Mark Melickian heads the firm’s Bankruptcy, Reorganization, and Creditor’s Rights practice group. He works toward the economic heart of the problem for his clients in both litigation and transactional matters, with a focus on chapter 11 commercial bankruptcy cases and non-bankruptcy distressed situations.
Mark has successfully represented financial institutions, indenture trustees, trade creditors, asset purchasers, investors, commercial real estate interests, corporate officers, and other parties in interest in chapter 11 cases throughout the country. Mark represents commercial debtors, most recently steering an Iowa-based community hospital system through chapter 11 and the successful sale of substantially all of its assets, leading to confirmation of a liquidating plan that will generate a material return to creditors. A significant focus of his practice is the representation of committees and other estate fiduciaries in bankruptcy cases – over the past two decades, he has counseled dozens of official and unofficial bankruptcy committees, liquidating trustees, litigation trustees, and plan administrators charged with pursuing and liquidating assets for the benefit of estate creditors.
He also has significant experience with the management and disposition of commercial vehicles and equipment and commercial real estate properties and other assets in distressed debt and bankruptcy situations, including experience gained in-house with Navistar Financial Corporation, where he handled a wide variety of complex corporate, transactional, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation matters for the financial affiliate of commercial vehicle manufacturer Navistar, Inc.
Mark has written extensively on bankruptcy and insolvency law and other topics, having contributed materials on these subjects to American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, Bankruptcy Strategist, Wiley Bankruptcy Law Update, Ginsberg & Martin on Bankruptcy, Norton Bankruptcy Law Adviser, the Cornell University Legal Ethics Library, and professional conferences and seminars over the past two decades. For several years, he wrote a monthly legal affairs column for Student Lawyer, an America Bar Association publication, for which he received the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism from the Chicago chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Mark has committed significant time to pro bono matters, public interest law and not-for-profit concerns, including serving on the board of directors of Chicago's Public Interest Law Initiative and San Francisco's Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (now known as the Giffords Law Center), a national public policy organization dedicated to the reduction of gun-related violence in our communities. He and his son are long-suffering White Sox fans, and he and his wife, Erin are dedicated if increasingly deaf followers of their daughter’s rock bands.
American Bar Association
American Bankruptcy Institute
Turnaround Management Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Selected by peers as a Leading Lawyer in: Bankruptcy & Workout Law: Commercial (2017)
Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism, Columns/Commentary (1993) – given by
The Chicago Headline Club (http://headlineclub.org/)
5.0/5.0 Overall Client Rating – Martindale.com
On February 9, 2018, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa confirmed the chapter 11 liquidation plan of Central Iowa Healthcare, a mid-sized hospital and clinic system based in Marshalltown, Iowa with a reach through three central Iowa counties. Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Helsinger LLP, led by partner Mark S. Melickian, served as Special Healthcare Reorganization Counsel and led the engagement from filing through plan confirmation. Mark was assisted in the engagement by SFGH partners Michael Brandess and Matthew Schiff, and litigation associate Kathryn Nadro. In May 2017, SFGH took the Debtor through the sale of substantially all of its assets to Allen Health Systems, Inc., d/b/a UnityPoint Health – Waterloo, a transaction that allowed the hospital and clinics to remain open, saved hundreds of regional jobs, and won M&A Advisor’s 363 Sale of the Year award ($10 million - $25 million) for 2017.
American Bar Association publishes third revised version of Reorganizing Failing Businesses treatise featuring chapters co-authored by five Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP partners.
The American Bar Association published its Reorganizing Failing Businesses treatise, which included chapters entitled, “United States Securities Laws Implications of Corporate Restructurings” co-authored by Aaron L. Hammer, Mark S. Melickian and Etahn M. Cohen and “Financing a Chapter 11 Case: Debtor-in-Possession Financing” co-authored by Jonathan P. Friedland and Elizabeth B. Vandesteeg.
Mark Melickian authors “Mission Impossible? Addressing WARN Act Liability in Liquidating Mid-Market Cases” in the Bankruptcy Strategist
The January 2017 issue of the Bankruptcy Strategist published an article by Mark Melickian entitled, “Mission Impossible? Addressing WARN Act Liability in Liquidating Mid-Market Cases.”
Mark Melickian authors article published in The Bankruptcy Strategist entitled, "The Troubled Energy and Production (Oil and Gas) Sector"
The September 2016 issue of The Bankruptcy Strategist includes an article authored by Mark Melickian entitled, "The Troubled Energy and Production (Oil and Gas) Sector."
