Howard M. Levine
Partner, Business Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group Chair, Non-Profit and Religious Organizations Group Co-Chair
1000 SW Broadway, Suite 1400
Portland, Oregon 97205
Assistant: Janine E. Hume: 503.243.1661 x 269
Howard is an accomplished attorney with more than 30 years of experience representing businesses and individuals facing distressed and complex financial situations in search of innovative and effective solutions. His practice includes representing plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state court litigation, and debtors and creditors in Chapter 11 reorganization cases, out-of-court workouts, and debt restructurings.
Howard regularly represents clients involved in complex Chapter 11 cases and federal court litigation throughout the United States. While he is licensed to practice in Oregon and Washington, he has also been admitted to practice pro hac vice on behalf of clients with significant issues in courts located in New York, Delaware, Texas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Alaska, and elsewhere. Howard has represented clients in major national cases such as WorldCom, Inc., Enron, Inc., Hawaiian Airlines, PSI Net, Inc., VarTech Inc., Teligent, Inc., and the Diocese of Fairbanks.
Howard's extensive bankruptcy and litigation experience includes representing parties in analysis, investigation, and litigation concerning:
complex business disputes (including director and officer liability) •
factoring and lending enforcement
debtor in possession financing
asset purchasing through bankruptcy
chapter 11 plan confirmation
all other forms of bankruptcy disputes
Additionally, he has represented state and federal court receivers, including receivers in a golf and country club receivership, a real estate financing Ponzi-scheme receivership, and a large commercial real estate receivership, as well as creditors and investors impacted by receivership filings.
Howard's Chapter 11 debtor practice includes the unique specialty of representing nonprofit religious corporations in Chapter 11 reorganizations. For example, Howard was debtor-in-possession counsel in the Chapter 11 reorganization cases of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon and the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province.
In recognition of his skills and experience, Howard was selected by Best Lawyers® in America as the 2015 "Lawyer of the Year" for Litigation – Bankruptcy in the Portland, Oregon area. Only a single lawyer in each practice area, and designated metropolitan area, is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year." He is recognized in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers® in America in the areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Litigation.
Howard has been named an Oregon Super Lawyer® in the Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights Section since 2006. From 2009 through 2016, Howard has placed among the Top 50 Oregon Super Lawyers®, and in 2012 was named to the Top 10 Oregon Super Lawyers® list. He has been rated an AV® Preeminent lawyer in Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards, for more than 25 years.
Howard is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a select organization of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars that is limited to less than one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. He is a sought-after speaker and author on commercial law, bankruptcy, and reorganization related issues.
Originally from the New York City metropolitan area, Howard moved to Portland in 1979. After a two-year clerkship with Judge Donal D. Sullivan, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Oregon, Howard joined Sussman Shank as an associate in 1982 and became a partner in 1987. He currently is the chair of the firm's Business Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group.
Admitted to Practice
Oregon State Bar
U.S. District Court, Oregon
Washington State Bar
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Summary of Significant Transactions
Represented Chapter 11 Trustee in Case Involving Major National Cattle Ponzi Scheme
- In re Hoyt and Sons Ranch Properties (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Or.)
Represented Creditors with Recoupment and Setoff Issues and Obtained Approval
For Pre/Post Petition Setoff
- In re WorldCom, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D.N.Y.)
- In re Lightyear Holdings, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Ky.)
- In re GST, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Del.)
- In re Star Tec Global, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Md.)
- In re VarTec, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Tex.)
Represented Debtor in Chapter 11 Cases
- In re Western Supply Corporation (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Or.)
- In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Oregon (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Or.)
- In re Society of Jesus, Oregon Province (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Or.)
- In re ERP-Link, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Or.)
Represented Defendant in Significant Preference Litigation
- In re Winstar, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Del.)
- In re Simon Transportation Services, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Utah)
- In re PSI Net, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D.N.Y.)
- In re Teligent, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill.)
