme litigation, including state and federal fraudulent transfer and related avoidance laws, as well as state law tort claims.
  • Lead counsel on a team that represented the official committee of administrative creditors in a large Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of an integrated steel manufacturer. This engagement involved virtually all significant issues that could arise in the context of a creditors' committee representation under the federal bankruptcy laws, including the successful prosecution and settlement of more than $100 million in breach of fiduciary duty and related state law claims. When the team was retained, the committee's constituents expected to receive payment of a small fraction of their claims. When the engagement concluded, those constituents collectively received full payment of approximately $165 million.
  • Lead counsel representing a national bank in multimillion-dollar commercial workout matters, including matters relating to companies that provide processing services for prepaid bank card products issued by the client. Led the client through successful negotiations and consensual resolutions of complex workout agreements and related settlements in those matters.
  • Lead counsel for an architectural design and technology client defending a significant commercial lawsuit arising from the bankruptcy of the client's contractor. This complex litigation involved the ownership of proceeds flowing from a large government construction contract and was successfully resolved.
  • Represented a manufacturing client in the appeal of a large adverse jury verdict in a lawsuit relating to the client's prior divestiture of certain business divisions. Successfully obtained a reversal on appeal and entry by the appellate court of judgment in the client's favor without remand to the trial court.
  • Represented a private equity firm in efforts to restructure and sell portfolio companies.
  • Represented a large retail distribution company in its Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.
  • Represented the owner of a large hydrogen gas facility in litigation with a general contractor and major subcontractors of the facility.
  • Represented a publicly traded automotive parts distributor in a Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.
  • Represented a real estate company in workout negotiations with a company lender.
  • Represented an internet advertising company in its successful Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.
  • Represented a magnetic resonance imaging company with facilities in multiple states in its Chapter 11 reorganization proceeding.
  • Represented a major bank in bankruptcy litigation regarding Chapter 11 debtor's use of the bank's collateral.
  • Represented a large aluminum manufacturer in litigation to collect a large receivable from a significant customer.
  • Represented a limited partner in the bankruptcy of a single-asset real estate limited partnership.
  • Represented an investment banking firm in a fee dispute in the Chapter 11 reorganization of a manufacturing company.
  • Represented a large construction company in disputes with its union and a significant customer.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Bankruptcy/Restructuring in Ohio (2016, 2017)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©
    • Cleveland: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2014 to 2018)
    • Cleveland: Litigation - Bankruptcy (2016 to 2018)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Ohio Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2007, 2009 to present)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute: Gold Medal of Excellence (2002)

Memberships

  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • American Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section: Chair (2013 to 2014)
  • Turnaround Management Association

Community

  • Community Assessment Treatment Services, Inc.: Board of Directors

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2002
  • Ohio, 2001

Education

  • J.D., University of Toledo College of Law, 2001, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
  • B.A., The Ohio State University, 1995