LOS ANGELES - For a little more than 30 years, Eric E. Sagerman has represented every type of party in commercial bankruptcy matters, including major financial institutions, official committees of creditors, Chapter 11 debtors, trustees, landlords, contract parties and many other financial players.
And for fully half that time, he has been deeply involved in an ongoing case from the early days of the subprime mortgage crisis. Beginning in 2007, Sagerman represented the official unsecured creditors' committee -- primarily banks and other lenders -- seeking recompense from an Irvine-based company that specialized in writing mortgages for people with poor credit. In re: People's Choice Home Loan Inc., 2:12-bk-15811 (Bankr., C.D. Cal., filed Marcy 20, 2007).
The company's Chapter 11 reorganization plan was confirmed in mid-2008. Since then, Sagerman has represented the chair of the oversight committee of the liquidating trust. In that role, his recent work has focused largely on how to apply special REIT tax laws to a bankruptcy trust.
Just this month, the liquidating trust was involved in court proceedings involving state taxes and in another extending the trust's life through August 2023.
Of course, Sagerman, who also is the managing partner of BakerHostetler's Los Angeles office, has worked on many other complex bankruptcy matters. In his most recent high-profile case, Sagerman represented the tort claimants in the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas & Electric following the devastating fires in Northern California. It is the largest Chapter 11 case ever filed in California and one of the largest in U.S. history.
Sagerman and his team obtained a $13.5 billion settlement for the victims, which was part of a reorganization plan confirmed in July 2020. In re: PG&E Corp., 3:19-bk-30088 (Bankr. N.D. Cal., filed Jan. 29, 2019).
Among his other matters over the years, he represented the agent for lenders in a syndicated credit facility in the workout of $1 billion in financial accommodation for an oil and gas production company in Chapter 11.
He also represented the trustee overseeing the Chapter 11 of a government-subsidized solar-cell maker driven out of business by litigation alleging anticompetitive behavior. Sagerman represented a well-known Beverly Hills bank holding company to negotiate its dissolution in Chapter 11. And he represented the unsecured creditors' committee in a matter dealing with what has been called the great telecommunications meltdown.