Represented DIP Lender
- In re YDS, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D. Ohio)
- In re New Rising Fenix (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Mo.)
- In re Boyd Trucking, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Tex.)
Represented Indenture Trustee
- In re Melridge, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Or.)
Represented Secured Creditor in Successful PACA Lien Priority Dispute
- Boulder Fruit Express, et al. v. John A. Mesing, et al., (U.S. District Court, C.D. Cal 1998)
Represented Chapter 11 Asset Purchaser
- In re Post Tool, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Mass.)
- In re Woodworkers Warehouse, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Del.)
Represented Trustee of Post-Confirmation Trust
- In re Cadet Manufacturing, Inc. (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, W.D. Wash.)
- In the Matter of Broken Top (Deschutes County Oregon Circuit Court)
- In the Matter of the Dissolution of Acuity Lending (Multnomah County Oregon Circuit Court);
- First Citizens Bank & Trust Company v. MISSCOM, LLC et al. (US District Court, D. Or)
Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
We served as lead counsel to the Archdiocese of Portland in the first Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed by a Roman Catholic diocese in the United States. We developed and implemented a strategy that considered the interplay of First Amendment religious rights, charitable trust, and bankruptcy law in proposing and confirming a reorganization plan that resulted in the settlement and payment of over 250 known clergy sex abuse claims, provided a trust for the liquidation and payment of future abuse claims, and preserved the assets and operations of 124 parishes and three Catholic high schools.
Society of Jesus, Oregon Province
This was the first Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed by one of the provinces of a Roman Catholic religious order in the United States. Relying on our experience from the Archdiocese of Portland case, and facing new issues relevant only to a religious order, we were able to implement a strategy for resolving and paying over 500 clergy sex abuse claims through the use of insurance coverage and other assets. This resulted in a plan that was overwhelmingly accepted by all creditors, which included $119 million in contributions from the debtor's insurers and allowed the province to continue its mission throughout Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Represented Major Creditor in Individual Chapter 11 Case
We represented an out-of-state creditor with multi-million dollar claims against the chapter 11 Debtor, and against whom the Debtor asserted claims in excess of $200 million. After convincing the creditors committee that the Debtor's claims against our client were worthless, and that the Debtor would be unable to reorganize, we reached a settlement with the creditors committee to make a nominal payment to fund a chapter 11 liquidating plan. As part of the confirmed plan, we obtained a comprehensive release of claims against or client, an injunction against the Debtor, and an allowed claim in favor of our client for $3.2 million. After the plan was confirmed, we obtained two contempt orders against the Debtor. We also prevailed on summary judgment to deny the Debtor his bankrtupcy discharge and obtain a $3.2 million judgment. All five of the Debtor's appeals were resolved by the District Court in our client's favor.
Sunflower/423 Limited Partnership
We represented the major limited partner in these consolidated chapter 11 limited partnership cases pending in Plano, Texas. After successfully litigating our objection to claims filed by the general partner and entities he controlled, and objecting to a proposed sale of the Debtors' assets, we located a competing bidder, whose winning bid was large enough to fund a plan we prepared that paid creditors in full and returned significant capital to the limited partners.
