Derek represents Fortune 1000, local, international and other organizations as lead or Delaware counsel in bankruptcy proceedings and litigation on behalf of debtors, creditors, official and ad hoc committees and transactional case constituents.
Derek regularly works with debtors-in-possession (DIP) and exit financing lenders, as well as outside and inside counsel, turnaround professionals, crisis management firms, and investment and non-investment bank professionals. His recent client representations include AT&T Inc., General Motors Corporation, Quality Care Properties, Philips International, Viacom Inc., TD Bank, and Nortel Networks.
Derek is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. He has made the honor, leadership, and discipline that are the hallmarks of that institution the cornerstones of his professional career. In 2016, he was invited to join the 28th Class of Fellows of the American College of Bankruptcy. In 2018, he was presented the Delaware State Bar Association’s Access to Justice Commitment Award, recognizing his sterling commitment to pro bono work throughout his career. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Caleb R. Layton III Service Award, given by the judges of the U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts for the District of Delaware to an attorney who personifies the qualities of a federal practitioner: legal acumen, professional decorum, and public service. Derek’s Delaware community activities are frequent and diverse ranging from assisting the Delaware Legal Services Community with fundraising activities, to serving as legal counsel for a variety of indigent clients through Delaware Volunteer Legal Services. He chairs the Morris Nichols pro bono committee and sits on the firm’s recruiting committee.
He frequently presents before national and Delaware bar associations, bankruptcy organizations and other business and professional audiences. His client and peer recommendations are numerous and have resulted in his recognition by Chambers USA: Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
Co-counsel to Grupo AeroMéxico, S.A.B. de C.V. and its debtor affiliates in Delaware bankruptcy proceedings.
Lead counsel to New York-based luxury menswear producer and retailer John Varvatos Enterprises, Inc. and certain of its affiliated debtors in Delaware chapter 11 proceedings. Obtained court approved the sale of assets to parent company, whose bid included $76 million of its secured debt as part of the purchase price for the assets.
Co-counsel to Boy Scouts of America and its debtor affiliate in their chapter 11 cases. Founded in 1910 and chartered by an act of Congress in 1916, the BSA is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States and one of the largest Scouting organizations in the world, with approximately 2.2 million registered youth participants and approximately 800,000 adult volunteers.
Serve as chapter 11 trustee appointed in the cases of Tough Mudder Inc. and its debtor affiliate. The debtors develop and host, either directly or through their subsidiaries, endurance event series in which participants compete in various obstacle course races around the world. As chapter 11 trustee, sought, and successfully obtained, approval of a private sale, subject to higher and better bids, of substantially all debtors’ assets on an expedited timeline and less than one month after appointed.
Lead counsel to New England-based restaurateur Papa Gino’s, Inc., and certain of its affiliates, guiding the company through the chapter 11 process and asset sale.
Represented biotechnology company Achaogen in restructuring proceedings. Negotiated the sale of several of the company’s principal assets and continued to work toward the sales of the company’s remaining assets. Won court approval of a $4.5 million sale of intellectual property and distribution rights related to its plazomicin antibiotic drug, and in May 2020 the court approved its liquidation plan.
Administrative agent for certain first lien lenders in Hertz Chapter 11 proceedings. Also represents secured party on the debtors’ non-vehicle assets with prepetition secured claims of approximately $1.813 billion.
Liquidating trustee to drug developer, Inspirion Delivery Sciences LLC. Successfully obtained approval to sell all assets for $4 million in cash, and up to $10 million in future payments for royalties on abuse-deterrent opioids.
Lead counsel to THG Holdings LLC and its affiliated debtors in Delaware chapter 11 proceedings, defeating opposition’s demand for a $5.2 million return in post-petition reimbursement payments and achieving confirmation of the chapter 11 plans.
Co-counsel to discount retailer, Fred’s Inc., in Delaware chapter 11 proceedings. On the first day of the case, successfully achieved approval of a $35 million chapter 11 loan as well as permission to complete millions worth of asset sales as part of Fred’s Inc.’s liquidation efforts.
Represented a group of major auto manufacturers in TK Holdings’ chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, involving the largest auto safety recall in U.S. history.
Represented fashion start up Tamara Mellon Brand, LLC as debtors’ counsel in a pre-packaged plan of reorganization to achieve a new capital infusion from a large venture capital fund. Prevailed in contested confirmation hearing against old equity owners.
Co-counsel to Nortel Networks Inc. and certain U.S. affiliates in complex cross-border chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Successfully achieved confirmation of a plan to implement a global settlement that included allocating the unprecedented $7.3 billion of escrowed sale proceeds generated from the Nortel asset and IP sales between Nortel entities in the United States, Canada and Europe, which allocation was the subject of a 21-day joint trial in U.S. and Canadian courts.
Co-counsel to certain equity sponsors and various affiliates of Texas power company, Energy Future Holdings Corp., in complex contested reorganization and substantial discovery matters.
Co-counsel to the official committee of unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings for Boomerang Tube LLC. The committee successfully opposed the debtors’ and secured lenders’ proposed plan of reorganization that contemplated an unreasonably low valuation that would have left creditors with zero recovery. Based on the committee’s opposition, the bankruptcy court rejected the debtors’ and lenders’ valuation, ultimately resulting in a distribution to creditors as part of a plan settlement.
