Richard W. Esterkin advises clients in bankruptcy as well as complex commercial litigation. He has served as debtor’s counsel and trustee’s counsel in bankruptcy proceedings, and has represented official creditors’ and bondholders’ committees. Richard serves on the mediation panels of the US Bankruptcy and District Courts for the Central District of California, and is a former Chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section.
Richard’s bankruptcy experience includes representing the debtor in In re Del Taco, Inc., representing the Creditors’ Committee inIn re Ultrafurn Inc. (Budget Furniture Rentals) and Pacific Properties Ltd., representing the Bondholders’ Committee in In re Custom Food Products, and acting as trustee’s counsel in In re Visicom Corp. and In re Babaeian Transportation Co., Inc. Richard also sat on the creditors’ committees in In re California Power Exchange and In re NextWave Personal Communications, Inc. Bankruptcy representations involving environmental issues include: (a) representation of potentially responsible party groups regarding whether environmental claims were discharged under confirmed plans of reorganization, (b) representation of real estate developers in connection with the acquisition of contaminated property from a bankruptcy estate, (c) advice regarding restructuring of companies holding contaminated properties, and (d) representation of potentially responsible party groups in relation to environmental claims in bankruptcy cases.
Reported decisions in which Richard served as lead counsel include Bank of Manhattan, N.A. v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 778 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 2015) (FDIC may not breach contracts of failed bank without consequence) Davis v. U.S. Bank (In re Davis), 778 F.3d 809 (9th Cir. 2015); (eligibility for chapter 12 relief); In re DAK Industries, Inc. 170 F.3d 1197 (9th Cir. 1999) (valuation to determine solvency in preference case); In re Kord Enterprises; 139 F.3d 684 (9th Cir. 1998) (amicus for California Bankers' Association) (secured creditor entitled to recover attorney's fees for bankruptcy services); In re Babaeian Transportation Co., 206 B.R. 536 (Bankr. C.D. Cal. 1997) (lien on automobiles avoided); In re Care Enterprises, Inc., 114 B.R. 234 (Bankr. C.D. Cal 1990) (counterclaim against partner of partnership filing proof of claim is core proceeding); In re Georgetown Park Apartments, 103 B.R. 248 (Bankr. S.D. Cal. 1989) (11 U.S.C. § 1111(b).
A frequent speaker, Richard lectures on a variety of bankruptcy and commercial law topics including bankruptcy court jurisdiction, the effect of bankruptcy upon environmental claims, the prosecution of proceedings to establish the nondischargability of claims against debtors in bankruptcy, municipal bankruptcies, letters of credit, and bankruptcy sales and litigation arising from the recent mortgage crisis. Publications include "Balance Due (Complying with Environmental Regulations During Bankruptcy Proceedings)," 18 The Los Angeles Lawyer (Vol. 5) (1995).
Richard has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2008, and has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer each year since 2006.
Claremont McKenna College, 1973, B.A.
University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, 1976, J.D.
United States Supreme Court
Awards and Affiliations
Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America (2008–present)
Recognized, Southern California Super Lawyer (2006–present)
Member, American Bar Association, Section of Business Law
Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section
Past Chair, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section
Former Editor in Chief, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section Newsletter
Mediation Panelist, US Bankruptcy Court of the Central District of California
Mediation Panelist, US District Court for the Central District of California