Representative MattersMunson v. Gradient Resources, Inc.,
2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61186 (D. Or. April 29, 2014) Bethesda Slavic Church v. AG Financial Services, Inc.,
2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50358 (W.D. Wash. April 12, 2012) Church v. Onewest Bank FSB, 2011 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 63635 (D. Or. June 15, 2011) In re Orchards Village Investments, LLC,
405 BR 341 (Bankr. D. Or. 2009) Tort Claimants Committee v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, dba Archdiocese of Portland,
345 BR 686 (Bankr. D. Or. 2006) Tort Claimants Committee v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, dba Archdiocese of Portland,
325 BR 342 (Bankr. D. Or. 2005) Tort Claimants Committee v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, dba Archdiocese of Portland,
325 BR 368 (Bankr. D. Or. 2005) Stein v. Peter,
2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27329 (D. Or. 2002) Stringer v. John Mitchell, Trustee,
261 BR 680 (Bankr. D. Or. 2001) Boulder Fruit Express, et al. v. John A. Mesing, et al.,
1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22887 (CD Cal 1998) In re Crook,
79 BR 475 (9th Cir. BAP 1987)
HonorsBest Lawyers® in America 2015
"Lawyer of the Year" for Litigation - Bankruptcy, Portland, ORBest Lawyers® in America
2014-2017 Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Litigation - Bankruptcy
Oregon Super Lawyers
® Top 50
Oregon Super Lawyers
®, 2006-2016, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights
Portland Business Journal 2005, "Best of the Bar, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights"
Oregon Super Lawyers® Top 10 List, 2012
Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2014 - present
Oregon State Bar Association
Business Litigation Section
Washington State Bar Association
Multnomah County Bar Association
American Bankruptcy Institute
American Bar Association
City of Lake Oswego Oregon Transportation Advisory Board ("TAB"), Member (2016).
TAB is an eight-member citizen advisory body appointed by the City Council for a three-year term. TAB meets quarterly to oversee the City's Neighborhood Traffic Management Program and to provide service concerning the City's Transportation System Plan. Duties include making recommendations regarding transportation improvement projects for inclusion in the City's Capital Improvement Plan and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of traffic demand management strategies and making recommendations for improvements.
Lake Oswego Fire Department - Community Emergency Response Team (CERT
Mountain Park Racquet Club
Multnomah Athletic Club
Tualatin Country Club
International Factoring Association Factoring Industry Compendium (to be published in 2017)
Oregon State Bar Continuing Legal Education
Running the Rapids
"Bankruptcy Issues for Insider Evildoers"
"Bankruptcy Litigation," Co-author,
Supplement, Cumulative Supplement
Foreclosing Security Interests
"A Primer Representing Secured Creditors in
Bankruptcy Proceedings," Supplement,
Debtor-Creditor Ethics (and More)
"Ethics of Negotiation"
Family & Juvenile Law Section - Spring Conference
"Bankruptcy Code Changes Affecting Family Law"
Oregon Law Institute
"The Secured Creditor in Bankruptcy," Co-author
"Working with U.C.C. Article 9", Supplement
Oregon State Bar Debtor/Creditor Newsletter
"Gilbert Sussman's Simple Truths," Co-author,
(Reprinted in the Commercial Law Bulletin) Published by the
Commercial Law League of America
"Demoted by Probate" Lien article
Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund Newsletter "In Brief"
"Taxes, Timing, and Personal Bankruptcies, or Playing Beat the Clock
with the Tax Collector"
"Bankruptcy Traps," Co-author
"International Factoring Association: Tips, Traps, and Opportunities for
DIP Factoring in Chapter 11"
Ohio Northern Law Review, 5 Ohio No. Law R 687
"The Death Penalty and Guilty Pleas: Ohio Rule 11(c)(3)-A
Constitutional Answer to a Capital Defendant's Dilemma"
The Catholic Archdiocese in Chapter 11: Causes, Controversies, and Legal Challenges (The University of Toledo College of Law Presentation)
Creditors Rights Seminar
Fidelity National Title Insurance Company
International Factoring Association
Multnomah Bar Association
National Business Institute
National Diocesan Attorneys Association
Oregon Association of Defense Council - Bankruptcy Tools for Non-Bankruptcy Litigators
Oregon Law Institute
Oregon Liquor Control Commission
Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants
Oregon State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section Annual Meeting Panel Participant
State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section: Running the Rapids
Oregon State Bar Family and Juvenile Law Section
Oregon State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section: Old Dogs and New Tricks - the Saga of Lender Liability Pratfalls
U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society - Bankruptcy in the Cathedral
B.S., cum laude
, Monmouth University
J.D., University of Toledo University of Toledo Law
Review, Business Editor