Mark Melickian publishes article in the February 2016 edition of The Bankruptcy Strategist, a Law Journal Newsletter, entitled, “A Cure By Any Other Name.”
The February 2016 issue of The Bankruptcy Strategist, a Law Journal Newsletter, features an article by Mark Melickian entitled, “A Cure By Any Other Name.”
ABF Journal highlights Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP in article entitled, “Inside the Award-Winning AgFeed Industries Turnaround”
The October 2015 issue of the ABF Journal highlights Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP's role as co-counsel to the Official Committee of Equity Security Holders in In re AgFeed USA, LLC, et al. (Bankr. D. Del.).
Mark S. Melickian authors opening chapters of A Guide for Nonprofit Organizations: Bankruptcy Issues (2014) published by The Law Project
Mark S. Melickian authored the opening chapters of The Nonprofit Bankruptcy Guide published by The Law Project.
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP highlighted by Law 360 for successful confirmation of plan of liquidation in AgFeed USA, LLC (Bankr. D. Del.)
On November 4, 2014, Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP, as co-counsel to the Official Committee of Equity Security Holders, assisted the Debtors in confirming a plan of liquidation in AgFeed USA, LLC, et al. (Bankr. D. Del.).
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® .
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®.
Lenders Given Cause to ReLAX: U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Credit-Bidding Rights for Chapter 11 Sales in RadLAX
A discussion from Mark S. Melickian and Jack R. O'Connor in The American Bankruptcy Institute Journal on the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in the RadLAX bankruptcy case on credit bidding.
We are proud to announce the change in the name of our firm to Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP and the additional of five excellent attorneys to our team, expanding our current tax and real estate practices and adding bankruptcy and creditors' rights to our scope of services for our clients.
Mark S. Melickian served as a panelist of "An Overview of Commercial Bankruptcy Law and Practice" for corporate law students at Chicago-Kent School of Law.
Mark S. Melickian provided significant contributions on key areas of bankruptcy law to Wiley's annual publication.
In this article, drafted for the US Trustee's Conference, Seventh Circuit, Mark S. Melickian, provides an overview of a bankruptcy trustee's duties when it appears an estate may be solvent.
Health Care Industry Finance and Default - Workout/Mergers & Acquisition Strategies: A Lender/Bondholder Perspective
In this article drafted for The Heath Care Industry: Bankruptcy and Workouts Forum, Mark S. Melickian, discusses health care finance and default issues in commercial bankruptcy cases.
Professional Employment, Retention & Compensation Issues: Creditors’ Committee, Debtor, & Other Professional Retainers, Carve-outs, & Other Points of Interest
In this article, Mark S. Melickian discusses professional retention and compensation issues in commercial bankruptcy cases.
Mark S. Melickian contributed original material on aspects of Illinois Supreme Court rules and case law governing legal ethics and the practice of law.
Mark S. Melickian reviews Declan McLean's book on the evolution of privacy law in industrial societies including the United States.
Mark S. Melickian served as a contributing editor of this treatise which discusses all aspects of bankruptcy practice and procedure by two highly-respected bankruptcy judges.
Book Review - Law v. Life: What Lawyers are Afraid to Say About the Legal Profession by Walter Backman
Mark S. Melickian provides his review of a "behind the scenes" tell-all book about the legal profession.
Mark S. Melickian provided an overview of significant Seventh Circuit bankruptcy decisions during the 1995 calendar year for the Norton Bankruptcy Law Adviser.
Mark S. Melickian wrote the monthly legal affairs editorial column for Student Lawyer, an American Bar Association publication, from 2003 to 2008. The pieces ranged from technical discussions about ethical rules to the meaning of paperweights used by the senior partner of a major law firm.
Mark Melickian to moderate “Bankruptcy Battle Royale 2019: Common Committee Controversies – Contesting Confirmation” webinar
On May 21, 2019, at 1 pm CT, SFGH partner Mark Melickian will moderate a Financial Poise/West LegalEdcenter webinar entitled “Bankruptcy Battle Royale 2019: Common Committee Controversies – Contesting Confirmation.” This is the final episode in a 4-part series that is focusing on the fundamentals of certain common elements of commercial bankruptcy cases in which official committees of unsecured creditors typically play a significant role. This webinar focuses on the requirements for confirmation of a chapter 11 plan and the nuts and bolts of fraudulent transfer claims and litigation in commercial bankruptcy cases.
