Miami-based bankruptcy firm Genovese, Joblove & Battista has been appointed special counsel to the Unsecured Creditor’s Committee of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The team—led by John Arrastia, John Genovese and Jesus Suarez—will work alongside UCC general counsel Paul Hastings as it pursues claims on behalf of unsecured creditors in Puerto Rico’s more than $100 billion bankruptcy reorganization.
“It feels great to be recognized for our expertise and ability to come into a case like this on very short notice,” said firm partner Genovese. ”The best thing for me is watching the very top quality lawyers handling some of the most complex issues.”
Puerto Rico is the first territory to file for bankruptcy, although it isn’t the first municipality. Detriot’s debt in its 2013 reorganization is estimated at $18 billion. By comparison, Puerto Rico’s debt is estimated at more than $130 billion.
The firm has worked with the UCC on more than 20 previous lawsuits. Its knowledge of the complexities and lack of conflicts was a crucial asset to the seven-person UCC board that appointed the firm, said Genovese. Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy has attracted a host of high-flying firms, including Proskauer Rose, Dentons and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
“There are certain cases Paul Hastings could not pursue,” said Genovese. “We are companion counsel to them doing more select things and pursuing litigation work.”