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James P. Chou

Partner
T: (212) 239-2000 Ext. 523
F: (212) 239-7277
E: jchou@moritthock.com

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James P. Chou is a partner in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group and a co-chair of the firm’s COVID Litigation Task Force. He is resident in the firm’s Manhattan office.

A seasoned trial lawyer and fierce advocate, Mr. Chou has a broad range of experience in litigating all manner of complex commercial and business litigation in state and federal courts and other tribunals. His clients have included hedge funds, private equity firms, independent investment banks, real estate developers, manufacturers and distributors of consumer products, and companies in the food and beverage industry. As a co-chair of the Firm’s COVID Litigation Task Force, he oversees the Firm’s primary resource for clients considering or facing litigation arising from COVID-19-related issues and provides thought leadership on the evolving legal landscape as a result of the pandemic. Mr. Chou also serves as outside general counsel for several middle market companies who regularly seek his advice in navigating thorny legal issues and requirements.

For over two decades, Mr. Chou has litigated and handled bankruptcy-related matters primarily on behalf of formal and ad hoc creditor and bondholder committees in high profile chapter 11 cases.  Such matters have included valuation disputes, federal and state law fraudulent conveyance claims, preferences claims, challenges to involuntary petitions, and post-emergence litigation. Most recently, Mr. Chou was engaged to serve as special conflicts counsel for the Litigation Designees of Sears Holdings Co. to investigate and potentially bring constructive fraudulent conveyance claims against Sears’ public shareholders. He also recently settled constructive fraudulent conveyance claims against several affiliated investment funds brought by the Litigation Trustee of Boston Generating. Additionally, Mr. Chou recently represented and counseled the principal of a high-tech company in connection with a multi-faceted workout of its debt structure, which involved an assignment for the benefit of creditors, an accompanying sale of assets to the firm’s private equity investor, and subsequent litigation against certain chapter 7 petitioning creditors.

Representative bankruptcy court matters include representation of:

  • The Indenture Trustee of junior secured notes of Residential Capital LLC in an adversary proceeding concerning, among other things, the scope of all-assets security interests under the relevant Notes Security Agreements.
  • Creditors committee of Overseas Shipping Group in a post-emergence dispute over the availability of interest on overdue interest under the relevant bond indenture and secured note.
  • Noteholders in bringing multi-district state law fraudulent conveyance claims against shareholders of the Tribune Company.
  • The Claims Agent of Reorganized Spansion Inc. in an adversary proceeding brought by its former Japanese subsidiary asserting a $1 billion claim for contractual rejection damages.
  • Investment fund-petitioning creditors in defending against a civil RICO action brought by the former CEO of Virgin Islands Telephone Co. and its affiliated debtors.
  • The Informal Committee of Senior Secured Noteholders of Weirton Steel in a dispute over the valuation of the Debtor and a fire sale of assets to an outsider bidder.

Representative commercial litigation matters include representation of:

  • Limited partners in an individual and derivative action against an investment fund’s General Partner and its principals, asserting fraud and contract-based claims relating to misrepresentations concerning an investment opportunity involving a $5.6 billion portfolio of risky, underperforming residential mortgage backed securities held by three CDO trusts.
  • Private equity investors in a suit against the former manager of a real estate investment fund for breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties and fraud in connection with excessive and concocted management fees.
  • A web-based fintech company in a bet-the-company litigation commenced by a global financial and information services company asserting misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of restrictive covenants by former employees.
  • A multi-generational family-owned importer and distributor of specialty alcohol beverage products in a trade secrets and corporate espionage case against the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign multinational specialty foods and beverage conglomerate.
  • The managing member of a real estate limited liability company in a breach of fiduciary duty action commenced by minority members in a dispute over the sale of a 5th Avenue building and a questionable complex, multi-step 1031 exchange through newly-formed exchange LLCs.
  • A globally renowned architect in connection with employment litigation commenced by former home care aides alleging misclassification as independent contractors and wage and hour violations.
  • A global tire manufacturer against its insurance carrier in a factually complex dispute over the failure to cover a loss under an all-risk ocean cargo policy.

In addition to his commercial litigation practice, Mr. Chou serves as a court-appointed special referee to adjudicate discovery disputes and is certified by the New York State Office of Court Administration to serve as a court-appointed receiver.

Prior to joining MHH, Mr. Chou was a commercial litigator in the Manhattan office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Education

Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. 1996
Member, Journal of Legal Ethics
New York University B.A., magna cum laude 1993
Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

Mr. Chou is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.  He is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits, the United States Supreme Court, and the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

Affiliations

Mr. Chou is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Council on Judicial Administration and was one of the authors of Judicial Selection Methods in the State of New York: A Guide to Understanding and Getting Involved in the Selection Process. He has also previously served on the City Bar’s Federal Courts Committee and Minorities in the Courts Committee, and chaired the Manhattan Democratic Party’s Independent Judicial Screening Panel for Civil Court and Surrogate’s Court positions. Mr. Chou’s interest in judicial selection dates back to his work in Lopez-Torres v. New York State Board of Elections, defending against a First Amendment challenge to the state’s judicial convention system—the method by which New York State’s political parties nominate their candidates for judgeships in the state’s court of general jurisdiction. Mr. Chou was a principal trial attorney in a multi-week trial and was integrally involved in appeals to the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court, which rendered a unanimous decision finding the convention system constitutional.

Mr. Chou is a passionate proponent of diversity in the legal profession and chairs the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He is a past president of the Asian American Bar Association of New York, for which he led the search to hire its first full time Executive Director, and currently serves as a member of its Advisory Committee and Judiciary Committee. He is also a member of the Founders Circle of the Don H. Liu Scholarship Program, which seeks to identify and cultivate future Asian American leaders of the legal profession. From 2007-2009, Mr. Chou served on the Board of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association as its Northeast Regional Governor. Mr. Chou has spoken on several panels on the diversity issues, including these issues as they relate to judicial selection.

Recognitions

2008-Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

 

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