Robert J. Labate is an attorney in Holland & Knight’s California and Illinois offices. He is co-chair of the firm’s national Entertainment Law and Sports practice and a member of the national Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights Group. Mr. Labate assists major media companies, performers and production companies with copyright, licensing, financing, content acquisition, production, digital distribution and music issues. He also advises media and entertainment clients regarding advertising, sponsorship and talent agreements as well as use of social media and websites.
Mr. Labate represents creditors and financial institutions in major restructurings and bankruptcy cases around the country, particularly with respect to the energy, technology, transportation and entertainment sectors. He also advises real estate and corporate clients with respect to issues arising in connection with restructuring, bankruptcy and receiverships.
Mr. Labate was an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University School of Law between 2007 and 2014 where he taught both “Corporate Workouts and Restructuring” as well as “The Law of Film and Television Production.” From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Labate was a regular legal contributor to a Chicago-based arts journal named PerformInk, and during that time he wrote more than 50 articles about various entertainment, media and copyright law topics of interest to the creative community.
For five years, Mr. Labate served as chair of the Holland & Knight Chicago office’s Public and Charitable Service Committee, which promotes dozens of pro bono and community service representations and projects in the Chicago metropolitan community. He now supervises Public and Charitable Service activities nationwide for the firm’s Litigation Section.
Recent engagements in connection with Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights Practice include:
- Represented an indenture trustee for $100 million in California pollution control bonds in which trustee also serves as a member of the Unsecured Creditors Committee for the PG&E case pending in the Northern District of California
- Represented a leading Chinese aircraft financing state-owned enterprise (SOE) and its Irish affiliate in an adversary proceeding filed by the trustee that is pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California
- Represented an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) employer and individual executives in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which resulted in entry of a consent decree resolving $1.2 billion in environmental claims in case filed in the Western District of Missouri and represented the first multisite resolution of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) claims, outside of bankruptcy, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Represented the Chinese-owned purchaser of substantially all assets and operations, pursuant to Bankruptcy Code 363, of a solar panel manufacturer and distributor in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California
- Represented the corporate holder of $500 million in environmental remediation claims and led extensive negotiations with a global coal company and the EPA to settle claims against the company and its subsidiary
- Represented a leading publisher of continuing medical education articles and course materials in a discharge and dischargeability action brought against a copyright infringer who sought bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of Indiana
- Represented an Alaskan Indian Nation in resolving, outside of bankruptcy, liquidation of entity claims made against a tribal-owned entity in connection with government contracts
- With a team of Holland & Knight attorneys, prepared and submitted an amici curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz on behalf of six Bankruptcy Law School Professors from Columbia, University of Chicago, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Southern California; on March 1, 2016, the Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on grounds advocated by the Holland & Knight team regarding the appropriate definition of the term “actual fraud” in the context of “strong arm” powers created by the Bankruptcy Code
- Represented the primary lender to producer of more than 60 television series distributed throughout the United States and Canada in connection with the producer’s bankruptcy case filed in Canada under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act
Recent engagements in connection with the Chicago Entertainment and Sports Law Team include: