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Finestone, Benjamin I.

Benjamin I. Finestone

Direct Tel: +1 212-849-7341, Direct Fax: +1 212-849-7100
New York
Tel: +1 212 849 7000 Fax: +1 212 849 7100

Ben Finestone is ranked as a leading New York Bankruptcy/ Restructuring individual by Chambers USA (2013-2023), named a Litigation Star and a National Practice Area Star [Bankruptcy] by Benchmark Litigation (2022-2024), a Leading Bankruptcy and Restructuring Lawyer (esp. Litigation) by LawDragon (2022-23), and has been repeatedly recognized in's “Litigator of the Week” publication, including for trial victories against Citibank and in Sanchez Energy and concerning Alta Mesa Resources. Ben also has been recognized as a “Leading" and "Recommended Lawyer” by Legal 500 (2023), a “Super Lawyer” by New York Metro Super Lawyers (2013-2023), was one of 12 attorneys nationwide named as one of Turnarounds & Workouts’ “Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyers” in 2011, and has received Turnaround Awards by the M&A Advisor in 2013 and 2018.

In Chambers, clients stated:  “he's phenomenal. Everyone is taken aback at how good he is."  Ben is described as "super smart and motivated to find creative ways to make arguments that get good results for clients", “strong under pressure”, as well as “extremely commercial,” possessing a “deft grasp of legal nuance along with a business person’s commercial instinct” and a “unique capacity to distill issues quickly to their core in a way that really enables us to make thoughtful, informed, strategic decisions.” When his clients' interests are threatened, however, Ben is “fearless and thoughtful”, described as "one of the smartest bankruptcy litigators in the business."

Prior to practicing law, Ben was a Certified Public Accountant and was a NASD Registered Representative in equity trading.​

