Melissa A. Peña, Chair of the Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Group, concentrates her practice on commercial litigation and bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Her clients include financial institutions, private lenders, creditors, and accounting firms. She 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 has also defended 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 court room, Melissa handles commercial workouts, negotiating forbearance agreements on behalf of lenders. She frequently represents investors seeking to acquire defaulted loans from the due diligence stage to closing on the sale. She also helps lenders to liquidate their collateral through UCC sales, including sales of co-ops.
Whether she is inside or outside the court room, 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.
Melissa is Co-Chair of the Meritas Financial Services section and a member of the Finance Committee, which reports to the Meritas Board of Directors.
She received her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from American University, Washington College of Law in 2003; and her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, summa cum laude, from George Washington University in 2000.
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.