Current status of Mack Industries litigation – The court held a status hearing on August 21, 2019, and continued all matters to October 16. There will be a regular schedule of status hearings, approximately monthly, as this case proceeds. We have begun writing to the trustee’s lawyers to ask that they dismiss those cases where we have documentation to show that the trustee does not really have a claim. If the trustee does not agree to dismiss voluntarily, we will file motions for entry of a summary judgment, which is a way to dispose of the case without ever having to go to trial. We will keep each of our clients advised about the status of our efforts with the trustee. If we don’t have enough documentation to try to persuade the trustee to dismiss your case, we will keep trying to get more documents from you.
Case Background – If you have received a summons from the bankruptcy trustee in Mack Industries, Case No. 17 B 09308, you should have legal representation. This firm can help you defend this lawsuit. Whether you hire this firm or another law firm, the following information should be useful. Mack Industries filed a Chapter 11 reorganization case on March 24, 2017. The case did not succeed, and it was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation case on June 1, 2017. In a Chapter 7, a trustee has the responsibility to collect the assets of the debtor, and has the authority to file suit to collect money from parties who have received payment from the debtor. In March, 2019, the trustee filed over 400 lawsuits against investors, employees, vendors, and contractors of Mack Industries. If you have received a complaint and summons, you are a defendant in a lawsuit and you have to take it very seriously. Most of the trustee’s complaints make the same allegations—that the company was run as a fraudulent scheme, and that, therefore, all the money paid to the defendants for up to four years has to be repaid to the trustee. David P. Lloyd, Ltd., has been in contact with the officers of Mack Industries since the bankruptcy was filed, and I have attended numerous meetings with the trustee and his representatives. I have over 30 years’ experience in bankruptcy cases, including litigation like the lawsuits filed in the Mack Industries case. We are scheduling a number of meetings to inform defendants about their rights and options. Defending against this lawsuits can be very expensive, but if a number of defendants pool their resources, they can reduce their costs by employing one law firm to represent numerous defendants.
How to contact us: The best way to contact our firm is by clicking the “Participate” button, or by sending an email, to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we haven’t already communicated, provide your name (as it appears on the trustee’s complaint), address (if you have a better address than the trustee used to contact you, give us your better address), phone number and email address, and the case number (it appears in the top margin of the trustee’s complaint, beginning with a “19.”) We will contact you about your case. Check this page in coming days for the dates of informational meetings that we are scheduling for multiple defendants.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the worst that can happen — can I go to jail?
This is a civil law suit. We do not know of any criminal investigation. The worst that can happen is that the trustee can get a judgment against you in the full amount in the complaint. The trustee can then take a number of legal actions to collect the judgment—garnishments against your bank account, actions against your customers (if you are business) or wage deductions (if you are an individual).
What will this cost me?
Defending against a lawsuit of this type can cost thousands of dollars. Doing nothing is even more expensive, because that would allow the trustee to get a judgment in the full amount of his claim. We hope that, by serving a large number of defendants, we can share legal and accounting expenses and avoid duplication of effort. It’s too early to know just what the case will cost, but the more defendants hire one firm, the smaller the cost will be for each defendant.
What if I have no ability to pay claims?
You likely received a complaint asking for thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars. We can definitely approach the trustee and tell him that you do not have the ability to pay. First we will try to convince a court that you don’t owe anything at all; but if the court decides that the trustee has the legal right to collect, we can negotiate a settlement that you can afford. You don’t want this case to put you in your own bankruptcy, and the trustee recognizes that he can’t get paid if he forces you into bankruptcy.
What if I can’t pay defense costs?
We are trying to gather as many defendants as possible to retain one firm, to spread around the defense costs. If we have enough defendants working together, the total defense cost could be as little as $1,000 for each defendant.
What if I do nothing?
If you do nothing, the trustee will get a judgment against you. The trustee can then take a number of legal actions to collect the judgment—garnishments against your bank account, actions against your customers (if you are business) or wage deductions (if you are an individual).
