Melissa A. Peña

Member | New Jersey/New York

Melissa A. Peña, a member of the firm’s Management Committee and Chair of the Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, concentrates her practice on commercial litigation and bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Her clients include financial institutions, private lenders, creditors, and accounting firms. Melissa has successfully represented secured creditors and unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and state court insolvency proceedings. She frequently handles commercial foreclosure actions, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, lien priority disputes, fraudulent conveyance actions, and creditor enforcement matters.

Melissa also defends accounting firms in disputes regarding alleged failure to detect criminal and fraudulent activity in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York.

Outside the courtroom, Melissa handles commercial workouts, negotiating forbearance agreements on behalf of lenders and troubled cross-border transactions. She represents investors seeking to acquire defaulted loans from the due diligence stage to closing on the sale. Melissa also helps lenders to liquidate their collateral through UCC sales, including sales of co-ops.

Whether she is inside or outside the courtroom, Melissa’s goal is to find a practical business solution for her clients. She utilizes litigation as a tool to further her client’s business objectives in a cost-effective manner.

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  • “Before the Deluge: Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Webinar, January 28, 2021
  • “The Pandemic Recovery: Debt Recovery Options Facing New York’s Restaurant Industry,” New York State Restaurant Association, Webinar, September 15, 2020
  • Chapter 11’s New Subchapter V: What You Need to Know About the SBRA,” New Jersey Law Journal, February 6, 2020
  • “Bankruptcy Topics for the Non-Bankruptcy Practitioner,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Allentown, Pennsylvania, June 13, 2018
  • “Bankruptcy Topics for the Non-Bankruptcy Practitioner,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, NJ, May 7, 2018
  • Corporate Bankruptcy 101 and Select Bankruptcy Issues,” Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Bridgewater, New Jersey, March 24, 2009

Obtained jury verdict in favor of lender on suit to collect under personal guaranty in the Supreme Court of New York, Commercial Part.

Represented several purchasers of assets in Section 363 bankruptcy sales with particular focus on the acquisition of intellectual property rights.

Successfully represented creditor in obtaining non-dischargeability judgment in Bankruptcy Court on the basis that debtor committed a fraud.

Represented assignee for benefit of creditors in contested motion by assignee to dismiss involuntary bankruptcy case filed against assignor.

Successfully argued before the First Department to uphold entry of deficiency judgment against guarantors in commercial foreclosure action, involving the adjudication of the value of the mortgaged premises based on its highest and best use.

Obtained order dismissing accounting malpractice claims against accounting firm and successfully defended appeal of the order.

Represented subcontractors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases involving New York Lien Law issues.

Settled multiple preference claims to claw back payments received by creditors 90 days prior to a bankruptcy proceeding on behalf of defendants.

Successfully obtained foreclosure judgments on behalf of lenders while counseling lenders on issues arising with a variety of collateral, including hotels, apartment complexes, office buildings, day care centers, animal shelters, and restaurants.


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