Eric E. Johnson

Member

Denver, Colorado

Phone: 303.299.8376

Fax: 303.298.0940

ejohnson@shermanhoward.com

Education

  • Juris Doctor, Stanford Law School, 1985
  • Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, with distinction in Chemistry, Grinnell College, 1982
    • President’s Medal as outstanding member of class of 1982
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Eric Johnson is a member in Sherman & Howard’s Litigation department and has more than 25 years of experience in bankruptcy, debtor-creditor, financial restructuring, and work out matters. He is dedicated to using his expertise to protect creditors’ and investors’ financial rights, and assisting businesses to successfully manage insolvency risks in their business transactions. Eric has helped many secured and unsecured creditors to maximize their recoveries and minimize losses in situations involving defaults or bankruptcy, and has led many successful distressed merger and acquisition transactions in the electronics, trucking, oil and gas, mining, pharmaceutical and sports industries. He also works frequently to structure, document and workout complex secured and unsecured financing transactions for institutional lenders and other business clients.

Experience

  • Engaged in all aspects of insolvency, bankruptcy, restructuring, complex lending, commercial contracts and workout transactions and litigation, with an emphasis on advising institutional creditor and business clients regarding protection of financial rights, security interests and investments, structuring and documenting transactions, maximizing recoveries and managing insolvency risks.
  • Expertise in commercial debtor-creditor matters, asset-based and structured financing transactions, distressed merger and acquisition transactions, real and personal property foreclosures and other collection strategies, corporate restructuring and workout arrangements, intellectual property sales, financing and licensing transactions, and advising corporate boards on fiduciary duties.
  • Appointed by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation as lead counsel to the trustee in liquidating a regional securities broker-dealer and administering claims arising from Ponzi scheme perpetrated by broker. During a thirteen-year proceeding, all claims of the brokerage’s defrauded securities customers were satisfied through settlement recoveries and litigation victories, including eleven judgments in favor of the trustee, primarily in fraudulent transfer cases, fourteen victories in appellate proceedings and a federal court jury verdict awarding the trustee all compensatory and punitive damages sought on fraudulent transfer, breach of fiduciary duty and alter ego claims against the brokerage’s principal.
  • Represented professional baseball league in three-year complex workout of debtor-creditor issues involving a minor-league baseball team. Managed competing claims of secured and unsecured creditors, the league, a municipality, former owners and new ownership group, worked with interim management to operate the team, arranged new sponsorship, stadium lease and other agreements and structured series of agreements that allowed the team to be rehabilitated, sold and operated profitably.
  • Represented oil and gas development company as lead bankruptcy counsel in purchase of debtor’s assets that was the third-largest bankruptcy sale in the country in 2012.
  • Represented several buyers of oil and gas rights and other mineral interests in negotiating, documenting and closing asset purchases in bankruptcy and other distressed transactions, including formulation of protections against creditors and competing bidders.
  • Represented private equity firm in acquiring international electronics manufacturing company and regional trucking company from international and national banks through UCC foreclosure sales.  Drafted and negotiated transaction documents, while designing and implementing a structure to transition the businesses smoothly to new ownership.
  • Represented international mining company in protecting and recovering on secured loans to foreign mining operation, through workout and restructure of client’s claims, and negotiations with and defeat of competing claims of international lenders and foreign diversified steel and mining company.
  • Represented buyer of assets of large pharmaceutical manufacturing company in financial distress. Worked with valuation consultants and management to structure agreement and manage potential debtor-creditor, fiduciary duty and indemnity risks.
  • Represented group administering assets involved in a Japanese bankruptcy proceeding to work out debtor-creditor claims and sell a 25-square mile buffalo ranch in eastern Colorado, including formulation of complex agreement to administer claims of foreign and domestic creditors and governmental agencies.
  • Represented several non-profit organizations in remodeling their organizational documents and methods of operation to better comply with fiduciary duties, satisfy creditors’ claims, attract board members, increase donor confidence and serve their charitable missions more effectively.
  • Represented venture capital firm in negotiating debtor-in-possession financing agreement with bankrupt telecommunications company, including formulation of plan of reorganization, litigation with other creditors, and ultimate settlement upon conversion leading to payment of lender client.
  • Represented large real estate investment firm in real estate purchases in multiple large bankruptcy cases, including negotiation of “stalking horse” agreements, formulation and obtaining court approval of break-up fees, drafting of sale motions and litigation to obtain appropriate court sale orders.
  • Represented computer manufacturers in successfully blocking a planned sale of patent rights in bankruptcy and arranging an auction process resulting in clients acquisition of those rights in a bankruptcy court auction.

Publications & Presentations

  • Building a Successful Career as a Turnaround Professional
    Turnaround Management Association Rocky Mountain Chapter Meeting | 2011
  • Bankruptcy Effects and Risks with Respect to Financing, Contracting and Operations
    University of Colorado Denver Business School Graduate Energy Management Program | 2011
  • Walking Through a Distressed Real Estate Case: A Drama in Four Acts
    Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants 2010 Real Estate Conference | 2010
  • Commercial Mortgage Modifications: Lien Priority, Title Insurance and Bankruptcy Issues
    Strafford Publications Seminars | Nov. 2011; Nov. 2010; Apr. 2010
  •  Counseling Clients Through Workouts and Acquisitions Involving Distressed Assets
    Colorado Bar Association Business Law Institute | 2010
  • How to Win (or Not to Lose) a Bankruptcy Sale
    Colorado Bar Association Seminars | 2009-2010
  • What Every Director and Officer Should Know about Bankruptcy and Insolvency | 2003-2010
  • Bankruptcy 101: An Introduction to Bankruptcy for Non-bankruptcy Lawyers | 1998-2010
  • Security Interests in Intellectual Property and Licenses of Intellectual Property in Bankruptcy
    Colorado Bar Association Business Law Institutes | 2005, 2009
  • Acquiring a Distressed Business Both In and Out of Bankruptcy
    Colorado Bar Association 2009 Business Law Institute | November 2009
  • Acquiring Distressed Assets: 363 Sales and Other Techniques
    CLEI Private Equity Conference | September 2009

Professional Activities

  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association
  • Washington Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • State of Colorado – 4th Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission (selected by Governor)

Highlights

  • Best Lawyers in America, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2020)