I was an employee or contractor of Mack Industries. Why is the trustee trying to recover from me?
The trustee claims that the company was run as a fraudulent business. Under bankruptcy law, any payment—to anyone—that was made with the actual intent to defraud other creditors is a “fraudulent transfer,” and the trustee can recover the payment from you. We do not believe that Mack Industries was ever a fraudulent business. The company had financial problems because of problems in the real estate industry. We intend to prove that you did nothing wrong, and that you should not have to pay the trustee anything.
This claim is against my company. Am I on the hook personally for any monetary repayment?
In some circumstances, you might be. The whole point to setting up your business as a corporation or an LLC is to protect your personal finances from the business debt. Depending on how you have handled your business, and how well you separated your business from your own finances, you should be able to keep that protection—but you need legal assistance to make sure this happens.
I provided products or services to Mack Industries and I have receipts. Why do I have to defend myself or my company against claims about these?
The trustee claims that the company was run as a fraudulent business. The question is not whether you provided the actual work or product that you were paid for—if the company made the payment to you as part of a fraudulent scheme, under bankruptcy law the trustee can recover the payment from you. We do not believe that Mack Industries was ever a fraudulent business, and we will defend our clients against the trustee’s claims.
I provided products or services to Mack Industries and I do not have receipts. Is this a problem?
If we can prove that the company was not operated as a fraudulent business, or if we can prove that you had nothing to do with anything improper that the company might have done, it does not matter that you don’t have receipts for the goods or services you provided.
My company has closed. Do I have anything to worry about?
You might. If the trustee gets a judgment against your former company, he can then bring you in on an examination called a “citation,” and force you to provide financial documentation about your business. In some circumstances the court can make you personally liable for your company’s debts. In short, just because your business is closed, you should not ignore the trustee’s complaint.
I am not located in Illinois. Must I travel to participate in court proceedings?
Most likely, yes. Bankruptcy Court is a federal court and can exercise jurisdiction over anyone located anywhere in America. If you have an attorney in Chicago, he or she can attend most court hearings for you.
What about the owners and officers of Mack Industries – what’s happening to them in this matter?
The trustee has spent two years and thousands of dollars investigating all aspects of Mack Industries’ business. The trustee has filed complaints against the owners and officers of Mack Industries as well.
What happens if the named defendant is my ex-spouse or my ex-spouse’s company?
You should not be liable for any claims against your ex-spouse or your ex-spouse’s company. You should provide a copy of the complaint and summons to your ex-spouse. You should also consult with a lawyer so that you are sure you are not liable for the claim. You should treat the matter as seriously as if the claim is against you personally.
What happens if a named defendant is deceased?
If there is a probate case open, give the complaint and summons to the executor or administrator, and let them contact our firm for more information. If there is no probate estate, the heirs are not ordinarily liable for claims against the decedent; but if there was money that was distributed to heirs, the trustee may have a claim to recover some of that money. You should treat the matter as seriously as if the claim is against you personally.
I am seriously ill or I represent the named defendant, who is seriously ill. Is there any way to be excused from this case?
Not really. The trustee will pursue the claim against you without regard to your health. You should have a family member or friend help you in contacting a lawyer to assist you.
What if I have already contacted the trustee?
As long as you have not reached an agreement to pay the trustee a definite amount of money, you can still hire a lawyer to defend against the trustee’s claim. You should not negotiate directly with the trustee or his lawyers without knowing all about your defenses, and it’s important to consult with an attorney to discuss your options.
What will happen next and what deadlines must I be aware of?
The deadline for filing an answer, or other response, to the trustee’s complaint is, technically, 30 days after the case was filed. That is likely in late April, 2019. The court has set a status hearing on May 22, 2019. As a practical matter, in view of the large number of cases filed, if you file a response, and a request to extend time, before May 22, the court should allow you to defend the case. The rules for filing an answer to a complaint in bankruptcy court are very technical, and you should have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer assist you in defending against the trustee’s complaint.