With more than 36 years experience, Christopher J. Horvay has represented senior creditors and asset-based lenders in complex litigation, workout and bankruptcy matters across the country. His practice also involves the representation of asset-based lenders in the documentation of complex loan transactions and in litigation disputes as well as the representation of creditor committees and liquidation trustees in litigation relating to fraudulent conveyances. Chris has consistently been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer since 2006, as well as an Illinois Leading Lawyer for the last two years in commercial bankruptcies and workouts.
Chris's recent creditor representations include senior secured lenders in Clark Retail Enterprises and United Airlines, significant landlord interests in K-Mart Corporation, and as special counsel to plaintiffs in Price v. Phillip Morris. He also served as debtor's counsel in a number of significant business bankruptcy cases, including Ben Franklin Stores in the Northern District of Illinois. Chris has represented numerous asset purchasers, including Newport News, Inc. and Spiegel Catalog, Inc., and sellers in transactions involving troubled companies as well as assignees for the benefit of creditors in out-of-court liquidations. He recently defended former directors and officers of troubled companies in litigation brought against them by bankruptcy trustees.
Chris has undertaken a leadership role in the Turnaround Management Association's Chicago/Midwest chapter since its inception. He previously served as a TMA National Director from 1999 through 2002, as well as president of the Chicago/Midwest chapter in 1997 and 1998. In 2004, Chris was recognized by the Chicago chapter as its Educator of the Year. From 2014 through 2016, he has served as President of the Chapter's Scholarship Foundation Board. In November, 2016, he received the Chapter's Legend Award for outstanding service to the Chapter and the profession.
American Bankruptcy Institute
Turnaround Management Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Syracuse University College of Arts & Sciences Board of Visitors
Selected by peers as a Leading Lawyer in: Bankruptcy & Workout Law: Commercial (2009 - 2017)
Selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers in the area of Bankruptcy and Creditors/Debtor Rights (2015-2016)
Turnaround Managment Association's Educator of the Year (2004)
Turnaround Managment Association's Turnaround Legend of the Year (2016)
Jonathan Friedland and Lisa Vandesteeg author 2017 edition of "Strategic Alternatives for and Against Distressed Businesses".
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP is pleased to congratulate Jonathan Friedland and Elizabeth Vandesteeg on the publication of the 2017 edition of "Strategic Alternatives for and Against Distressed Businesses". Friedland is the book’s creator and editor in chief and Vandesteeg is one if its managing editors. SFGH attorneys who authored chapters include Aaron Hammer, Christopher Horvay, S. Jason Teele, and Nicole Stefanelli.
Leading attorney rating service recognizes SFGH lawyers.
M&A Advisor Awards "Consumer and Retail Products Deal of the Year" to Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP
On January 22, 2014, the M&A Advisor announced that Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP would receive the 8th Annual M&A Advisor Turnaround Award for "Consumer Product of the Year" for the firm's services during the successful sale of certain assets out of the bankruptcy of Natural Pork Production II, LLP to AMVC and the Handlos family.
On January 1, 2014, Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP named Christopher J. Horvay and Mark S. Melickian partners of the firm.
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP Among 2014's Top Ranked Law Firms by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP has been named one of 2014's Top Ranked Law Firms across the United States by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® .
Ten attorneys at Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP have been recognized by Leading Lawyers Magazine for their selection by their peers as top lawyers in Illinois.
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP Named Among 2013's Top Ranked Law Firms by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP has been named one of 2013's Top Ranked Law Firms across the United States by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®.
Christopher J. Horvay joins Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP's bankruptcy and creditors' rights practice
On November 15, 2012, Christopher J. Horvay joined Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP's bankruptcy and creditors' rights practice. Chris is recognized throughout the Midwest as a senior leader in the turnaround profession.
U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® names Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP a 2017 “Best Law Firm”
On November 1, 2016, U.S. News and World Report and Best Lawyers® announced that Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP had been ranked as a “Best Law Firm” for 2017.
On November 21, 2016, Christopher J. Horvay was honored with Turnaround Management Association’s (“TMA”) Legend Award at the 2016 Executive Speaker Forum.