Mark Melickian featured on webinar titled “Chapter 11 Special Issues 2019 – Focus on Single Asset Real Estate”
SFGH partner Mark Melickian was a panelist on a webinar produced by Financial Poise for West LegalEdcenter entitled “Chapter 11 Special Issues 2019 – Focus on Single Asset Real Estate.” This was the second episode in a 3-part series that discusses business sectors that are anticipated to be busy areas for commercial bankruptcy practitioners and their clients in the next year or two. This episode focused on single asset real estate cases, where special rules in chapter 11 apply.
SFGH partner Mark Melickian to be featured on "Bankruptcy Battle Royale 2019: Common Committee Controversies – Anatomy of a Fraudulent Transfer" webinar
SFGH partner Mark Melickian to be featured on "Bankruptcy Battle Royale 2019: Common Committee Controversies – Anatomy of a Fraudulent Transfer" Webinar. The webinar will take place on April 23, 2019.
SFGH is pleased to announce Mark Melickian will speak at a West LegalEd Center/Financial Poise webinar titled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Planning and Running Effective Board Meetings.”
On August 13, 2018, SFGH partner Mark Melickian will speak at a West LegalEd Center/Financial Poise webinar titled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Planning and Running Effective Board Meetings.”
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP retained as special healthcare reorganization counsel to Central Iowa Healthcare
Central Iowa Healthcare has retained Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP as its special healthcare reorganization counsel in its chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding pending before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
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.
Mark Melickian presented “A Summary of Recommendations for Small or Medium Sized Enterprise Cases from the Report of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 (2012-2014)” at the 8th Circuit Federal Bar Association Program
On October 29, 2015, Mark Melickian presented “A Summary of Recommendations for Small or Medium Sized Enterprise Cases from the Report of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 (2012-2014)” at the 8th Circuit Federal Bar Association Program.
For its ground breaking work as lead counsel to the equity committee in In re AgFeed USA, LLC, et al. (Bankr. D. Del.), Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP received the TMA Global's prestigious Large Transaction of the Year.
On October 25, 2013, Mark S. Melickian will serve as a panelist at the Iowa Federal Bar Association's 32nd Annual Bankruptcy Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.
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.
Mark S. Melickian, a PILI (Public Interest Law Initiative) board member, was a panelist on a presentation by experienced non-profit leaders and pro bono attorneys to new associates on how to integrate pro bono representation and public service into a budding law practice.
Mark S. Melickian presented a talk and materials to attorneys and accountants on restructuring and dissolution options for struggling businesses under state and federal law, including bankruptcy, assigment for the benefit of creditors, and state law dissolution.
Mark Melickian was a panelist at Legal Research and Writing in Law Practice, presented to law students at Northwestern University School of Law.
A panel discussion by pro bono leaders to law students and newly minted lawyers on integrating pro bono work into their careers.
Mark S. Melickian served as panel moderator and author for Roles and Responsibilities of Non-Profit Boards, sponsored by the City of Chicago and the Community Economic Development Law Project.
A panel discussion and presentation to the leaders of Chicago-area not for profit legal services providers on strategies for working effectively with law firms and corporations on pro bono work and projects.
Board Meetings and Committees: How to Plan and Execute for Effective Board Meetings and Committee Formation
Mark S. Melickian moderated a panel sponsored by The City of Chicago and The Community Economic Law Development Project to Board leaders of Chicago-area not-for-profit organizations on planning and executing effective Board meetings and forming effective Board committees.
Mark S. Melickian served as a panelist for "Current Events: Utility Bankruptcies" at the Corporate Restructuring Conference, sponsored by Renaissance International and Beard Group in San Francisco, California.
Mark S. Melickian, discusses equitable subordination and the treatment of lender liability claims in bankruptcy in an article drafted for the 24th Annual Southeaster Bankruptcy Law Institute Conference.
In these ABI Winter Leadership Conference materials, Mark S. Melickian discusses the treatment of successor liability claims in bankruptcy with a focus on manufacturing and environmental issues.
Civic & Professional
- Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (San Francisco, CA) – Board of Directors
- Adoption-Link (Oak Park, IL) – Board of Directors, Secretary and Executive Committee
- Public Interest Law Initiative (Chicago, IL) – Board of Directors
- Near North Montessori School (Chicago, IL) – Board of Directors (2004-08), Chair of Audit and Corporate Governance Committees
- Turnaround Management Association, Chicago/Midwest Chapter – Education Committee Co-Chair (incoming, 2013)
Mark S. Melickian's recent or notable engagements and experience includes:
- Served as special healthcare reorganization counsel and lead transaction counsel to Central Iowa Healthcare in its chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the Southern District of Iowa, a hospital and clinic system serving four Iowa counties. In 2017, led a successful Section 363 sale of hospital assets to a large not for profit healthcare system, resulting in uninterrupted operations and the retention of over 95% of hospital employees.
