Adam M. Back
Member , Lexington KY
Adam is a Member in Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Lexington office where he serves a wide spectrum of clients through the Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring, Business Litigation, and Appellate practice groups. He has prominent experience in the energy, retail, agricultural, healthcare, financial services, and mining industries where he has represented creditors, debtors, executives, lenders, and others.
Adam has advised clients in complex corporate restructurings and bankruptcies, including cases that stand as legal firsts. He represented a bank holding company in its Chapter 11 proceeding resulting in the first Section 363 sale of bank stock in Kentucky. He was also part of an SKO team that represented a large secured creditor in one of the first Chapter 9 cases in the state, and served as the court-appointed Chapter 11 Trustee in a healthcare-provider bankruptcy that resulted in a confirmed plan of reorganization. Additionally, Adam advised a variety of creditors in some of the nation’s largest bankruptcy cases over the last several years. . Recently, Adam represented the purchaser of a Pennsylvania hospital via a Section 363 sale. He also has substantial bankruptcy litigation experience, including successfully litigating and resolving numerous adversary actions, including preference and other Chapter 5 actions
Adam has acted as lead counsel in significant commercial litigation matters in Kentucky state courts and federal courts inside and outside of Kentucky. He also has notable experience in appellate courts, including successfully arguing before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Adam has earned professional recognitions such as 2022 Best Lawyers®, Lawyer of the Year and 2023 Kentucky Super Lawyers® Honoree . He has shared his expertise in articles published in the ABI Journal and Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice and seminars sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute, the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Bar Association, and other organizations. Adam is also on the advisory board for the ABI Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop and the steering committee for the Judge Joe Lee Bankruptcy Institute.
In the community, Adam currently serves as Vice President for the board of the Fayette County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Fayette County Bar Association. He was also elected Secretary for the board of directors for Canopy, a nonprofit working to create a more vibrant Kentucky economy through the growth and promotion of Kentucky businesses that positively impact their communities,
Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring: Adam focuses his practice on bankruptcy matters, non-bankruptcy workouts, creditors’ rights, and distressed transactions. He has represented major secured lenders, unsecured creditors, vendors, debtors, lessors, and defendants in adversary proceedings in cases before U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in Kentucky, Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Business Litigation: For businesses and professionals throughout Kentucky, Adam counsels clients tactically through every phase of a dispute, from investigations to preliminary negotiations to litigation. His extensive background before includes success in achieving favorable results for a variety of clients.
Appellate: Adam has been the primary author of briefs before state and federal courts in matters involving substantive consolidation in bankruptcy matters, reverse veil piercing, mechanics liens, and other issues. He has successfully argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Additionally, Adam has consulted on a variety of other appellate matters.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Kentucky
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky
Various pro hac vice admissions
Professional & Community Activities
Fayette County Bar Foundation, Board of Directors, 2015 – present; Vice President, 2022 – present; Governance Committee Co-Chair, 2018 – 2021
Canopy Kentucky, Board of Directors and Secretary, 2022 – present
American Bankruptcy Institute Southeastern Bankruptcy Workshop Advisory Board, 2022 – present
Judge Joe Lee Bankruptcy Institute Steering Committee, 2020 – present
Kentucky Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, 2005-present
American Bar Association
University You, Inc., Board of Directors, 2014-2015
Commerce Lexington Leadership Lexington Youth, Steering Committee, 2014-2017
Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass, Financial Literacy Instructor, 2012
United Way of the Bluegrass, Community Building Cabinet, member, 2008-2010
United Way of the Bluegrass, Fayette County Fund Distribution Team, member, 2008-2010
- American College of Bankruptcy Fellow
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Best Lawyers® 2022 Litigation – Bankruptcy “Lawyer of the Year” in Lexington
- The Best Lawyers in America®, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor
- Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, 2016 – present
- The Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation — Bankruptcy, 2017 – present
- The Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, 2019 – present
- Kentucky Super Lawyers® Honoree, 2021 – 2023
- Creditors’ Rights Attorney of the Year in Kentucky, Corporate INTL Magazine
- Global Award, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019
- Leadership Lexington, Class of 2014
- Host of SKO Unmuted Podcast, 2021 – present
- UCC Article 12: Controllable Electronic Records (CER) (panel discussion), ABILive Webinar Series – ABI Commercial and Regulatory Law Committee, 2023
- Ethics and Artificial Intelligence (panel discussion), ABI Midwest Regional Bankruptcy Seminar, 2023
- Chapter 11 Practice Issues, co-presenter with Hon. Judge Marvin Isgur, U.S. Bankruptcy Court S.D. Tex, 21st Biennial Judge Joe Lee Bankruptcy Institute, University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, 2023
- Bankruptcy Cybersecurity & Legal Ethics, 20th Biennial Judge Joe Lee Bankruptcy Institute, University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, 2021
- Insolvency and Workout Update for Bank Counsel, co-presenter with Timothy R. Wiseman, 41st Annual Conference on Legal Issues for Financial Institutions, University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, 2021
- Bankruptcy Law and Related Legal Topics, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Grower Education and Leadership Class, 2017
- Healthcare Restructuring Issues (panel discussion), ABI Midwest Regional Bankruptcy Seminar, 2017
- Farmers Capital Holding Company, Business Ethics Seminar, co-presenter with Erica Galyon, Farmers Capital Bank Corporation, 2014
- The Absolute Priority Rule in Individual Chapter 11 Cases: Recent Developments and Emerging Trends, co-presenter with Jessica Haurylko, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC, Bankruptcy CLE, Fayette County Bar Association Bankruptcy Law Section, 2013
