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Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights

Varnum ensures that clients have access to the full resources of the firm to meet their objectives

Varnum’s Restructuring, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights lawyers represent troubled companies as well as financial stakeholders in troubled companies. This includes investors, creditors, owners, acquirers, customers, suppliers and many other parties in interest. We work closely with clients to maximize the value of their outcomes.

Our experience includes in-court and out-of-court workouts and restructurings; Chapter 11 bankruptcy representations of debtors; senior secured lenders; bidders and all other key parties in interest; complex avoidance-action litigation; insolvency litigation and opinions; and state and federal court claim and delivery, foreclosure, receivership, and collateral recovery actions. Varnum’s multidisciplinary team approach maintains the personal relationship between lawyer and client while ensuring that clients have access to the full resources of the firm to meet their objectives.

Creditors’ Rights

Varnum is a full-service creditors’ rights law firm. We provide efficient, aggressive, professional representation for our clients. The creditors’ rights attorneys at Varnum focus on this area of the law and are committed to providing the finest-quality legal services to our clients, with the highest integrity.


Varnum represents a diverse range of clients in collection proceedings, including businesses, banks, credit unions, medical services providers, governmental entities, educational institutions and many others. We handle all aspects of the collection process, including skip tracing, demand for payment, legal action, enforcement of judgments, asset location and bankruptcy assistance.

Varnum is able to represent clients anywhere in the state of Michigan, and with our association of attorneys around the world through Ally Law, we can handle all collection needs on behalf of our clients, nationally and internationally.

Fees are established on a contingent or hourly basis and are flexible to meet the needs of each client.


Varnum represents numerous landlords in West Michigan. Our lawyers and staff are experienced, efficient and aggressive in representing landlords who require assistance with delinquent tenants.

Varnum handles all aspects of the eviction process, including preparation of the complaint, summons, judgment and writ of restitution. We are also skilled in all phases of the hearing process, including post-judgment proceedings, appeals and bankruptcy.

Our fees are flexible and designed to meet the needs of the client. Many eviction cases are handled on a flat-fee basis.


Varnum represents creditors in bankruptcy cases, preparing proofs of claim, motions for lift of stay, reaffirmation agreements and objections to confirmation. Because we represent bankruptcy trustees and, occasionally, debtors, we are able to offer advice and practical solutions for our clients. We also handle more complex bankruptcy matters, such as objections to discharge, preference defense and bankruptcy litigation.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act Defense

The requirements of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are complex. We offer advice and assistance on the requirements of these laws, including document and compliance review. We also represent clients who must defend lawsuits filed under the FDCPA and FCRA.

Civil Litigation

Varnum represents clients in civil lawsuits in all federal and state courts throughout Michigan.

Additional Services

Varnum also provides representation and advice in the following areas of creditors’ rights law:

  • Mortgage foreclosure
  • Land contract forfeiture
  • Replevin
  • Liens
  • Child support
  • Advice to employers on garnishments, withholding orders and payroll issues

Distressed M&A

For strategic buyers and well-capitalized investors, distressed targets can generate substantial economic value.

Varnum’s team of mergers and acquisitions and restructuring lawyers brings a wealth of experience to such matters, providing clients with the knowledge and business skills to effectively capitalize on these opportunities. From pre-letter of intent discussion to post-closing matters such as transition and integration, our lawyers help buyers navigate complex issues in an efficient and streamlined manner.

We have national experience in middle-market merger, acquisition and sale transactions involving troubled companies and their assets. Our team offers significant skill and know-how related to distressed M&A deals, including structuring, negotiating and implementing bankruptcy, tax, creditors’ rights, securities, antitrust and financing components of these transactions. This experience includes a substantial number of transactions representing both financial and strategic buyers in acquisitions and representing troubled companies and owners of financially-distressed or discounted assets in restructuring and rehabilitating distressed businesses or liquidating assets.


Varnum’s receivership practice combines experience, knowledge and results-driven focus to meet the specific goals of our clients in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Receivership Services
  • Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions
  • Receiver appointments in post-judgment proceedings
  • Receiver appointments in real estate loan defaults
  • State and federal receivership actions
  • General receiver, conservator and trustee representation in worldwide Ponzi, money laundering and other investment fraud schemes
  • Asset tracing and forensic accounting
  • Asset recovery, marshalling and repatriation
  • Fraud investigation and litigation (shareholder or member fraud)
  • Judicial liquidations of such assets as real estate, businesses, automobiles, aircraft, jewelry, antique and other furniture, fine art, rare coin collections, and sports memorabilia
  • Private and public real estate sales of both residential and commercial properties
  • Web-based auctions
  • Third-party litigation
  • Creation of sophisticated investor databases
  • Investor location services and other skip-tracing services
  • Creation and maintenance of informational websites and telephone hotlines for the public
  • Investor and creditor communications
  • Developing and implementing claims procedures for investors, general creditors and trade creditors
  • Claims processing and administration
  • Disgorgement and settlement administration, distributions
  • Receivership and qualified settlement fund tax issues
  • Estate closeout issues
Resources and Relationships

Varnum has the infrastructure, resources and partnerships – both nationally and internationally – to serve as receiver, represent receivers and administer receiverships worldwide.


