John Hansen’s business bankruptcy practice is concentrated on representing clients in the reorganization of financially distressed businesses. Mr. Hansen has represented many clients in chapter 11 reorganization cases and in non-consumer chapter 7 liquidation cases. His clients have included debtors, creditors, committees, landlords, labor unions and retirees. In addition, he has represented debtors in over sixty chapter 11 cases with confirmed plans of reorganization. Mr. Hansen has served as a member of the Business Bankruptcy Committee of the American Bar Association and the California State Bar Standing Committee on Debtor/Creditor Relations and Bankruptcy. He also chaired the Merit Screening Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. Representative clients include:
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in failed bank holding company cases
- A committee of retired executives in the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) chapter 11 case
- Three local labor unions as debtors in successful chapter 11 reorganization cases
- A committee of grower/members in the Tri-Valley Growers chapter 11 case
- Shopping center owners in retail chain chapter 11 reorganization cases
Business and Labor Unions
One of John Hansen’s unique areas of practice is representing local labor unions both as debtors and creditors in chapter 11 and chapter 9 bankruptcy cases. Mr. Hansen has successfully taken three local labor unions as debtors through chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, and he also has represented labor unions as creditors or parties to collective bargaining agreements in chapter 11 corporate reorganization cases. He currently represents three employee labor organizations in the City of Stockton municipal bankruptcy. Stockton confirmed a plan of adjustment that, as the unions strongly desired, left employee and retiree pensions unimpaired. Mr. Hansen won an important decision in the United States Court of Appeals, General Teamsters Local 890, that established a rule that the members of a local labor union in bankruptcy cannot be assessed to pay the claims of creditors of their union (See Cases and Articles Page).
A chapter 11 bankruptcy case is often an “umbrella” for litigation within the case between and among various parties, which are called adversary proceedings. John Hansen has successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in adversary proceedings in bankruptcy courts involving actions for preferences, fraudulent transfers and objections to creditors’ claims. In addition, Mr. Hansen has represented the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in various types of litigation in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. In one case, Mr. Hansen, on behalf of the FDIC, obtained the appointment of a receiver and relief from the automatic bankruptcy stay to enforce its security interest in a Northern California hotel. Additionally, in ACI Sunbow (see Cases and Articles Page), a secured creditor represented by Mr. Hansen obtained an order dismissing a chapter 11 case as having been filed in bad faith.
The recent wave of municipal bankruptcies (Detroit, Stockton, and San Bernardino) often involved a contest between bondholders and employees over the limited resources available. John Hansen served as counsel for three labor organizations representing employees of the City of Stockton, a municipal bankruptcy debtor. He was successful in protecting the unions’ negotiated contracts and their members’ vested interests in pensions in the city's plan of adjustment confirmed by the court. Mr. Hansen previously served as counsel for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, a major creditor in the Orange County municipal bankruptcy, which was at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history. His client was one of the seven members of the Pool Participants’ Committee that negotiated the plan of adjustment with Orange County. His clients recovered 95% of their $350 million investment. Mr. Hansen also represented a skilled nursing facility that operated on the campus of the Los Medanos Community Hospital during the latter's municipal bankruptcy case.
Federal Court Litigation
Employment Law and Disability Access
John Hansen has represented employees in federal court litigation involving gender, race and national origin discrimination, including two class actions, one of which was Harriss v. Pan American Airways (See Cases and Articles Page). Mr. Hansen also has authored several articles on disability discrimination (See Cases and Articles Page). Mr. Hansen also assists small business owners navigate their way through the complexities of federal and state disability access laws and regulations.
Federal Court Civil Rights Litigation
In addition to litigation involving employment discrimination, John Hansen represented numerous conscientious objectors in federal court litigation during the Vietnam War era. He argued and won Strait v. Laird in the United States Supreme Court representing a conscientious objector (See Cases and Articles Page), and has argued 17 appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. Hansen also has served as a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court litigation involving denial of civil rights.