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Michael J. Riela

Phone: 212-508-6773

Attorneys » R » Michael J Riela

Michael J. Riela


Michael has over 15 years of experience advising clients in complex restructuring, distressed M&A, financing, and bankruptcy-related litigation matters. He also has significant experience in the data privacy and cybersecurity fields. Michael is a frequent author and speaker in these areas. The “Publications” and “Events” tabs highlight many of Michael’s recent articles and speaking engagements.

Creditors’ Rights & Business Reorganization:

Michael has in-depth experience in advising clients on corporate and real estate bankruptcies, workouts, Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, debtor-in-possession (DIP) and bankruptcy exit loan facilities, secondary market trading of distressed debt and trade claims, Section 363 sales and bankruptcy retention and fee agreements and disputes.

Michael’s clients include distressed companies, banks, indenture trustees, hedge funds, private equity firms, landlords, professional services firms, trade creditors, contract counterparties and shareholders.

The “Case Studies” tab lists a number of Michael’s most significant restructuring, debt financing, distressed M&A and bankruptcy litigation engagements.

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy:

Michael assists clients identify, evaluate and manage risks associated with their privacy and data security practices. He advises clients on various U.S. federal and state privacy and data security laws and rules, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (and the rules promulgated by the SEC and other regulators), the New York State Department of Financial Services cybersecurity regulation, and data security breach notification laws. Michael also advises clients in the US and overseas with respect to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and with respect to cross-border data transfers.

Michael helps clients evaluate their data security risks, and prepares and helps clients implement security documentation, including written information security programs, systems access policies and incident response plans. After a data breach occurs, Michael assists clients in addressing legal, operational and reputational risks arising from the breach. For example, Michael guides the clients’ incident response, advises them on their duties under applicable security breach notification laws, and defends clients in breach-related regulatory investigations and litigation.

Michael is a Certified Information Privacy Professional / United States Private Sector (CIPP/US) and a Certified Information Privacy Professional / Europe (CIPP/E), which are designations awarded by The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Significant Matters

  • Lender groups, indenture trustees and administrative agents in major Chapter 11 cases and out-of-court workouts, including:
    • Atrium Corporation
    • Berkline/Benchcraft, LLC
    • Buffets Inc.
    • Delta Air Lines Inc.
    • Extended Stay Inc.
    • J.L. French Automotive Castings, Inc.
    • Legends Gaming LLC
    • Maher Terminals LLC
    • Nortel Networks Inc.
    • Pacific Energy Resources Ltd.
    • Premier International Holdings Inc.
    • Siméus Foods International, Inc.
  • Lenders in connection with debtor-in-possession (DIP) and exit loan facilities.
  • Various bank and non-bank financial institutions as secured lenders in bankruptcies and state law remedies involving defaulted equipment financing arrangements.
  • Purchasers of assets in “Section 363” sales and out-of-court sales, including purchasers of assets from the following sellers:
    • Evergreen Solar, Inc.
    • Sonic Telecommunications International, Ltd.
    • Urban Communicators PCS Limited Partnership
    • U.S. Aggregates, Inc.
    • Vectrix Corporation
  • Secured lenders in connection with foreclosure actions and in connection with credit-bidding for their collateral.
  • Defendants in preference and fraudulent transfer actions in jurisdictions throughout the United States, including actions commenced by the SIPA trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
  • The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Delphi Corporation et al. Chapter 11 cases.
  • Freedom Communications Holdings, Inc. and certain of its affiliates as debtors in their Chapter 11 cases, involving over $700 million of funded debt and other liabilities.
  • Solutia Inc. and certain of its affiliates as debtors in their Chapter 11 cases that ultimately restructured more than $3 billion of funded debt and other obligations, including environmental, pension, litigation and indemnification issues.
  • FLAG Telecom Holdings Limited and certain of its affiliates as debtors in their Chapter 11 cases.
  • Servicers and master servicers in dozens of Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 cases involving defunct residential mortgage originators.
  • The official liquidator of Amerindo Internet Growth Fund Ltd. in a Chapter 15 proceeding.
  • Professional services firms in bankruptcy retention and fee litigation matters in Chapter 11 cases throughout the United States.

Areas of Focus:

  • Creditors' Rights
  • Bankruptcy Reorganizations and Liquidations
  • Distressed M&A Transactions
  • Debtor-in-Procession (DIP) and Exit Loan Financing
  • Workouts
  • Bankruptcy Litigation
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy



  • University of California at Los Angeles (Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics and Minor in Accounting 1998)

Law School:

  • University of Michigan Law School (JD 2001)

Prior Affiliations:

  • Vedder Price P.C.
  • Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP



  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Association for Corporate Growth
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • New York City Bar Association (Past Member of the Standing Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization until)
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Turnaround Management Association

Bar Admissions:

  • State of New York
  • State of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York and District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the Second and Third Circuits

Award Recognition:

  • Rising Stars - Super Lawyers: 2016
  • NY Metro Super Lawyers: 2018
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