  • Securing dismissal of breach of fiduciary duty claims and fraudulent transfer claims asserted by litigation trustee in two separate adversary proceedings against former sponsor and directors of failed E&P company.  See Dunn v. HPS Investment Partners, LLC (In re Alta Mesa Res., Inc.), 2023 Bankr. LEXIS 570 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Mar. 3, 2023.) and Dunn v. Chappelle (In re Alta Mesa Res., Inc.), 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 2928 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Oct. 13, 2022).
  • Prevailing after trial in post-confirmation litigation awarding 70% of bankruptcy estate and finding that certain liens on oil and gas leases spanning ~110k acres failed the Texas Statute of Conveyances and were avoidable under bankruptcy’s strong-arm powers.  See In re Sanchez Energy Corp., 2023 Bankr. Lexis 1935 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Aug. 3, 2023) and 2021 Bankr. LEXIS 566 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Mar. 9, 2021); see also Sanchez Energy judge unlocks potential value for junior creditors in lien dispute, Maria Chutchian, 3/12/21 REUTERS LEGAL.
  • Trial victory on behalf of Revlon lenders, establishing discharge for value defense after being paid $500 million, par plus accrued, on account of Revlon term loans.  See In re Citibank August 11, 2020 Wire Transfers, No. 20-CV-6539 (JMF), 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28425 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 16, 2021); see also Citibank can't get back $500 million it wired by mistake, judge rules, By Ramishah Maruf, CNN Business, Wed February 17, 2021.
  • Obtaining precedential ruling authorizing Ultra Resources to reject FERC-regulated, inter-state firm transportation pipeline contract and that rejection will not harm the public interest or decrease the supply of natural gas.  See In re Ultra Petroleum Corp., 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 2249 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Aug. 21, 2020).
  • Obtaining ruling, affirmed twice on appeal, that claim for “deemed dividends” was subject to mandatory subordination under section 510(b) of the Bankruptcy Code and entitled to no distribution.  In re LINN Energy, LLC, 936 F.3d 334 (5th Cir. Sep. 3, 2019).
  • Successfully objecting to confirmation of chapter 11 plan which provided for the transfer of mortgage servicing rights “free and clear” of claims and certain defenses of consumer borrowers, with Court holding that the best interests of consumer borrower creditors was not met.  See In re Ditech Holding Corp., Case No. 19-10412 (JLG) (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Aug. 28, 2019).
  • Winning summary judgment, affirmed twice on appeal, that performance bonds may be substituted for cash under Debtors' chapter 11 plan in order to secure plugging and abandonment liabilities regarding offshore oil platforms.  See Beta Operating Co., LLC v. Aera Energy, LLC (In re Mem'l Prod. Partners LP), 581 B.R. 206 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Jan. 19, 2018) aff’d 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186242 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 31, 2018) aff’d 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1523 (5th Cir. Jan. 14, 2020).
  • Winning dispute over first lien intra-creditor agreement, establishing that U.S. Term Lenders were authorized to object in bankruptcy to $150 million claim of certain pari passu secured creditors.  See Central Bank of India v. United States Bank Nat'l Ass’n, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41705 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 14, 2019).
  • Winning complete disallowance of reserve-based lenders’ claims for post-petition interest at the default rate under Berry Petroleum’s confirmed plan of reorganization.  See In re Linn Energy, 2017 WL 5438070 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Nov. 11, 2017) aff’d Case No. 18-40443 (5th Cir. June 14, 2019). 
  • Winning judgment on the pleadings concerning $185 million cash reserve for UMB Bank as trustee for certificate holders in failed airplane securitization vehicle. See UMB Bank, N.A. v. Airplanes Ltd., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81300 (S.D.N.Y. May 26, 2017); see also "Plane Speaking Judge Rips Aircraft Firm's Stockpile", Law360, 5/26/17.
  • Obtaining decision concluding that the Bankruptcy Code’s safe harbors do not extend to creditors’ fraudulent transfer causes of action pursuant to state law. See In re Physiotherapy Holdings, 2016 Bankr. LEXIS 2810 (Bankr. D. Del. June 20, 2016).
  • Winning recognition of OAS S.A.’s Brazilian plenary bankruptcy case over certain noteholders’ challenge of the foreign representative’s assertion of Brazil as COMI.  See In re OAS S.A., 533 B.R. 83 (Bankr. SDNY 2015); “S.D.N.Y. Bankruptcy Court Grants Chapter 15 Recognition to Large Brazilian Bankruptcy Proceeding”,, 7/22/15; see also “OAS Creditors' BVI Play Raises Judge's Eyebrows”, Law360, 8/18/15.
  • Represented the borrower in connection with the country's record-highest, most expensive residential real property sale and successful recapitalization.
  • Represented the NewPage creditors committee, asserted $2 billion in fraudulent transfer claims arising out of the company’s failed leveraged merger transaction, obtaining a mediated settlement resulting in $30 million in cash recoveries, a waiver of the secured creditors’ $50 million deficiency claim, and establishment of a litigation trust, for the benefit of unsecured creditors.
  • Represented New Stream Secured Capital unsecured creditors committee, imploded the debtors’ pre-packaged chapter 11 plan which threatened to leave unsecured creditors with nominal returns, and negotiated and prosecuted a joint, committee-backed plan which provided US and Cayman investors with $20 million in cash and exponentially greater share of liquidation recoveries.
