Judge Donald H. Steckroth (Retired)
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey
Arbitrator & Mediator
Judge Donald H. Steckroth served as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of New Jersey from 2001 – 2015 and, during that period, presided over many of the largest bankruptcy filings in New Jersey covering a broad range of industries, including healthcare, retail, real estate, and telecom.
Notable matters over which Judge Steckroth presided include:
- Hudson Healthcare, Inc., a successful Chapter 11 resulting in the sale of the not-for-profit hospital entity to a for-profit purchaser and the continuation of hospital and health care servicing Hudson County.
- 710 Long Ridge Road Operating Company, II, LLC, a complex confirmed Chapter 11 reorganization involving five senior living facilities and the rejection of collective bargaining agreements.
- Biolitec, Inc., a medical device manufacturer in Chapter 11, sought approval of a structured dismissal which was denied in a written opinion of first impression. In re: Bioltec, Inc. 528 BR 261, 269 (Bankrcy. Ct. NJ 2014). The case was subsequently cited with approval by the United States Supreme Court in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp, 137 S. Ct. 973 (2017) where the Court ruled that a structured dismissal providing for a distribution scheme which, without consent, of the affected parties deviates from the priority rules of the Bankruptcy Code is not allowed.
- Nathan and Miriam Barnert Memorial Hospital Association, dba Barnert Hospital, a Chapter 11 case that when confirmed, provided for a liquidating trust to receive and administer assets remaining after sale of essential hospital services.
- Big M, Inc., dba Mandee’s, Annie Sez, and Afaze stores, involving a Chapter 11 sale of hundreds of stores under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
- Manyfoods, Inc., a successful reorganization sale in the food suppliers industry.
- Zayat Stables, LLC, a Chapter 11 restructuring in the sports and entertainment industries involving a large thoroughbred racing stable, restructuring of indebtedness, and continuation of operations for the equity holder.
- NJ Affordable Homes Corp., the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of New Jersey, involved a liquidation under Chapter 7 affecting thousands of claimants and overseeing complex multi-party litigations effecting hundreds of properties.
- Tarragon Corporation, a confirmed Chapter 11 of a publicly traded real estate developer involving approximately 100 subsidiaries and over $1 billion in debt.
Other notable matters include Best Manufacturing Group LLC, Dots, LLC, Kid Brands, Inc., Monroe Development Corp., Global Outreach S.A., Roseville Senior Living Properties, LLC, Rockaway Bedding, Inc., and Velocita Corp.
Judge Steckroth is a frequent speaker on current bankruptcy and restructuring issues and has been actively involved in the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ), the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American Bar Association, the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, the Turnaround Management Association, the New York Institute of Credit, the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the New Jersey Bar Association Bankruptcy Law Section, the Bankruptcy Inn of Court, and Seton Hall Law School. He served on the NCBJ’s Board of Governors as Third Circuit Governor and has served on the Benefits and Finance Committees of the NCBJ. Prior to joining the Bench, he was appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to serve on the New Jersey Bar Examiners Committee on Character for twelve years and chaired the Committee’s oversight of all out-of-state applicants to the New Jersey Bar.
Before his appointment to the Bench, Judge Steckroth was in private practice with Gibbons, P.C. and its predecessors for twenty-eight years, where he was a partner specializing in bankruptcy law and creditors’ rights.
Since returning to private practice, Judge Steckroth has been actively involved in complex financial matters which include:
- Retention by the State of New Jersey to serve as mediator in the financial crisis in Atlantic City which involves assisting the City’s Emergency Manager and the operating casinos in resolving outstanding tax revenue issues.
- Court appointment in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to mediate an adversary proceeding involving counsel fees dispute among several groups of class action counsel and the allocation of 70+ million dollars held in trust pending resolution.
- Successfully mediated an attorney malpractice action arising out of a prior bankruptcy proceeding.
- Appointment as mediator for a pending adversary proceeding and contested plan confirmation in the health care industry.
- Named Examiner by U.S. Trustee in the Chapter 11 Proceeding in Zucker, Goldberg & Ackerman, L.L.C. (Case No. 15-24585) to investigate and report any and all claims against insiders and related third parties as well as any matters determined to be appropriate by the Examiner. The Examiner’s Report was filed November 8, 2016, and continued as mediator with Debtor and Creditors in structuring joint plan of reorganization.
- Successfully mediated $4.5 million fraudulent conveyance and breach of contract action filed by assignee in assignment for the benefit of creditors proceeding.
- Successfully mediated Chapter 11 Debtor’s claim objection to $4.5 million dollar IRS claim in Chapter 11 Proceeding.
- Successfully mediated a $2.2 million dollar insurance claim in a contested Chapter 11 Adversary Proceeding.
Judge Steckroth earned his B.S. from Seton Hall University and his J.D., with honors, from Seton Hall University School of Law.