Norman L. Pernick is co-chair of the firm’s Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Department and the founding managing member of the Delaware office.
With 38 years of experience, Norm has earned a national reputation in the bankruptcy and workout arena, focusing on mid- to large-sized chapter 11 public and privately-held debtor-side representations, as well as creditors’ committees, major creditors, management, boards of directors, and trustees. For the last 18 years, he has received the highest praise by his peers and clients alike in Chambers USA as “a brilliant strategist” and “gifted problem solver” with a “breathtakingly effective ability to bring people together to get a deal done,” and for “his practical businesslike approach, fine negotiation skills, strong sense of integrity, and results-oriented, savvy style.”
Norm has served as a trusted advisor, strategist, and either lead or substantive co-counsel in numerous notable chapter 11 cases including:
- Advantage Holdco, Inc., et al. – lead bankruptcy counsel for the fourth-largest rental car company in their chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. Conducted an expedited sale process of numerous locations and negotiated and confirmed a liquidating chapter 11 plan, including resolving all administrative, priority, and secured claims.
- Barzel Industries – lead Debtor’s counsel for metal processing company in the successful chapter 11 sale of its business and wind down of its affairs. As of the date of the filing, Barzel listed assets of $366 million and liabilities of $385 million and operated 16 metal processing, manufacturing and distribution facilities that serviced the North American, Latin American and European markets.
- Cadence Innovation – lead chapter 11 Debtor’s counsel for automotive supplier of parts, modules and systems to GM, Chrysler and Volkswagen in its successful sale as a going concern.
- Eastern Outfitters, LLC – Debtors co-counsel to a regional multi-channel retailer engaged in the apparel, footwear, and sporting goods lines of business. The Debtors operated 86 retail stores and employed approximately 2600 employees. Eastern Outfitters entered chapter 11 with SportsDirect, the holder of the Debtors’ second lien debt and the United Kingdom’s largest sporting goods retailer, as the Stalking Horse Bidder and eventual successful purchaser.
- Energy Future Intermediate Holdings, et al. – co-counsel to Delaware Trust Company as indenture trustee for holders of $3.5 billion of first lien notes. At the time of its filing, EFIH was one of the 10 largest chapter 11 bankruptcies filed since 1980.
- Fedders Corporation – lead Debtor’s counsel for global manufacturer of residential and commercial air treatment products with $300 million in annual sales. Accomplished sale of five major going concern businesses and the confirmation of a chapter 11 plan within one year of the bankruptcy filing.
- Fresh & Easy – lead chapter 11 Debtor’s counsel to an operator of retail grocery stores. Commenced store closing sales resulting in significant proceeds for the estates and successfully disposed of more than 100 leased locations. Objected to PACA/PASA claims and 503(b)(9) claims, defended and resolved litigation alleging violations of the WARN Act, and participated in mediation with the Committee resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement that was memorialized in a confirmed plan and a wind-down of operations through a liquidating trust.
- Hilltop Energy – lead Debtor’s counsel to independent energy companies engaged in the development, production and exploration of crude oil and natural glass. Representation included the prompt filing and ultimate approval in 40 days of a prepackaged chapter 11 plan of Reorganization providing for an approximate $50 million debt-for-equity swap.
- J.G. Wentworth – lead Debtor’s counsel for the nation’s leading purchaser of structured settlements and annuities in its “prepackaged” first chapter 11 case, believed to be one of the fastest prepackaged chapter 11 reorganization cases on record in the United States. The company’s stay in bankruptcy lasted just under two weeks.
- Leslie Controls – lead Debtor’s counsel for a unit of publicly-held CIRCOR International, Inc., in its successful chapter 11 restructuring of asbestos personal injury liabilities.
- LVI Intermediate Holdings, INC., et al., – lead Debtors’ counsel for two LASIK brands operating approximately 120 centers across 38 states. The Debtors sought debtor-in-possession financing to fund operations and conduct an expedited sale process of the business as a going concern. The company obtained bankruptcy court approval of the sale and the cases were then converted to chapter 7.
- Monitor Company Group Limited Partnership – lead counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Monitor, a high-end consulting business that was sold to Deloitte as a going concern. Monitor reported gross income from operations of $145 million for the year before it filed chapter 11.
- Open Range Communications – lead Debtor’s counsel for company that provided broadband access to approximately 26,000 underserved and unserved rural Americans in 12 states. Prior to the chapter 11 filing, Open Range received the largest broadband loan ever awarded by the Rural Utilities Services of the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Owens Corning, et al. – lead Debtor’s counsel for multinational composites and building materials company, which successfully restructured its asbestos personal injury liabilities in chapter 11. At the time of its filing in 2000, Owens Corning was one of the 10 largest bankruptcy cases ever filed, with annual sales of $5 billion, approximately 20,000 employees worldwide, and more than 460,000 asbestos personal injury claims amounting to more than $5 billion in payments.
- Patriarch Partners and Lynn Tilton – lead counsel to Lynn Tilton and Patriarch Partners in the chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of Zohar III Corp. and several affiliated CLO funds.
- Radio Shack – lead counsel to Gamestop Corporation and its subsidiary Spring Mobile, in purchasing hundreds of leases from Radio Shack in its chapter 11 case.
- Restaurants Unlimited, Inc. and Houlihan’s – Acted as lead counsel to Landry’s, as stalking horse purchaser and ultimate successful bidder, in connection with its acquisitions of restaurants in the Restaurants Unlimited and Houlihan’s chapter 11 bankruptcy cases in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
- Ritz Camera Centers – lead Debtor’s counsel to well-known retail chain that operated 930 stores located in over 30 states, with sales just under $1 billion.
- Stafford Logistics – guided client as lead counsel through a sale process that resulted in a sale of the equity in the company to a private equity fund which allowed the company to continue as a going concern without a bankruptcy filing, preserving its core customer base and continuing the employment of its more than 700 employees
- Tribune Company – co-counsel to Tribune, a multinational media and entertainment conglomerate, in its successful chapter 11 restructuring of over $13 billion in funded debt.
- Yarway Corporation – co counsel to Yarway, a Tyco International Ltd. Unit that made industrial valves and listed assets in excess of $100 million and liabilities in excess of $165 million as of the petition date. The bankruptcy was precipitated by the continuing assertion of asbestos personal injury claims against Yarway, which were restructured in a confirmed chapter 11 plan.
Norm has also received several fiduciary and trustee appointments including:
- Chapter 11 Trustee in the Pitt Penn Holding Co. cases.
- Trustee for the Claims Resolution Trust for Warranty and Products Liability claims in GEC Industries, Inc.
- Member of the Panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the District of Delaware.
- Appointed by the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as Co-Receiver for the practice of William L. Garrett, Jr., Esquire.
Networks & Affiliations
Norm is very active in the Wilmington community and just completed his term as the Chair of the Board of Directors, and remains on the Board of Jewish Family Services of Delaware, a statewide organization that supports people of all backgrounds by assisting families through life transitions, helping youth and children grow stronger, and ensuring the safety and dignity of older adults. He serves as a Senior Advisor and was the Chair of the Board of Directors for nine years, of Downtown Visions, an umbrella organization for a community-wide effort to revitalize downtown Wilmington. Norm is also a founding member and first board chair of the Wilmington Main Street program. This program is accredited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is the largest Main Street program in the country.
Norm is the Chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the American College of Bankruptcy. He is actively involved in numerous professional organizations including the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American College of Bankruptcy, the Delaware State Bar Association Bankruptcy Law Section, and is a founding member of the Delaware Pro Se Consumer Bankruptcy Initiative and the Commercial Bankruptcy Alliance. Norm was a member of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals 2005 Merit Selection Committee for Bankruptcy Judgeship Vacancies in the District of Delaware. The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware also selected Norm to serve as a member of the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners.
Honors & Awards
He has received recognition from numerous organizations including:
- American College of Bankruptcy (Fellow since 2008)
- 2020 & 2022 Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyer
- Chambers USA 2003 – present
- Best Lawyers in America 2006 – present
- Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014 and 2016, 2018 and 2020 for Wilmington, DE Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
- Super Lawyers 2007-2022, Top 10 Lawyers in Delaware 2017-2021
Norm is the author of the Bankruptcy Deadline Checklist. Now in its fifth edition, this primer is published by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section.