Oscar Garza, a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Orange County and Los Angeles offices, joined the firm in 1990. He is a member of the Business Restructuring and Reorganization Practice Group (and was a former co-chair of the restructuring group), Transnational Litigation and Latin America Practice Groups.
Mr. Garza’s restructuring practice involves representing debtors, creditors’ committees, and secured creditors in chapter 11 cases, advising buyers and sellers of the assets of financially distressed companies, and representing Bankruptcy Trustees in complex cases.
Mr. Garza’s transnational litigation practice is currently focused on leading and coordinating the defense against recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments with significant emphasis in defending actions in Latin America. He is also advising on litigation strategy for multinational corporations involved in litigation within Latin America.
Mr. Garza has played a key role in some significant restructuring matters and insolvency related litigation cases, including the following representations:
- He is currently lead counsel to the Chandler Trusts, which were Tribune Company’s largest shareholders, three former members of the board of directors and a number of sub-trusts in various litigation involving fraudulent transfer, breach of fiduciary duty and other claims arising from the buyout of Tribune Company that allegedly led to its chapter 11 cases pending in the Southern District of New York. Those adversaries proceedings were dismissed as against all defendants by the District Court and are currently pending before the SCOTUS (cert. petition) and the Second Circuit.
- He is currently lead counsel to Harbinger Capital Partners, LLC and certain affiliates in litigation arising from the leveraged recapitalization of Boston Generating LLC and EBG Holdings LLC that allegedly led to their bankruptcy filings in the Southern District of New York. That adversary proceeding was dismissed as against all defendants by the Bankruptcy Court (June 2020) based on the “safe harbor” provisions of Section 546(e) and is on appeal to the District Court.
- He was debtor’s counsel to the “PropCo Debtors” (FCP PropCo, LLC, FCP MezzCo Borrowers I – V, LLC), in the Station Casinos, Inc. chapter 11 cases filed in Reno, Nevada;
- He was lead counsel to the Chapter 7 Trustee in the cases of Commercial Money Center, Inc., and Commercial Servicing Company pending in San Diego, CA, which included (i) resolving a multitude of issues via a forty (40) party settlement that resulted in full payment of trade creditors; and (ii) for purposes of avoidance, recharacterizing a $47 million sale of receivables as a loan and arguing to properly identify collateral under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code before the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of California and the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel in NetBank, FSB v. Kipperman (In re Commercial Money Center, Inc.);
- He was lead counsel to Crown EMAK, LLC, the holder of preferred stock and co-proponent of a plan of reorganization that was confirmed in the case of EMAK Worldwide, Inc. and EMAK Service Corp leaving Crown EMAK, LLC as the sole equity holder of the reorganized debtors;
- He was lead counsel to the purchaser of the senior secured creditors (owed in excess of $330 million) of the Japanese owner of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa, Azabu Buildings Company, LTD., in its chapter 11 case pending in Honolulu, HI and related insolvency proceeding in Tokyo, Japan. Defending the senior secured creditors in an equitable subordination (§ 510(c)) adversary complaint and, eventually, obtaining a full recovery by the senior secured creditor;
- He was prepetition and debtor’s counsel to ResMAE Mortgage Corporation in its sale through a plan of reorganization in ResMAE’s chapter 11 case pending in Delaware;
- He was counsel to the independent members of the board of directors of New Century Financial Corp. in the chapter 11 cases filed with its various affiliated entities pending in Delaware;
- He was counsel to Wells Fargo Bank, as the senior secured creditor collateralized by the Santa Anita Raceway, in the Magna Entertainment Corp, Inc. chapter 11 cases pending in Delaware;
- He was counsel to Ameristar Casinos in its purchase of the Mountain High Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado from Windsor Woodmont Black Hawk Resort Corp, a chapter 11 debtor, through a plan of reorganization and was counsel to Convergent Communications, Inc. in its acquisition of substantially all the assets of TIE/Communications, Inc. and Paramount Petroleum Oil as the stalking horse bidder for substantially all the assets of Golden Bear Oil Specialties Inc.;
- He was debtors’ counsel to House2Home, Inc. and E-M-Solutions, Inc. (each with debts in excess of $400 million), MicroAge, Inc., and CollegeClub.com in their chapter 11 cases in Santa Ana, CA, Oakland, CA, Phoenix, AZ and San Diego, CA respectively; and
- He was counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Lyons Restaurants, Inc. chapter 11 case in San Francisco.
Mr. Garza has co-authored several articles (i) “Second Circuit Breathes New Life into § 546(e), Answering Unaddressed Question by Merit published in ABI Journal in March 2020; (ii) “Reducing Litigation Risk Through Transaction Independence: Takeaways from Tribune’s Two-Step LBO” published in ABI Journal in June 2019; (iii) Break-up fees for asset purchasers in chapter 11 cases in The Daily Deal and the California Bankruptcy Journal; as well as (iv) an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal on how the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 may change the sale of lease “designation rights.” He has been (i) named as one of California’s leading lawyers in business and restructuring by Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers (2007 – 2020); (ii) recognized by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law from 2006 – 2020 (including being named Orange County Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015 and Orange County Litigation – Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year in 2014, 2016 and 2018); (iii) named as a Southern California Super Lawyer in the area of Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights (2007 – 2020); (iv) selected as a Lawdragon Global 500 Leading Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyer in 2020; and (v) in 2000 he was named by Global Insolvency & Restructuring Review as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” international restructuring professionals.
Mr. Garza obtained his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law, where he was a member of the Arizona Law Review, and he currently serves on the board of visitors for the law school. He is and has been a frequent lecturer focusing mainly on bankruptcy law and insolvency related issues.