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Aug. 24, 2022

Debra I. Grassgreen

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SAN FRANCISCO - Debra I. Grassgreen is a senior partner at Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones' San Francisco office and heads the firm's international insolvency practice. An expert on U.S. and cross-border restructuring matters, she has handled complex cases nationwide and internationally. She represented victims of sexual abuse in the Chapter 11 bankruptcies of the Weinstein Company and the Boy Scouts of America, as well as high-profile representations in the bankruptcies of MobiTV, Inc. and Ponzi scheme-ridden Professional Financial Investors Inc. Grassgreen recently served as counsel to the debtor in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Watsonville Community Hospital. In re: Watsonville Hospital Corporation, et al. 21-51477 (N.D. Cal., filed Dec. 5, 2021). Additional pressure from the pandemic added to the hospital's already significant financial challenges, and it filed for bankruptcy in December. The hospital, which serves a rural, largely Latino population, has the only emergency room for 40 miles. The state quickly approved the creation of the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District, funded by several public and private entities, to purchase and operate the hospital. In February, a bankruptcy court judge approved the healthcare district's bid to purchase the facility. "When we filed the case, the health district wasn't even formed yet. So we were working with all the key parties to get the health care district formed and get the hospital on steady footing," Grassgreen said. "It really is life or death when you're talking about the decisions you're making to try and save a hospital; you're not just talking about widgets or people's money. There are regulatory issues, labor, a lot of complexity--but we had very collaborative folks representing all of the key players, who understood the importance of the mission of the hospital." In addition to her practice, Grassgreen is immediate past president of the International Insolvency Institute and has participated for more than 10 years in a United Nations working group developing consistent international insolvency laws. She participates in Working Group V of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). UNCITRAL's Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency was created 25 years ago and so far has been adopted by some 40 countries. "It's really important to understand, especially in a global economy, that there are a lot of different ways to do things," she said. "You have to take into account different legal structures all over the world and to try to harmonize those so that you can effectively represent a company that has global operations."


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