- Bankruptcy Law Basics for Young Lawyers, co-presenter with Jessica Newman, Forcht Bank, Administrative Law Basics, Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, 2012
- Handling the Collection Case: The Creditor’s Viewpoint, Collection Law Conference, University of Kentucky Office of Continuing Legal Education, 2012
- Collection Law & The Top 10 FDCPA Traps, 30th Annual Conference on Legal Issues for Financial Institutions, University of Kentucky Office of Continuing Legal Education, 2010
- The Impact of Bankruptcy on Collections; Avoiding Ethical Tangles in Collections, Collection Law from Start to Finish, National Business Institute, 2010
- Overview of Bankruptcy Chapters; Creditors’ Rights and Issues in Bankruptcy; A Trustee’s Tools in Bankruptcy, Judgement Enforcement in Kentucky, Lorman Education Services, 2008
- SKO Hemp Seminar, Oct. 29, 2019
Successful Defense of Veil-Piercing Claim
Spradlin v. Beads & Steeds Inns, LLC (In re Howland), 2017 WL 24750; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 222, 2017 WL 24750 (6th Cir. 2017) – Adam Back successfully briefed and argued on behalf of the Appellee before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The resulting opinion affirmed judgment on the pleadings in favor of his client and an order denying the trustee’s motion to amend her complaint to include a substantive consolidation claim. Adam argued that reverse veil piercing could not be utilized by a Chapter 7 trustee to permit fraudulent conveyance claims under the Bankruptcy Code and Kentucky law based on a transfer made by an entity wholly owned by the debtors. He also maintained that the trustee could not rely on substantive consolidation to merge the assets and liabilities of the debtors and their wholly owned, non-debtor entity. The Sixth Circuit affirmed both bankruptcy court decisions—516 B.R. 163 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2014) and 518 B.R. 408 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. 2014)—which were also affirmed by the district court—2016 WL 3176649; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74830 (E.D. Ky. 2016).
In re James River Coal Company
Lead Case No. 14-31848, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia – Adam Back advised a member of the unsecured creditors committee and a landlord in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in 2015. Additionally, Adam negotiated a walk-away deal for a client in a $467,000 preference action.
In re Armstrong Energy, Inc.
Lead Case No. 17-47541-659, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern Division of Missouri – Adam Back and Lea Goff represented Debtor’s largest customer concerning complex supply contract assumption and rejection issues in Chapter 11 sale of assets.
In re Adair County Hospital District
Case No. 13-10939, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Kentucky – Adam Back worked with George Smith and Emily Pagorski in the representation of the largest secured creditor in one of the first Chapter 9 cases filed in Kentucky.
In re Financial Holdings, Inc.
Case No. 15-51187, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky – Adam Back led a Stoll Keenon Ogden team representing a bank holding company in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the first of its kind in Kentucky. The ownership of the bank was successfully sold via a Section 363 sale which allowed the bank to continue operations.
Fed. Ins. Co. et al. v. Woods (In re Woods)
558 B.R. 164 (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2016) – In a bankruptcy adversary proceeding, Adam Back obtained summary judgment as to liability and nondischargeability under Section 523(a)(6)—the discharge exception for willful and malicious injury to property—due to debtor’s theft from his employer. After entry of summary judgment, the parties agreed to a judgment amount of $996,200 in favor of Adam’s clients.
In re Toys “R” Us, Inc.
Lead Case No. 17-34665, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia – Represented IT service provider regarding its master service agreement with certain of the debtors and the continuation of critical services post-petition.
J.S. et al. v. Laurel County Board of Education et al
Case No. 6:16-cv-00309, United States District for the Eastern District of Kentucky – Adam Back and Dana Howard represented a homeless middle-school student who was denied the opportunity to play for his school’s basketball team based solely on a school policy that prohibited students from participating in athletics unless the students’ parents live in the district. The plaintiff resided with temporary guardians and was deemed “homeless” under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. After several unsuccessful attempts to convince school officials that the policy was in direct conflict with the McKinney-Vento Act, Adam and Dana filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The parties resolved the dispute within a few days, and the plaintiff joined his teammates on the court. As part of the settlement, the district agreed to change its policy to comply with the McKinney-Vento Act and pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees. The case was dismissed by agreement.
In re Red River Healthcare, LLC et al.
Lead Case No. 15-51438, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky – Adam was appointed to serve as the Chapter 11 Trustee for a group of rural healthcare providers facing significant federal, state, and local tax liabilities along with Medicaid reimbursement issues. He successfully oversaw the operation of the clinics while negotiating with key creditors and stakeholders. Ultimately, he proposed plans of reorganization for each of the five debtors that were approved by the Court.
In re Whitesburg Realty, LLC
Case No. 16-50721, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky – Adam Back and Jessica Middendorf represented the largest secured creditor ($4.22 million claim) in a Chapter 11 single asset real estate case. Adam first-chaired the plan confirmation hearing. The court denied confirmation based on the artificial impairment of an unsecured creditor claim held by the debtor’s former law firm, and the bankruptcy case was dismissed.
In re Rosenbaum Feeder Cattle, LLC et al.
Lead Case No. 17-70963, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia – Adam Back, Lea Goff, and Tim Wiseman represented debtors, 4th-generation family farmers, in a successful Chapter 11 reorganization involving a dispute with a secured lender owed over $5 million in debt.
Southern Indust., LLC v. Maxine, LLC
Southern Indust., LLC v. Maxine, LLC, 2009 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 996 (Ky. Ct. App. Nov. 25, 2009). Successfully argued for affirmation of order finding that a mechanics lien on commercial landlord’s property for work done on tenant’s behalf was not enforceable.
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