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W. Abigail Ottmers

Counsel

San Antonio


112 East Pecan Street
Suite 1200
San Antonio, Texas 78205
T +1 210.978.7402
F +1 210.554.0437

Areas of Practice

Education

  • J.D., St. Mary's University, 2002, magna cum laude; Phi Delta Phi; Articles Editor, St. Mary’s Law Journal
  • B.S., University of Texas at Austin, 1999

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 2002

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

Judicial Clerkships

Briefing Attorney to the Honorable Ronald B. King, United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Texas; Intern to the Honorable Fred Biery, United States District Judge, and the Honorable Nancy Stein Nowak, United States Magistrate Judge
W. Abigail Ottmers

Abigail Ottmers concentrates her practice on representing parties in the areas of business bankruptcy and corporate financial restructurings nationwide. She represents clients in all facets of the bankruptcy process including debtors, secured creditors, committees of unsecured creditors, general creditors, trade vendors, critical vendors, landlords, tenants, acquirers, trustees, and plan administrators. She serves her clients by distilling complex matters to create opportunities for practical solutions.

Prior to joining Haynes and Boone, Abigail served as briefing attorney to the Honorable Ronald B. King, United States Bankruptcy Judge. During law school, she interned with the Honorable Fred Biery, United States District Judge, and the Honorable Nancy Stein Nowak, United States Magistrate Judge.

Abigail's experience includes:

Debtor Representations

  • Houston Regional Sports Network, L.P., a regional sports network in and around Houston, Texas
  • Global Aviation Holdings, a cargo and passenger airline
  • The Penn Traffic Company, a publicly-traded retail grocery business with annual revenues of approximately $900 million 
  • American LaFrance, LLC, one of the oldest fire apparatus manufacturers in America 
  • Lothian Oil Co., Inc., an oil and gas company 
  • TriUnion Development Corporation, an oil and gas company

Secured Lender Representations

  • Bosque Power, a power generation company involving more than $400 million in secured debt
  • Spectrum Brands, a global multi-product conglomerate company which restructured more than $1.4 billion in secured debt
  • Camp Cooley, a large commercial cattle ranching operation
  • Lajitas Resort, a luxury West Texas resort
  • Amcast Industrial Corporation, a automotive parts manufacturer involving more than $52 million in secured debt
  • Fairchild Aircraft, an aviation company

Committee Representations

  • Hardwood PG, Inc., a hardwoods and molding manufacturer and distributor
  • The National Benevolent Association of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a not-for-profit corporation that owned and operated senior living facilities

Acquirer Representations

  • The entity that successfully acquired TXCO Resources, an oil and gas company 
  • The entity that successfully acquired Swift Instruments, a scientific products manufacturer

Select Recent Publications

  • "A Potpourri of Stupid and/or Clever Tactics in Bankruptcy Cases: Ethical Considerations," co-author with Robin Phelan, Jordan Bailey, and Eric Terry, 2012 Sun Mountain Bankruptcy Seminar, June 15-16, 2012.
  • "The Peoples and the Courts get Confuseder and Confuseder," and "Recent Ridiculous Rulings from Bankruptcyland," Co-Author with Robin Phelan, Jordan Bailey and Erik Martin, Dallas Bar Association, August 3, 2011.
  • "Fall Down Go Boom! Lessons from the Mega Cases 2008-2010," Co-Author with Robin Phelan, Eric Terry and Stephen Manz, 2010, Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute Seminar, March 19, 2010.
  • "Trashing the Promenade, The Company Town, The Dead Debtor and Many Other Recent Anomalies and Contradictions From Bankruptcyland," Co-Author with Robin Phelan, Eric Terry and Stephen Manz, 2010 Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute Seminar, March 18, 2010.
  • "Buying and Selling Distressed Businesses," Co-Author with Judith Elkin, Inside the Minds: Buying and Selling Distressed Businesses, 2010 ed.
  • "Chapter 11 - Recent Developments," Co-Author with Robin Phelan and Melanie Cyganowski, 14th Annual Bankruptcy Conference, November 7, 2009.
  • "Overview of Chapter 11 and Bankruptcy Schedules," Texas Bankruptcy Law Clerk Seminar, Co-Author with Eric Terry, 2008-2010.
  • "Liens and Real Estate Title Issues in Bankruptcy," Half Moon Seminars, September 26, 2008.
  • "A Bankruptcy Primer: Business Bankruptcy Under Chapters 7 & 11," Texas Advanced Paralegal Association, September 17, 2008.
  • "A Bankruptcy Primer for Civil Litigators," Co-Author with Eric Terry, Texas Bar CLE "A Review of Daubert cases in Bankruptcy Context," Co-Author with Eric Terry, Ian Peck and Autumn Highsmith 2008, ABA Spring Review, April 2008.
  • "Bankruptcy and Pedro Offer You Their Protection - The Commercial Lenders' Survival Guide to Bankruptcy and its Sweet Hook-Ups," Texas Bankruptcy Law Clerk's Seminar, October 2006.
  • "Hedge Funds and Bankruptcy: A Debtor's Garden of Eden Includes Hedge Funds These Days," 24th Annual Advanced Business Bankruptcy Course, May 11, 2006.
  • "Avoidance Actions and Other Causes of Action Against Third Parties," Co-Author with Eric Terry, Nuts & Bolts of Business Bankruptcy, May 10-13, 2006.
  • "What's New (and What to Watch Out for) Under the BAPCPA," Co-Author with Eric Terry and Jason Binford, Nuts & Bolts of Business Bankruptcy Advanced Business Bankruptcy Seminar, May 10-13, 2006.
  • "The 'Deepening Insolvency' Theory of Liability," Co-Author with Eric Terry, State Bar of Texas Bench Bar Conference, April 24-26-2006.
  • "A License to Fish? Top 10 Things to Consider About Proofs of Claim," Co-Author with Patrick Hughes, February 3, 2006. 

