Carole Neville is a partner in the New York office of Dentons' Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy practice. Her practice currently focuses on the representation of creditor and equity committees (both official and informal) in Chapter 11 cases and in out of court restructurings. In addition to this practice specialty, Carole also has significant experience in representing individual creditors, officers and directors and asset purchasers. Carole has served as lead counsel on engagements for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (“PBGC”).
Carole began her practice as a bankruptcy appellate lawyer with the defense of a number of appeals, including the first challenge to the constitutionality of the Code in Massachusetts. She has since defended or prosecuted appeals in virtually every circuit on key issues arising in bankruptcy cases.
- Carole was a lead partner advising the Official Committee of Retirees for the City of Detroit, which represented more than 23,500 retirees. This was the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in US history, both on the basis of debt and population. The nine-member committee was composed of individuals and representatives from major unions, including the United Auto Workers and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The Detroit bankruptcy set an important legal precedent regarding treatment of pension liabilities and priority of claims. The representation resulted in the protection of almost all pension benefits and continued healthcare benefits under first-of-kind municipal retiree voluntary employment benefit association (VEBA) trusts. This representation was honored by The M&A Advisor with the 2014 Restructuring of the Year Award.
- Carole also served as lead outside counsel to the PBGC in connection with the American Airlines/AMR (“American”) Chapter 11 cases. When the cases were filed, American threatened to terminate four pension plans covering approximately 130,000 current and former employees and their dependents, which would have required the PBGC to provide benefits to the covered beneficiaries from the plan assets, which were estimated to be more than $10 billion less than the amount of the necessary funding for the statutory benefits. Because termination of the plans would have had a serious detrimental impact on both the plan beneficiaries and the finances of the PBGC, the PBGC sought to meet American’s termination threats with an aggressive multi faceted opposition. The Dentons team was successful in convincing American to remain the sponsor of the plans and continue funding the obligations. Carole and Fruman Jacobson represented the PBGC as a member of the Creditors Committee, which was instrumental in facilitating the merger between American and US Airways.
- Carole shared the responsibility for the Creditors Committee in the United Airlines, Inc. (“UAL”) Chapter 11 cases with Fruman Jacobson, which resulted in a successful plan of reorganization and an enhanced platform to facilitate the merger with Continental Airlines, creating the largest airline in the world. The Creditors’ Committee played a material role in maximizing the value of the estates and in the recovery to unsecured creditors by, among other things, garnering the waivers of hundreds of millions of dollars in administrative and other claims, refining and improving settlements and spearheading a motion against a United Express provider in an effort to return tens of millions of dollars to the debtors’ estates. Upon emergence, the stock of reorganized UAL was listed on the Nasdaq, trading robustly at prices much higher than initially projected. It now trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Carole’s experience in the airline industry also includes committee representations in the Aloha, Pan Am, Continental, Sun Country and Frontier bankruptcy cases.
- Her creditor committee representations include the creditors committee in TeeVee Toons, Fountain View nursing home, Lois Advertising, Kellstrom Industries, CONCO, Grand Union Capital Corp., Zephion, RDM, FirstPlus Financial and Keene Chapter 11 cases, as well as equity committees in the Kasper A.S.L. Ltd., New Valley (Western Union) and UDC Homes.
- Carole is currently representing a large group of defrauded investors in the Madoff SIPA case, Picard v. Ida Fishman Revocable Trust et al. She recently secured a significant victory in the case with a Second Circuit decision extending the protection of the securities safe harbor (section 546(e)) to Madoff broker transactions.
- She served as counsel to New World Acquisition in its successful bid with Signature Holdings, Inc. to acquire Fremont General Corporation through a plan of reorganization. Carole represented the PBGC in the settlement of a $10 billion liability and as a member of the creditors committee in the Chrysler case.
Honors and Awards
- Co-led team recognized by The M&A Advisor’s 2014 Restructuring of the Year Award (City of Detroit Chapter 9)
- Awarded Euromoney Legal Media Group's 2014 Women in Business Law Individual Award for Best in Insolvency and Restructuring
- Selected in Euromoney Legal Media Group's 2015 Expert Guides in Insolvency and Restructuring and Women in Business Law
- Recommended by The Legal 500 US (2015)
Activities and Affiliations
- “Municipal Bankruptcy: Is Your Hometown or School District the Next Detroit?” Better Government Association, Chicago, IL, June 3, 2015
- "When the Music Stops:Musical Chairs and 'Ponzi' Scheme Avoidance Actions," ABA Spring Meeting Business Law Section, Boston, MA, April 14, 2011
- RBS Global High Yield Conference, Las Vegas, NV, April 12, 2011