Varnum’s restructuring lawyers represent troubled companies as well as financial stakeholders in troubled companies, including investors, creditors, owners, acquirers, customers, suppliers and many other parties in interest, working closely with clients to maximize the value of their outcomes.

Trade Creditor Representation

How can I protect myself if my customer declares bankruptcy? What happens if I am sued for a preference? These are the kinds of questions we field daily. Our clients trust us because we strive to meet their goals through preventive action, common sense and teamwork.

Varnum’s bankruptcy practice offers a broad range of commercial services to a diverse client base, including commercial businesses, banks, collection agencies, bankruptcy debtors, creditors’ committees, potential purchasers of assets and more. Because of this diversity, our services are varied. We handle:

  • In-court and out-of-court workouts
  • Bankruptcy proceedings
  • Secured transactions
  • Loan and security documents
  • Insolvency questions
  • Claim and delivery issues
  • Foreclosures
  • Collateral recovery and other related issues
Defense of Avoidance Actions

Varnum has handled hundreds of cases of this type over the course of many years on a local and national basis. We often appear as lead defense counsel in large avoidance cases in Delaware, where most large bankruptcy cases are filed.

Prosecution of Claims

Varnum helps clients file and defend claims in bankruptcy estates, when account debtors seek bankruptcy protection.

Core Bankruptcy Litigation

Varnum handles core bankruptcy litigation for clients, including:

  • Complaints objecting to the discharge of the debts of borrowers or account debtors who are guilty of fraud or other wrongdoing
  • Enforcing full disclosure by the debtor and enforcing the debtor’s obligation to propose reorganization plans in compliance with the law
  • Evicting debtors from nonresidential real property when the debtor is in arrears
Basic Debt Collection Work

We help clients collect debts through litigation or, in appropriate cases, by less costly means. This work may (and often does) involve real estate foreclosures, personal property executions and other enforcement means.

Workout Planning

Varnum works with clients whose vendors – particularly critical vendors – become insolvent or announce plans to seek bankruptcy protection. This work often involves the daily monitoring of the troubled vendor, the negotiation of special stocking agreements, and if lenders are involved, subordination agreements and other mechanisms needed to ensure an uninterrupted source of supply.

Varnum also works on a highly selective basis representing companies who need bankruptcy protection or who need assistance in workout negotiations with their secured lenders.

Unsecured Creditor Committees

The firm has a long history of successfully representing unsecured creditor committees in Chapter 11 bankruptcies, both in Michigan and across the country. The restructuring lawyers at Varnum understand the pressure points and know how to effectively use unsecured creditors’ leverage to maximize their recovery.

Varnum’s experienced bankruptcy litigators know how to uncover and prosecute valuable avoidance actions that can even the playing field and create an equitable result for the unsecured creditors. As a full-service business law firm, Varnum also draws upon a wealth of industry experience from its partners, who are recognized as authorities in their fields, enabling the unsecured creditor committee to stand on equal footing with the other parties in what are often complex and industry-specific environments.


In re Body Contour Ventures, LLC (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2019) (aesthetic medicine)

In re Plasco Tooling & Engineering Corporation (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2017) (aerospace)

In re General Products Corporation (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2016) (automotive)

In re DRS Household Services (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2015) (home health care company)

In re SSI Technology, Inc. (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2014) (defense industry)

In re Latex Foam International, LLC (Bankr. D. Ct. 2014) (mattress manufacturer and retailer)

In re Community Memorial Hospital a/k/a Cheboygan Memorial Hospital (Bankr. E.D. Mich., Northern Division, 2013) (health care facilities)

In re W.T. Harvey Lumber (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 2012) (local hardware store chain)

In re Thriftco, Inc., et al. (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2010) (local hardware store chain)

In re Eurway, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Tx. 2009) (regional furniture store chain)

In re The Estate of the Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors of Edward Paul May, Debtor (Bankr. E.D. Mich. 2008) (Ponzi scheme)

In re TI Acquisition, LLC (Bankr. N.D. Ga. 2008) (carpet manufacturer)

In re Lucre, Inc. (Bankr. W.D. Mich. 2006) (telecommunications services)

In re Daniel Broucek aka Pupler Dist. Co. (Bankr. W.D. Mich. 2006) (Ponzi scheme)

“Varnum is very professional and handles our business with integrity. Their ability to understand our issues and develop solutions is excellent. They are very pragmatic and timely with answers and comments.”

President and CEO, community bank

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