Press Release


 Hughes Watters Askanase Partners Wayne Kitchens, Larry Young

Available for Perspectives on the U.S. Automotive Industry
Financial Crisis and Implications for Auto Dealers and Consumers

 

HOUSTON, Texas (May 7, 2009) -- U.S. automobile dealers and lenders and attorneys around the nation can look to Hughes Watters Askanase, LLP (www.hwa.com) partners Wayne Kitchens and Lawrence "Larry" Young for perspectives on the near-term and long-term implications of the current financial crisis that is affecting the entire  U.S. automobile industry.

Kitchens and Young have been serving as bankruptcy experts for a series of legal and auto industry conferences to provide context and share insights on the implications of the recent Chrysler bankruptcy filing and a likely General Motors bankruptcy or a massive GM restructuring that will drastically affect automobile lenders and their floor plan lenders.

Both Kitchens and Young served as speakers for an Internet-based panel and Webinar sponsored by the National Association of Dealer Counsel (NADC) related to the Chrysler bankruptcy that was filed that day, April 30, 2009, and a probable GM bankruptcy. They also addressed the implications and strategy for dealers.  The Webinar was itself a reprise of their live presentation to the annual meeting of the NADC in Dallas on April 2 and included some additional issues triggered by the actual Chrysler bankruptcy filing that day. Young and Kitchens were the "resident" bankruptcy experts on a five-person, five-hour panel at the NADC Dallas conference.

Kitchens is a co-managing partner at Hughes Watters Askanase with more than 20 years of business bankruptcy experience. Young wrote part of the Bankruptcy Code and its legislative history and was involved in two successful bankruptcy cases in the United States Supreme Court.  Both presented a paper written with the assistance of HWA associate Patrick McCarren entitled, "Some Critical Issues in Automobile Dealer (and Manufacturer) Bankruptcies." They also developed a detailed PowerPoint presentation that delved into the implications of auto manufacturer and dealer bankruptcies.

Young and Kitchens have prepared the following joint statement about the current situation with the Chrysler bankruptcy and a probable GM bankruptcy:

"It is predictable that a GM or Chrysler bankruptcy will trigger dealer bankruptcies, setting up dueling automatic stays and situations where the manufacturer tries to reject the dealer's franchise agreement and the dealer tries to assume it.  The automatic stay in the dealer bankruptcy would likely prevent rejection absent the manufacturer getting relief from the stay but the Bankruptcy Code is not well set up to handle dueling bankruptcies. A GM bankruptcy filing would dwarf Enron or WorldCom-perhaps not in total dollars involved in the case-but with the incredible complexities involving suppliers, dealers, foreign subsidiaries, unions, pension plans, retirees, bondholders, and now the federal government. Add to that the resulting dealer and supplier bankruptcies, and you create a truly mind-boggling series of cases."

Young also spoke in Annapolis, Md. on May 5, 2009 at the CARLAW-HOUSELAW HOUSING AND AUTO FINANCE CONFERENCE on the topic "The Automotive Industry Crisis and Implications of Manufacturer and Dealer Bankruptcies."  He addressed some of the issues that face American auto dealers in the Chrysler bankruptcy and a likely GM bankruptcy.  These issues include whether dealers whose dealerships are likely to be terminated in a Chrysler or GM bankruptcy should file their own Chapter 11 and try to use their own Chapter 11 bankruptcy powers to prevent termination.  They also include whether the GM or Chrysler dealers who have surrendered their franchise and had the manufacturer buy back their cars, but have not been paid for them before the manufacturer's bankruptcy, will be paid or will just have an unsecured claim. Additionally, the impact of these issues on dealers' floor plan lenders that finance the dealers' inventory was discussed.

Kitchens is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for Business Bankruptcy Law.  He has extensive experience in buying and selling assets in and out of bankruptcy, as well as prosecuting and defending preference and fraudulent transfer matters. He has authored and co-authored numerous articles on bankruptcy topics and often speaks on bankruptcy on a local, regional and national level. He has been quoted by Bloomberg Business News, The Houston Chronicle and The Houston Business Journal for his bankruptcy expertise.

Kitchens is a member of the Houston Bankruptcy Bar Association, the Houston Bar Association, the Houston Bar Foundation for which he has been a fellow since 2001, the Texas Bar Foundation for which he has been a fellow since 2005, the American Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Turnaround Management Association, and the University of Houston Law Center A.A. White Society.

Young has over 30 years of legal experience in business and consumer bankruptcy and commercial and consumer finance.  He is a fellow of both the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. Young is the Texas state editor for both CARLAW and HOUSELAW and serves on the advisory board of the Consumer Financial Services Law Report.  He is the former editor of the Consumer Finance Law QUARTERLY REPORT and has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles and seminar papers, a book, two plays and a screenplay on a variety of legal subjects. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and in Parade Magazine and on National Public Radio on bankruptcy topics. He also has appeared on several television and radio programs in various regions of the country on bankruptcy issues.

Young also served on the American Bar Association (ABA) Business Law Section Task Force on Insolvency and the Federal Court Structure and the ABA Business Law Section Planning Committee. Young is a past chairman of the ABA Consumer Bankruptcy Committee, the ABA Consumer Financial Services Debt Collection Practices and Bankruptcy Subcommittee and the ABA Commercial Financial Services Interest and Usury Subcommittee.

Full Bios and Presentations

For a full biographical profile on Kitchens or Young, please see http://www.hwa.com/ or contact Connie Pardue at 713/328-2875 or cpardue@hwa.com. Copies of the papers and presentations by Young and Kitchens are also available upon request to Pardue.

About Hughes Watters Askanase

For more than 31 years, Hughes Watters Askanase, LLP has helped business organizations, financial institutions and individuals succeed with their business endeavors. The firm's attorneys play a strategic role and support clients through every stage of existence and operation, from formation to liquidation. The practice focuses on the various interrelated areas which provide the greatest opportunities and most challenging obstacles: banking and credit union representation, business bankruptcy, business planning and strategy, default servicing, real estate and finance, consumer financial services, commercial litigation, and wills and probate.  For more information on Hughes Watters Askanase L.L.P., please visit http://www.hwa.com/.


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