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP Selected as Counsel to Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Lyon Workspace Products, LLC, et al.
On February 7, 2013, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Lyon Workspace Products, LLC, et al. selected Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP as its legal counsel. Lyon Workspace Products, LLC and its seven affiliated debtors are the largest and leading manufacturer and supplier of top quality lockers, industrial storage and workspace products.
Christopher J. Horvay served as a panelist devoted to real estate insolvencies and workouts. Specifically, this panel addressed issues arising in pre-bankruptcy negotiations, including practical solutions required to avert a bankruptcy filing.
Christopher J. Horvay served as a panelist during an event for the Business Valuation Assocation of Chicago where he discussed amendments and revisions to the Bankruptcy Code enacted in 2005, including the impact of the legislative changes on retail chapter 11 cases.
Christopher J. Horvay developed and led a case study workshop devoted to negotiation skills and understanding the strategic considerations in retail chapter 11 cases.
Christopher J. Horvay served as a guest commentator during a panel at John Marshall Law School entitled "Real Estate in Bankruptcy," where he delivered commentary in response to comments by Professor Douglas Baird of the University of Chicago Law School with regard to the original expectations for the new Bankruptcy Code when enacted in 1978.
Christopher J. Horvay moderated a panel pertaining to restructuring negotiations and co-led a workshop that incorporated the lessons gleaned from the panel into practical strategies for the participants.
Christopher J. Horvay planned and led a panel of distinguished Chicago-area bankruptcy practitioners and delivered remarks pertaining to the typical chapter 11 case in Illinois.
Christopher J. Horvay moderated a panel at the Tenth Annual TMA Conference held at the Westin Chicago where panelists discussed alternative funding sources for reorganization scenarios in chapter 11 cases.
Recent Developments in Finance that Every Lender Needs to Know/Recent Developments in Bankruptcy Law
Christopher J. Horvay spoke to an audience comprised mainly of senior lenders with regards to recent Supreme Court cases and Seventh Circuit case law, including recent developments pertaining to letters of credit, fraudulent conveyance, single asset real estate cases and legislative changes.
Civic & Professional
- Turnaround Management Association
National Director (1999 - 2002)
- Turnaround Management Association, Chicago/Midwest Chapter
President (1997 - 1998)
- Syracuse University College of Arts & Sciences
Board of Visitors (2004 - present)
Christopher J. Horvay's recent or notable engagements and experience includes:
Represented significant parties in interest in nationally recognized chapter 11 cases filed in Chicago from 2001 through 2006, including In re United Airlines, In re K-Mart Stores, In re Clark Retail Enterprises and In re Conseco.
Led the representation of a single-asset debtor in its chapter 11 case, resulting in confirmation of plan of reorganization. Pursuant to this plan, real estate and franchise rights were sold at competitive auction resulting in payment in full of all secured and unsecured debt, and dividend to equity holders.
Led the representation of a prominent Chicago not-for-profit corporation in its purchase of substantially all of the assets of a separate not-for-profit health and exercise facility which encountered financial issues. The bankruptcy court approved the section 363 purchase after notice and hearing.
Led representation of liquidating trustee appointed by creditors' committee to pursue fraudulent transfer litigation against former owner of metal recycling business who was the recipient of approximately $3.0 million in proceeds from sale of equity in business that was rendered insolvent by leveraged buy-out transaction. Tried case to judgment against former owner, case settled amicably after judgment debtor forced into personal chapter 11.
Sourced and led representation of federal court receiver appointed to liquidate and sell four manufacturing plants located in multiple states, each with various environmental issues. Coordinated the receiver's efforts with those of bankruptcy trustee appointed to liquidate and sell the manufacturing business.
Sourced and led client engagement for purchaser of two nationally recognized catalog businesses from execution of letters of intent through approval of the client as the stalking horse bidder, culminating in winning bid at competitive auction conducted before the United States Bankruptcy for the Southern District of New York. Negotiated final version of asset purchase agreement approved by the bankruptcy court.
Sourced and led client engagement for six completed and closed asset-based loan transactions totaling approximately $140 million in loan proceeds. Negotiated substantially all intercreditor and subordination agreements in conjunction with loan documentation and closings.