Chapter 11 Debtor Representation
Bankruptcy Trustee Representation
Out of Court Workouts
Bankruptcy & Commercial Litigation
Monsi Morales is a partner with Margulies Faith LLP. Ms. Morales represents all constituents in corporate reorganizations, workouts and chapter 7 and 11 cases, including debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, committees, equity holders, trustees, landlords and distressed asset purchasers. Ms. Morales has significant experience representing clients in bankruptcy and restructuring matters in various industries such as entertainment, real estate, franchising, manufacturing and health care.
Ms. Morales graduated from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri in 2004, where her coursework focused on bankruptcy and reorganization, commercial finance and general corporate law. Following graduation, Ms. Morales served as a law clerk to the Hon. Alan M. Ahart, Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of California. During her tenure with Judge Ahart, Ms. Morales was exposed to nearly all aspects of bankruptcy and reorganization law, including assisting Judge Ahart when he sat by designation on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit.
Prior to joining Margulies Faith, Ms. Morales practiced financial restructuring and bankruptcy with the top tier corporate bankruptcy boutique firm of Peitzman Weg LLP in Los Angeles and with the Am Law 100 firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Ms. Morales serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California network of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) (2012-2014, and 2019-present) and on the Board of Governors for the Financial Lawyers Conference (2019-present). In addition, Ms. Morales is active with the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
As Debtor’s Counsel:
- Represents five affiliated debtors that own and operate multiple joint care clinics across the country in their chapter 11 cases, which involve litigation or other resolution of claims asserted by purported secured creditors and restructuring of the businesses for a successful reorganization.
- Represented the owner of one of Southern California’s oldest emergency transportation and ambulance companies in its chapter 11 case, successfully negotiating a favorable and equitable settlement with the largest secured creditor to resolve its claim and litigation claims against the Debtor and its insiders, thereby allowing the Debtor to confirm a liquidating plan that pays 100% of claims to former employees and other priority claimants.
- Counsel to two of the largest owners of El Pollo Loco franchises in Southern California as chapter 11 debtors, resolving significant disputes with the secured creditor and franchisor that allowed the debtors to reorganize their business through the competitive and strategic auction of certain franchise locations.
- Represented the owner of the highly successful Terminator motion picture franchise, and 10 of its affiliates, in their chapter 11 cases, which involved negotiating multiple settlements with the primary secured lender, unsecured creditors and equity holders, litigating complex, multi-million dollar claims disputes, and successfully selling the movie franchise.
- Represented 18 affiliated debtors of a national fitness center enterprise through the companies’ chapter 11 cases, successfully reorganizing the popular health club business and restructuring over $70 million in debt within seven months.
- Counsel for 8 affiliated debtors operating a successful nationwide closet organization business in their chapter 11 cases, in which a successful compromise was reached among the debtors, the secured lender and equity that allowed the debtors to voluntarily dismiss their bankruptcy cases and effectuate an out-of-court restructuring of debt.
- Served as debtors’ counsel for two of the largest cases recently filed in the Central District of California, with assets and liabilities exceeding $500 million, consisting primarily of real property assets held through numerous subsidiaries. Represented the individual and corporate debtors in the administration and strategizing of the extremely complex cases, as well as through numerous, heavily contested disputes and negotiations with creditors, investors and the Office of the United States Trustee, eventually leading to the appointment of chapter 11 trustees.
- Counsel for debtor company, which developed and manufactured a fleet location and tracking system that collects, stores, and processes vehicle data, as well as delivers the information to fleet managers through a website. The chapter 11 case was successfully reorganized in less than six months.
As Trustee’s Counsel:
- Counsel to the chapter 7 (converted from chapter 11) trustee for the estate of a real estate development company, which owned several real properties in development around the Los Angeles area. Represented the trustee with matters including the continued finance and development of properties, the sale of assets and settlements of disputes with creditors and equity owners.
- Represented the chapter 7 trustee for a regional hospital system in the settlement of litigation with the debtor’s Directors & Officers.
- Counsel to the chapter 7 trustee for an importer of goods and assisted the trustee in matters concerning the recovery of foreign assets, settlement of disputes and the sale of assets of the bankruptcy estate.
As Committee Counsel:
- Counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the jointly administrated chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of CTC Cable Corporation and several of its affiliates, which entities manufactured and marketed innovative energy efficient and renewable energy products for the electrical utility industry.
- Represented the insiders of a construction company as defendants in a multi-million dollar litigation brought by the company’s bonding company, successfully negotiating a settlement of all claims.
- Counsel to a foreign defendant in a pending adversary proceeding in the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy case in which the trustee for the Madoff estate sought recovery of over $20 million in alleged fraudulent transfers based on the existence of the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
- Counsel to one of the largest entertainment studios in its proposed multi-million dollar acquisition of certain assets of THQ, Inc., a video game publisher, through an expedited bankruptcy sale process.
- Counsel to corporate landlords, receivers, adversary action defendants and judgment creditors in various restructuring and bankruptcy matters.
- Speaker – “Small Business Reorganization Act: The Chapter 11 ‘Fast Track’,” The Esquire Network’s The 405 at 4:05, June 2, 2020
- Co-Producer – “Parting Waves: Consensus Building In Bankruptcy,” California Bankruptcy Forum 32nd Annual Insolvency Conference, May 15-17, 2020 (postponed)
- Speaker – “Fools Rush In – Recent Cases Strengthening the Estate’s Rights Against Creditors,” Financial Lawyers Conference, November 7, 2019
- Speaker – “Avoiding the Bankruptcy Code’s Early Land Mines,” American Bankruptcy Institute 21st Annual Southwest Bankruptcy Conference, Sept. 5, 2014
- Co-Producer – "Hang Nine: The Next Wave of Municipal Bankruptcies and Why You Should Care," California Bankruptcy Forum 26th Annual Insolvency Conference, May 16, 2014
- Speaker – "Bankruptcy Practice: A Practical Primer," PINCUS Professional Education, Los Angeles, CA, May 2007
- Author – Monsi Morales and Deborah Chang, “New Bankruptcy Law Requires Scrutiny of Applicable Dates,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 2, 2005, at 7