- Counsel to global financial institution and special litigation counsel to Horace Fox, the chapter 7 Trustee, in the chapter 7 liquidation of Sage Enterprises, Inc. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.), a $400+ million annual revenue supplier of on-board supplies to the airline industry. Key team member and coordinator of the team that successfully prosecuted a $2.2 million contract collection dispute action against Continental Airlines, and successfully defended the lender and debtor in a multi-million dollar litigation brought by a vendor under the Perishable Commodities Agricultural Act.
- Counsel to official bankruptcy committees of creditors or equity holders in the following cases – In re Etcher Farms, Inc. et al (Bankr. S.D. Iowa); In re Quadrant 4 Systems Corp. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re AgFeed USA LLC et al (Bankr. D. Del.); In re World Marketing Chicago LLC, et al (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Newton Manufacturing (Bankr. S.D. Iowa); In re Lyons Workspace Products (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re: Natural Pork Production II LLC (Bankr. S.D. Iowa); In re Trainor Glass Company (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re JS II, LLC (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Builders Plumbing & Supply Co. (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Golden Bear Oil Specialties (Bankr. C.D. Cal.); In re Telehub Communication Corporation (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Emerald Casino (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Midcom Communications, Inc. (Bankr. E.D. Mich.)
- Counsel to chapter 11 trustees, liquidating trustees and plan administrators in various notable chapter 11 cases, including: In re AgFeed USA, LLC et al. (Bankr. D. Del.); In re Trainor Glass Company (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re World Marketing Chicago et al (Bankr. N.D. Ill.); In re Newton Manufacturing (Bankr. S.D. Iowa); In re Food Management Group LLC (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.); In re Duke & King Acquisition, Inc. (Bankr. D. Minn.); In re Workflow Management Corp. (Bankr. E.D. Va.); In re Favorite Brands International Holding Corp. (Bankr. D. Del.); In re Golden Bear Oil Specialties (Bankr. M.D. Cal.).
- Counsel to one of the nation’s largest financial institutions in the chapter 11 reorganization of Kmart Corporation (Bankr. N.D. Ill.), in which the client held mortgages on approximately 100 of Kmart’s owned or leased retail properties and distribution centers.
- Counsel to a multi-national Fortune 500 insurance and professional services company in numerous large chapter 11 cases over the past few years including In re Patriot Coal (Bankr. E.D. Mo.) and In re AMR Corporation (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.).
- Primary counsel to the collateral trustee of a 26-aircraft leasing trust secured by commercial aircraft leased to the following entities in their chapter 11 cases - Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.), United Air Lines (Bankr. N.D. Ill.), and Northwest Airlines Corporation (Bankr. S.D. N.Y.).
- Primary counsel to the Liquidating Trustee for Favorite Brands International Holding Corporation (Bankr. D. Del.) throughout the liquidation and closure of its $300 million estate.
In re Pacific Gas & Electric (Bankr. N.D. Cal.). In the nation’s largest utility bankruptcy to date, SFGH attorneys represented a national financial institution as indenture trustee in connection with over $100 million in subordinated debt.
In re Delta Air Lines, Inc. (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). In the bankruptcy of the world’s largest commercial airline company by fleet size, a SFGH attorney represented a national financial institution as trustee and collateral agent for an aircraft leasing trust secured by numerous commercial aircraft impacted by the Delta bankruptcy.
In re Northwest Airlines Corporation (Bankr. S.D.N.Y.). In the bankruptcy of the world’s sixth largest commercial airline company prior to its merger with Delta Air Lines, one of our attorneys represented a national financial institution as trustee and collateral agent for an aircraft leasing trust secured by numerous commercial aircraft impacted by the Northwest Airlines Corporation bankruptcy.
In re Favorite Brands International Holding Corporation (Bankr. D. Del.). In the bankruptcy of this Chicago-based regional telecommunications company, SFGH attorneys represented a national financial institution as indenture trustee in connection with over $30 million in senior subordinated debt.
In re FLYi, Inc. (Independence Air) (Bankr. D. Del.). In the bankruptcy of this Washington, DC-based regional air carrier, a SFGH attorney represented a national financial institution as trustee and collateral agent for an aircraft leasing trust secured by numerous commercial aircraft impacted by the Flyi bankruptcy.