Community Involvement

  • MoneyWise Program - a program presented to high school-age persons regarding financial responsibility, Volunteer & Coordinator for San Antonio
  • The Montessori School of San Antonio, Trustee
  • North Chamber of San Antonio Leadership Lab Graduate
  • Community Justice Program for the San Antonio Bar Association, Volunteer

Honors

  • Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Edition 2010-2012;
  • Texas Super Lawyers, 2013

Selected Representative Experience


RT Jedburg v. American LaFrance LLC
On appeal to federal district court in Delaware, obtained ruling striking liquidated damages provision resulting in take-nothing judgment on $8 million post-confirmation bankruptcy claim related to lease dispute.

$250 Million Senior Secured Credit Facility
Represented E&P company as borrower under a $250 million credit facility entered into in connection with the company's refinancing of existing indebtedness and recapitalization.

Bosque Power Company, LLC
Representation of Prepetition Agent and Working Group of Lenders in the 2010 Chapter 11 of Bosque Power Co LLC and its affiliates. The Texas-based electricity generation company borrowed approximately $410 million in January 2008 in part to fund a conversion of two of its combustion turbines. The Prepetition Agent and the Working Group of Lenders terminated the exclusivity period and confirmed a plan of reorganization in the fall of 2010.

TXCO Resources - Newfield Exploration Co.
Representation of Newfield Exploration Co. in purchase of assets in the Maverick Basin of Southwest Texas from TXCO Resources Inc., a San Antonio-based oil and natural gas exploration and development company. Newfield and the Anadarko Petroleum Company purchased substantially all the assets of TXCO for $310 million pursuant to an order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas.

The Penn Traffic Company - Chapter 11
Representation of The Penn Traffic Company and its subsidiaries in their Chapter 11 cases in the Delaware bankruptcy court. At filing, Penn Traffic owned and operated 79 supermarkets in the northeast part of the United States, and had total debt exceeding $250 million and annual revenues approaching $900 million. Following a spirited marketing and sale process, debtors sold substantially all their assets to TOPS Markets, LLC.

National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ
Our attorneys represented the Creditors’ Committee in this case. After significant litigation, the Creditors’ Committee obtained authority from the court to run a marketing process for this not-for-profit corporation operating senior care living facilities in 10 different states. The debtor had total indebtedness in excess of $250 million. The marketing process, sponsored by the Creditors’ Committee, yielded proceeds sufficient to pay all creditors in full, in cash, plus interest to the date of payment.

American LaFrance Corporation
Represented American LaFrance in its Chapter 11 case in Delaware. The case involved the re-negotiation of substantial vendor and lessor relationships and resulted in American LaFrance's successful reorganization.

Lothian Oil Company
Represented this privately held oil and gas exploration and production company in its Chapter 11 case in the bankruptcy court in San Antonio, Texas.

