Susan Freeman is a partner who concentrates her practice on business bankruptcy and on appeals of all kinds. She is the only lawyer invited to membership (and leadership) in both the American College of Bankruptcy and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Susan has briefed and argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and she is frequently invited to present materials and speak at seminars in Arizona and nationally.
Susan is certified by the Arizona State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in bankruptcy law. With experience serving as individual counsel and as co-counsel, she helps in all aspects of business bankruptcy cases. From trustees to secured lenders to asset purchasers, Susan has represented a range of clients, including:
- Purchasers of assets, including Pivotal Global Capacity as acquirer of a telecommunications and logistics business in the Global Capacity Chapter 11 case in Delaware, and James Balsillie and PSE Sports & Entertainment as proposed buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes NHL hockey team in its Chapter 11 case in Phoenix
- Indenture Trustees, including Wells Fargo Bank as Indenture Trustee for $450 million of senior industrial revenue bondholders, the principal secured creditors in the Las Vegas Monorail Chapter 11 case in Las Vegas, and also as Indenture Trustee for $75 million of Community Facilities District bondholders in the SunCor Development Company Chapter 11 cases
- Litigants in Chapter 11 disputes, including Neil Gaiman in his copyright claims against Todd McFarlane Productions
- Creditors Committees, including in the USA Commercial Mortgage case in Las Vegas and the Eurofresh and MicroAge cases in Phoenix
- Secured creditors, including the principal lender owed $9.7 million by a sports memorabilia Chapter 11 debtor, CDC Mortgage Capital owed $20.5 million by a shopping center Chapter 11 debtor, $486 million of noteholders and bank lenders in the Crown Pacific Chapter 11 cases, and a life insurance company owed over $150 million in the Chapter 11 cases filed by 51 Trammell Crow entities
- Debtor-in-possession lenders, including Pivotal Finance, LLC in the Utah 7000 cases in Salt Lake City (also the equity owner/management company)
- Debtors-in-possession including in the A-Title case of the largest Prudential Real Estate franchisee brokerage company in Las Vegas, and the All Star Gas multi-state propane company, in both of which successful reorganization plans were confirmed, and Mondrian TTL, LLC, where disputes between the owner of an apartment complex and its principal creditor were satisfactorily settled
- Trustees and Liquidating Trustees, including the Liquidating Trustees in the USA Commercial Mortgage case in Las Vegas and the Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt bankruptcy cases in Dallas. Ms. Freeman personally served as the Liquidating Trustee in the Oregon Arena Corporation Chapter 11 case in Portland
- Aircraft lessors and secured lenders in airline bankruptcy cases, having represented 14 aircraft financiers in the America West Airlines Chapter 11 case in Arizona and aircraft lessors in the Great American Airways Chapter 11 case in Nevada and the Western Pacific Airlines case in Colorado, where she took the lead role in appeals of Code section 1110 rulings, and CIT, Boullioun and Sunrock in the National Airlines case in Nevada
Susan has also served as the mediator in complex bankruptcy disputes and as an expert witness on behalf of professionals or trustees in Chapter 11 cases, including disputes over professionals’ actions and qualifications.
All Types of Civil Appeals
In the area of appeals, Susan has briefed over 300 appeals and argued over 100 of them, primarily in Arizona appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, but also in other jurisdictions across the country. She is listed as counsel of record in over 150 reported decisions, including complex bankruptcy cases, commercial, tort, ERISA, tax and employment cases. Some of those appellate cases include:
- Metzler v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Co., 235 Ariz. 141, 239 P.3d 1043 (2014); oral argument may be viewed at http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1423
- In re ProAlert, LLC, 314 B.R. 436 (9th Cir. BAP 2004)
- Gunnell v. Arizona Public Service Co., 202 Ariz. 388, 46 P.3d 399 (2002)
- Jinro America Inc. v. Secure Invs., 266 F.3d 993 (9th Cir. 2001)
Susan often assists counsel from other firms who were responsible for litigation at the trial level, and has presented the views of many entities as amicus curiae. She has served as a judge pro tem on the Arizona Court of Appeals and a faculty member of the Arizona and National Appellate Practice Institutes. In addition, Susan has assisted clients by observing and advising other lawyers during trial to present and preserve arguments for potential appeals.
U.S. Supreme Court Experience
Combining her expertise in appeals and bankruptcy, Susan represented prominent law professors as amici in presenting persuasive arguments to the Supreme Court in the Hood and Katz cases concerning sovereign immunity in bankruptcy. She petitioned for certiorari, briefed and argued Hall v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 1882 (2012).
- Maricopa County Bar Association - Hall of Fame
- The Best Lawyers in America - 2012, 2015 "Lawyer of the Year" Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; 2013 "Lawyer of the Year" Bankruptcy Litigation - Appellate Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law, Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and Bankruptcy Litigation, 1989-2017
- Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2009, 2010
- Southwest Super Lawyers - Top 50 in Arizona; 2013, 2015 Top 25 Female Attorney - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights, 2007-2016
- Martindale-Hubbell - "AV/Preeminent Attorney" Rating
- John P. Frank Advocate for Justice Award - Commitment to pro bono service
- Benchmark Litigation - 2014 "Local Litigation Star" in Arizona - 2012 Top 250 Women in Litigation, 2012, 2014, 2016
- AZ Business Magazine - Top 100 Lawyers - Bankruptcy, 2010, 2016
- Lawdragon - Top 3000 in the United States, 2010
- New York University School of Law - Root-Tilden Scholar
- Mount Holyoke College - Sarah Williston Scholar