Thelen Trustee Files 98 Lawsuits

The Chapter 7 Trustee for the defunct law firm Thelen Marrin has filed 98 lawsuits on the eve of the statute of limitations. The law firm had 600 lawyers in 2006 and filed for Chapter 7 in 2009.  The defendants range from ex partners and their new law firms (attempting to recover fees for work done at Thelen) to ex-clients of the firm who allegedly owe the firm fees.

“Facing a two-year statute of limitations, the trustee overseeing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of the defunct Thelen law firm has filed 98 individual complaints in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court against former firm clients and partners, as well other law firms those partners later joined.

In the complaints—filed in the form of accounts receivable claims and clawback suits over the course of several days last week—Thelen trustee Yann Geron seeks to recoup an unspecified amount on behalf of the defunct firm’s creditors….

Among the spate of complaints brought by Geron, 23 seek a combined total of more than $3 million in unpaid fees from such former Thelen clients as Automatic Software, Friendly Franchisees Corporation (the parent company of the Denny’s and Papa John’s brands), and San Francisco Assisted Living.

Sixteen of the complaints are clawback suits aimed at law firms—including Baker & Hostetler, Bingham McCutchen, Kilpatrick Stockton & Townsend, and McDermott Will & Emery—for a total amount that Geron says will be determined via discovery. The remaining 59 complaints target former Thelen partners who have not yet settled with the estate.

In the clawback suits, Geron alleges that the Thelen estate is entitled to revenue related to client business that former partners took with them to new employers as the struggling firm teetered on the brink of dissolution.”

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