Custom Forest Prod., Ltd., Case No. 06-50059, W.D. Tex.
Representation of the Liquidating Plan Trustee in pursuit of preference claims and as counsel concerning issues arising in the prosecution by special litigation counsel of noncore fraudulent transfer and business tort claims incident to the failure of the business.

$1.4+ Billion Loan Restructuring - Spectrum Brands, Inc.
Represents the administrative agent in connection with the restructuring of the term loans provided to a global multi-product conglomerate company, including the collateralization thereof and the coordination with the other creditor constituencies in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

Mineral Title Dispute
Represented buyer of oil and gas roylaties company in mineral title dispute in McMullen County, Texas.

Camp Cooley, Ltd.
Representation of lender in the complex Chapter 11 case Camp Cooley, Ltd in the Western District of Texas. The case required the firm to litigate disputed complex issues involving producing and nonproducing minerals, federal and state wetlands and mitigation banking regulations, surface and underground water regulations, timber rights, and operations and valuation disputes involving Camp Cooley’s cattle, genetics, and hay production operations. The lender’s claim against Camp Cooley exceeded $25 million secured by Camp Cooley’s real estate and minerals assets. After a six-day confirmation trial, the firm successfully blocked confirmation of Camp Cooley's proposed plan of reorganization over the lender's objection. Thereafter, the firm negotiated a global settlement on behalf of the lender with Camp Cooley and a second secured creditor that provided for the orderly liquidation of the Camp Cooley assets through a Section 363 sale process.

Memberships

  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Law Section
  • San Antonio Bar Association
  • San Antonio Bankruptcy Bar Association

Online Publications

06/13/2012 - Distressed Natural Gas: Non-Operator Rights and Risk Mitigation Strategies When Your Operator Files Bankruptcy
Recent technological innovations and advancements in drilling and completion techniques have led to an unprecedented expansion of natural gas production by large and midsize exploration and production companies. This expansion created competition for wild cat acreage as well as producing properties, putting lessors and co-owners (the “non-operators”) at a distinct advantage in negotiating the terms of leases, farmout agreements and joint operating agreements (“JOAs”).

11/15/2011 - Law360 Guest Article: Executory Contracts With Multiple Personalities
Rejection of a contract in bankruptcy may not always accomplish a debtor’s goal to shed ongoing contractual obligations and liabilities, especially when dealing with employee benefit plans.

11/03/2011 - Weathering the Storm: Can Executory Contracts Have Multiple Personalities? The Fifth Circuit Finds an Asset Purchase Agreement Amended an ERISA Plan
Rejection of a contract in bankruptcy may not always accomplish a debtor’s goal to shed ongoing contractual obligations and liabilities, especially when dealing with employee benefit plans. On October 13, 2011, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals highlighted this issue in its opinion in Evans v. Sterling Chemicals, Inc. regarding the treatment of a pre-bankruptcy asset purchase agreement which contained a provision addressing the debtor-acquiror’s post-closing ERISA retiree benefit plan obligations to its new employees resulting from the transaction.

11/15/2010 - Weathering the Storm: Buyer Beware, Fifth Circuit Rules Purchasers of Reorganized Debtors Liable for Undervalued Claim
In an October 19, 2010 opinion arising out of the Scotia Pacific bankruptcy cases, the Fifth Circuit ruled that reorganized Scotia and its affiliate Pacific Lumber Company were obliged – nearly 2½ years after Scotia’s reorganization plan was consummated – to pay Scotia’s former secured lenders approximately $30 million on account of a mistake made by the bankruptcy judge in calculating the amount owed to the secured lenders for the use of their collateral during the bankruptcy cases.

03/19/2010 - Fall Down - Go Boom! Lessons from the Mega Cases 2008-2010
Presented at the 2010 Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute Seminar, March 19, 2010.

03/18/2010 - Trashing the Promenade, The Company Town, The Dead Debtor and Many Other Recent Anomalies and Contradictions From Bankruptcyland
Presented at the 2010 Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute Seminar, March 18, 2010.

03/18/2009 - Reality Warp - In Bankruptcy, Anything Goes
This article outlines a few interesting recent cases that impact Chapter 11 reorganizations and show how the intersection of computer research, common law, creative financing and the proliferation of judicial decisions has warped legal reasoning to the point where anything can happen.

04/15/2004 - Joe Isuzu on the Witness Stand and How to Examine Him (Her) (It)
American Bankruptcy Institute 22nd Annual Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 15-18, 2004