  • Represented The Colonial BancGroup in disputes with the FDIC and purchasing-and-assuming bank concerning ownership and fraudulent transfer of disputed assets arising out of the largest bank failure of 2009. Resulted in settlement providing in excess of $56 million to CBG.
  • After a 2.5 day hearing, won complete dismissal of over $100 million of claims alleging that our clients breached fiduciary duties in connection with the $1.5 billion sale of iconic, luxury resorts to a Singaporean wealth fund.  See In re MSR Hotels & Resorts, Inc., 2013 WL 5716897 (Bankr. SDNY Oct. 1, 2013); “Bankrupt MSR Trounces Five Mile In $59M Loan Fight,” Law360, 10/1/13; “MSR Judge Tosses Claims Against Paulson Executives,” Bloomberg Brief, 10/4/13.
  • Represented the Sentinel Management Group Liquidation Trust Committee in various matters, including in connection with more than $300 million in equitable subordination and fraudulent transfer claims for the benefit of defrauded customers asserting more than a billion in claims. See “7th Circ. Deals Blow To BNY Mellon In $312M Bankruptcy Row,” Law360, 1/8/16; “U.S. court reverses ruling on Sentinel loan in blow to BNY Mellon,” Reuters, 8/26/13; FCStone must return $15.6 mln to Sentinel bankruptcy trustee,” Reuters, 1/7/13.
  • Represented shareholders of Trident Microsystems, leading an investigation into the conduct of Trident’s controlling shareholder in connection with Trident’s demise, resulting in millions of dollars of incremental value being afforded to TMI’s minority (public) shareholders.
  • Represented Washington Mutual, Inc. in its multi-billion dollar lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase concerning the FDIC-assisted purchase and assumption of WaMu, involving more than $10 billion in alleged preferences and fraudulent transfers and resulting in a settlement in excess of $6 billion.
  • Represented the Advanta liquidation trust in disputes with former directors and officers, resulting in complete disallowance of such executives’ claims asserted in an amount in excess of $60 million.
  • Represented Solutia Inc. in an action for specific performance of a $2 billion exit financing facility, which the banks had refused to fund based on a “market MAC” provision; case settled favorably before closing arguments.
  • Represented the Official Creditors Committee of Sentinel Management Group; negotiated settlement of $300 million inter-creditor dispute incorporated into confirmed Committee chapter 11 plan.
  • Represented Lehman Brothers Inc. in connection with $1.7-billion securitization of substantially all of the revenue-generating assets of Dunkin’ Brands Inc (Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins).
  • New York University School of Law
    (J.D., 2004)
    • Galgay Fellow, 2002
    • Robert McKay Scholar
    • Journal of International Law & Politics:
      • Staff Editor
  • University of Michigan
    (B.B.A., 1997)
  • The State Bar of New York
  • United States District Courts:
    • Southern District of New York
    • Eastern District of New York
  • Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP:
    • Associate, 2004-2006
  • Intern to the Hon. Robert D. Drain:
    • United States Bankruptcy Judge, S.D.N.Y., 2002
  • “Leading Lawyer” by Legal 500, 2023
  • “Recommended Lawyer” by Legal 500, 2013-2020, 2023
  • Ranked in Bankruptcy/ Restructuring, Chambers USA, 2013-2023 and quoted as "very sharp and a great litigator" and "super smart and motivated to find creative ways to make arguments that get good results for clients."
  • Named as a “Super Lawyer” by New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2013-2023
  • Named a New York Metro Super Lawyer, 2022
  • Selected as a LawDragon 500 Leading Bankruptcy and Restructuring Lawyer, 2022, 2023
  • Named a “Litigation Star” and “National Practice Area Star” by Benchmark Litigation, 2022-2024
  • Listed as a Best Lawyer for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Bankruptcy Litigation, Best Lawyers in America, 2020-2024
  • 2016 Latin Lawyer Deal of the Year for OAS Restructuring
  • Turnaround Award Winner by the M&A Advisor, 2013, 2018 
  • Named by Turnarounds & Workouts as among the “Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyers,” 2011 (nationally, from all bankruptcy practitioners under the age of 40)
  • Named as a "Rising Star" by New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2011-2012
  • The Use of Market Evidence to Refute or Establish Insolvency in Fraudulent Conveyance Cases, 11/18/21, 40th Annual Jay L. Westbrook Bankruptcy Conference
  • Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2021: Current Developments, 5/10/21, Practising Law Institute, Bankruptcy Conference
  • Discovery and Litigation, 9/14/18, Hudson Valley Bankruptcy Bar Association, 15th Annual Presentation:  The New Deal For Consumer Bankruptcy
  • Navigating Issues in Fraudulent Transfers, 5/17/18, VALCON 2018
  • Litigation Finance Panel, 11/27/17, 24th Annual Distressed Investing Conference
  • Who’s My Client: The Practice and Ethics of Third Party Financing in Bankruptcy?, 10/09/17, 2017 ABA Program In Conjunction with the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
  • Is Chapter 15 still relevant for distressed Latin American companies?, 6/05/17, LATIN LAWYER – GRR Live 2nd Annual Restructuring Summit, New York, NY
  • Limits on Leverage (Fraudulent Transfer etc.), (Moderator), 4/04/17, THE AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE, Young Scholars Medal Conference, New York, NY
  • Is There Room in the Chapter 11 Ark for Trustees, Examiners, Receivers, and CROs?, 10/10/14, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, 88th Annual Conference, Chicago, IL
  • Bank Holding Company Insolvencies: Is the Grass Greener?, 4/14/11, ABA, Business Bankruptcy Committee, Chapter 11 Subcommittee, Spring Meeting, Boston, MA
  • Member, Bankruptcy Innovation Board, Bloomberg Law
  • Co-President of Federal Bar Counsel - Bankruptcy Litigation Committee
  • Certified Public Accountant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • NASD Registered Representative Equity Trading, Heartland Securities