Mr. Clarke specializes in Bankruptcy, Reorganization and Creditors Rights, Complex Commercial Litigation and Cannabis law.
Mr. Clarke helps debtors-in-possession manage their estates in an effort to retain control of their assets and minimize their liabilities. Mr. Clarke assists interested investors with their efforts to fund the acquisition of a debtor or its assets through a range of structured financial transactions. Mr. Clarke represents Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 Trustees with their oversight of the reorganization, liquidation, and administration of bankruptcy estates. Mr. Clarke also helps creditors protect their interests in assets included in a debtor’s bankruptcy estate, enforce their rights, and maximize their recovery.
Mr. Clarke’s extensive experience with complex restructuring matters demands a comprehensive understanding of federal, state, and local laws, including regulatory requirements, across all industries. This experience has enabled Mr. Clarke to assist clients with their navigation of such regulatory schemes outside of bankruptcy, including in the space of cannabis law.
Prior to joining the firm, in May of 2000, Mr. Clarke graduated from Loyola College in Maryland (now Loyola University Maryland) with a Bachelor of Business Administration where he majored in Management Information Systems.
After several years as a network administrator and computer programmer, Mr. Clarke went to law school and graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, cum laude, with his Juris Doctorate, in May of 2008. While at Miami Law, Mr. Clarke served as the Articles and Comments Editor for the University of Miami Business Law Review.
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Notable cases in which Mr. Clarke had substantive involvement include:
BlockFi Inc. - Local counsel representation for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 case of BlockFi Inc., the crypto lending platform, which filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 28, 2022.
LTL Management, LLC (the so-called “Johnson & Johnson Bankruptcy”) – Local counsel representation for the Official Committee of Talc Claimants. The Committee is the largest constituency of creditors and is comprised primarily of individuals claiming to have been injured by J&J’s baby powder product. This is a controversial bankruptcy case that is delaying the ability of many tens of thousands of people to sue J&J (that number is expected to grow for at least the next 60 years). The matters being dealt with in this case are of such significant import that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has taken matters up on appeal directly from the Bankruptcy Court.
Affiliated Physicians and Employers Master Trust d/b/a Member Health Plan NJ – Representation of a self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement (“MEWA”) under the provisions of 29 U.S.C. Ch. 18 (the “Employee Retirement Income Security Act”) and N.J. Stat. § 17B:27C-1, et seq. of the MEWA Act (one of two left in the state of New Jersey). Don serves as bankruptcy counsel to Affiliated in its capacity as a Subchapter V Debtor despite recognizing approximately $230 million in annual gross payments of health care fees.
Toys “R” Us, Inc. – Representation of vendors of bicycles and bicycle accessories with $5.5 million dollars in claims in a Chapter 11 filed by world-renowned toy chain. Secured a favorable recovery on outstanding claim as well as critical vendor status moving forward. Played a key role in the formation of an Ad Hoc critical vendor committee whose actions led to the recovery of an additional 10% on allowed administrative claims through the pursuit of the Directors and Officers of Toys “R” Us, Inc.
Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd. – Local counsel representation of container and chassis owners and lessors, tugboat operators and other port professionals in a Chapter 15 filed by the 9th largest international shipping company to a main foreign proceeding in South Korea;
Zucker, Goldberg and Ackerman, LLC. – Representation of Chapter 11 debtor law firm specializing in the representation of lenders and secured parties in foreclosure matters and insolvency proceedings. Prior to filing bankruptcy, Zucker, Goldberg and Ackerman, LLC. was handling in excess of 40% of all foreclosure cases in New Jersey;
Liberty Harbor Holding, LLC. – Successful reorganization of Chapter 11 debtor with partially developed real estate holdings valued at $400 million dollars along the Jersey City waterfront;
Marburn Stores, Inc. d/b/a Marburn Curtains/Marburn Curtain Warehouse – Representation of Chapter 11 debtor in the successful sale and pending liquidation of assets of one of approximately two hundred ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) in the Metropolitan Area;
New York Military Academy – Representation of Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, instrumental in securing the successful $12 million dollar sale and reorganization of one of the oldest military academies in the United States;
Bakhtaver A. Irani & Aspi K. Irani – Representation of a joint, individual Chapter 11 which resulted in the successful reorganization of numerous personally-owned commercial properties, including a $52 million dollar joint-venture involving the Closter Plaza Shopping Center in Closter, New Jersey;
LNT Merchandising Co. (Linens–n-Things) – Successful defense of a former vendor in a complex commercial suit seeking $1.8 million dollars in damages;
Representation of several entities with hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate holdings in New York and New Jersey in several high-profile bankruptcy cases, including: Big M. Inc. a/k/a Mandee and Annie Sez Stores; CWC Liquidation Inc. f/k/a Coldwater Creek Inc., Getty Petroleum Marketing, Inc., Drug Fair Group, Inc., The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), Borders Group, Loehmann’s, Jennifer Convertibles, Marty’s Shoes and Joyce Leslie, Inc.
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