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Subordination and Recharacterization of Claims in Bankruptcy: Avoiding Pitfalls for Lenders, Creditors, and PE Sponsors

Navigating Circuit Split in Bringing or Defending Bankruptcy Preference Actions

A live 90-minute CLE video webinar with interactive Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

(Alert: Event date has changed from 3/26/2024!)

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will offer best practices for counsel to lenders, creditors, and private equity sponsors to structure transactions and lending practices to protect their claims and maintain their priority status against junior and unsecured creditors or borrowers facing insolvency or bankruptcy.


Junior or unsecured creditors often assert equitable subordination and recharacterization claims against secured creditors to enhance recovery from highly leveraged debtors. When addressing the liquidity of their portfolio companies, PE sponsors are vulnerable to attacks on their claims.

The Bankruptcy Code also provides for subordination of claims based on the purchase or sale of securities of a debtor or its affiliate, so that such claims are treated as having equal or lesser priority of claims based on the relevant securities.

Recharacterization claims usually involve insiders like stockholders, directors, and officers. However, the doctrine is not limited to corporate insiders, and courts will scrutinize both the debt instrument and the creditor's status.

The subordination and recharacterization doctrines are heavily litigated with recent cases that reflect the continued inconsistency among circuit courts and differing standards used among courts to scrutinize various loan transactions.

Listen as our authoritative panel of bankruptcy attorneys discusses the looming threats of equitable subordination and recharacterization in bankruptcy and how lenders, creditors, and PE sponsors can minimize exposure and protect their claims.



  1. Overview of subordination and recharacterization in bankruptcy
    1. Equitable subordination
    2. Subordination of claims based on purchase or sale of securities
    3. Recharacterization
    4. Recent case law
    5. Litigation considerations
  2. Minimizing attacks on the claim
    1. Secured lenders
      1. Underwriting
      2. Collateral review
    2. PE sponsors
      1. Anticipating liquidity problems
      2. Internal governance procedures
      3. Arm's length transactions
      4. Management rights or other control of business operations
    3. Creditors
      1. Non-statutory insiders
      2. Claimants with securities purchase/sale-related claims


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How have the courts defined "inequitable conduct" to justify equitable subordination?
  • How do courts analyze potential subordination of claims related to the purchase or sale of securities?
  • What factors do the courts use to distinguish a loan transaction from equity investment to justify recharacterization?
  • How can PE sponsors loaning money to their portfolio companies protect themselves from attack?


Herman, Ira
Ira L. Herman

Blank Rome

Mr. Herman concentrates his practice on distressed public debt issues, insolvency matters involving upstream and...  |  Read More

Kaplan, Gary
Gary M. Kaplan

Farella Braun + Martel

Mr. Kaplan represents debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, creditors' committees and trustees in a wide...  |  Read More

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You may pre-order a recording to listen at your convenience. Recordings are available 48 hours after the webinar. Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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