Robert J. Labate is a corporate restructuring and bankruptcy attorney who is widely recognized for his transactional media work in film and television. Mr. Labate is the co-chair of the Chicago office Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and he is an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University School of Law, where he teaches courses on “Pre-Bankruptcy Workout and Restructuring” and “The Law of Television and Film Production."
As a corporate restructuring and bankruptcy attorney, Mr. Labate represents parties in complex corporate restructurings in Chapter 11 and outside of Chapter 11 consensual, out-of-court “workout” agreements. As part of the financial restructuring portion of his practice, Mr. Labate advises clients on creditor and creditor committee issues, debtor restructuring, and asset sales and acquisitions, including Section 363 sales. Recent bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights engagements include:
- In re Fairview Ministries, Inc., Case No. 11 B 04386, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ill. Representation of Hinsdale Bank & Trust Co., Prepetition and DIP Lender to Continuing Care Retirement Community debtor.
- Freedom Broadcasting of New York, Freedom Broadcasting of Michigan, Inc. and Freedom Broadcasting of Florida, Inc., jointly administered as Case No. 09-13046, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Representation of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation regarding program licensing.
- ImagePoint Inc. vs. BFS Retail & Commercial Operations, LLC, Adv. Pro. 09-03080 U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Tennessee. Representation of Bridgestone Retail Operations in a defense of breach of contract action.
- In re J.M. Products, Inc., Case No. 09 bk 12828, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, E.D. Arkansas. Representation of Chapter 11 trustee in the sale of substantially all assets.
- In re Platinum Oil Properties, LLC, 09-10832, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. New Mexico. Representation of Jicarilla Apache Nation, owners of oil and gas leases.
- Out-of-court representation of Opus Northwest, LLC, a real estate development company, in the restructuring of $300 million in participant bank obligations.
- Out-of-court representation of A.C. Houston Lumber Company, a Nevada-based building products manufacturing and lumber company, in the restructuring of facilities and operations in three states.
- In re Universal Building Products, Inc., Case No. 10-12453, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Representation of former owners of debtor who held leases and security in assets.
- In re Central Park Development, LLC, Case No. 09-47062, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Illinois. Representation of mezzanine lender and, subsequently, of debtor-owner of commercial real property.
Mr. Labate is well-known in the Chicago area for his work in entertainment law, particularly in the areas of structuring and financing independent film and television production. He represents national production companies and industry professionals, including producers of nationally distributed feature and documentary films, on issues involving content acquisitions, licensing, financing, and book and music publishing.
Recent film and television projects include:
- A Good Man (for PBS American Masters broadcast in 2011). Production counsel for Kartemquin Films.
- Head Games (in production for completion in 2012). Representation of producer, Bruce Sheridan, chair of the Film & Video Department at Columbia College Chicago which is the largest film school in the United States.
- The Interrupters (premiered at Sundance Film Festival, January, 2011). Production counsel for Kartemquin Films.
- The Last Rites of Joe May (released November, 2011, Tribeca Films). Representation of producer Steppenwolf Films, LLC.
- 102 Minutes That Changed America and Louder Than A Bomb. Production counsel for Siskel/Jacobs Productions.
- Stetson Kennedy. Representation of Stetson Kennedy and his estate in film matters, which included the acquisition of his life and literary rights for the feature film and documentary.
- Sophia Nelson. Representation of author.
- Welcome to Shelbyville (initial broadcast on PBS in May 2011). Production counsel to The BeCause Foundation.
- The Dogfather (released 2010). Representation of Chicago-based Big Shoot Productions as production and distribution counsel.
Honors & Awards
- The Best Lawyers in America guide, Entertainment Law, 2007-2012
- Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2007-2012
- Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Media & Entertainment: Transactional, 2009-2012
- Corporate Counsel Edition, Super Lawyers magazine, November 2009
- Top Bankruptcy Lawyer, The Deal, 2007
- Chicago Law Bulletin Leading Lawyer
- Chicago Bar Association, Chair, Media and Entertainment Committee 2007-2008
- Chicago Bar Association, Nominating Committee, 2008
- American Bankruptcy Institute