Represented Fifth Street Finance Corp. as pre-petition and debtor-in-possession lender in bankruptcy proceedings for software services company AmCad Holdings, LLC.
Co-counsel to oil tanker Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. (OSG) in Delaware chapter 11 proceedings. Successfully reached a $1.5 billion rights offering to pay creditors in full.
News & Insights
- Speaking Engagement, 04.21.2021
The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) hosts its Virtual Annual Spring Meeting from April 12-22, 2021.
- Firm News, 08.20.2020
Thirty-one Morris Nichols attorneys were recognized in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 67,000 eligible attorneys.
- Firm News, 05.28.2020
- Chambers USA 2020 Ranks Morris Nichols Band 1 in Four Delaware Practices; 24 Morris Nichols Attorneys Recognized Among Leading Delaware PractitionersFirm News, 04.23.2020
- Firm News, 08.15.2019
Wilmington, DE (August 15, 2019) - Thirty-five Morris Nichols attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The results are based on peer-review evaluations from more than 94,000 eligible attorneys.
- Firm News, 06.06.2019
Wilmington, DE (June 6, 2019) - IFLR United States - The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Firms again ranked Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP in two Delaware tables ranking the top M&A law firms and the leading restructuring and insolvency law firms.
- Speaking Engagement, Las Vegas, Nevada, 02.27.2019
- Delaware State Bar Association Recognizes Derek Abbott with Distinguished Access to Justice Commitment AwardFirm News, 10.24.2018
Wilmington, DE (October 24, 2018) - Today, Derek C. Abbott was presented the Commitment Award at the 2018 Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Awards. The honor is given by the Delaware State Bar Association to a member of the Bar who has demonstrated a sterling commitment to pro bono work throughout his or her career by dedicating time and energy to the support and provision of legal services.
- IFLR1000 United States Guide Ranks Morris Nichols in Top Delaware Bands for Financial and Corporate Law FirmsFirm News, 09.17.2018
Wilmington, DE (September 17, 2018) - The 2018 edition of IFLR United States - The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Firms has been released. Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP appears at the top of the two Delaware tables ranking the leading M&A law firms and the leading restructuring and insolvency law firms.
- Firm News, 09.14.2018
Wilmington, DE (September 14, 2018) - A pro bono team from Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP has successfully appealed a veteran’s claim for disability benefits, securing a compensation award of more than $250,000 for past-due benefits.
- Speaking Engagement, Washington, DC, 04.19.2018 Through 04.22.2018
- Speaking Engagement, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 11.02.2017
- Speaking Engagement, Wilmington, Delaware, 10.19.2017
- Firm News, 11.10.2016
Wilmington, DE (November 10, 2016) - The American College of Bankruptcy announced today that Morris Nichols partner Derek Abbott will be inducted as a Fellow of the 28th Class of the College on March 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
- Speaking Engagement, Greensboro, Georgia, 09.29.2016 Through 09.30.2016
- Speaking Engagement, Wilmington, Delaware, 06.17.2016
- Speaking Engagement, Washington, DC, 04.14.2016 Through 04.17.2016
- Speaking Engagement, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 11.05.2015
- Speaking Engagement, Scottsdale, Arizona, 10.05.2015 Through 10.07.2015
- Article, American Bankruptcy Trustee Journal, Spring 2015
Appearing in the Summer 2015 edition, the article outlines a set of “best practices” for understanding and complying with an increasingly complex array of statutes, federal and local rules, U.S. Trustee guidelines, fee auditor requirements, and case-specific orders when filing fee applications.
- Speaking Engagement, Wilmington, Delaware, 12.10.2014
- Speaking Engagement, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 11.06.2014
- Firm News, 04.28.2014
- Speaking Engagement, Washington, DC, 04.24.2014 Through 04.27.2014
- Las Vegas, NV, 09.13.2012
- Atlantic City, NJ, 06.13.2012
- Atlantic City, NJ, 06.09.2011
Honors & Recognitions
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Ranked Band 1 in Delaware for bankruptcy/restructuring (2012-2020), with sources describing him as “very skilled, careful, charismatic and an excellent choice to run a complicated Chapter 11 case.”
IFLR1000 United States, Selected as a leading Delaware lawyer in the guide to financial and corporate law firms (2018-2019)
The Best Lawyers in America, Listed in the bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights / insolvency and reorganization category (2007-2021); Designated “Lawyer of the Year” in various Delaware categories (2010, 2017-2021)
Delaware Super Lawyers, Selected by his peers for inclusion for work in bankruptcy: business (2008-2020)
Lawdragon 500, Selected to inaugural guide of leading U.S. bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers (2020)
Who’s Who Legal, Listed among top restructuring and insolvency practitioners (2014-2019)
Professional & Civic
American Bankruptcy Institute
American Bar Association (Business Law (Committee on Business Bankruptcy) and Litigation Sections)
American College of Bankruptcy (Fellow)
Delaware State Bar Association (Bankruptcy Section (Chapter 11 Committee) and Veterans Committee)
National Association of Corporate Directors
Turnaround Management Association
New Castle County Combined Campaign for Justice (Former General Chair)
University of North Carolina School of Law, JD, with honors, 1995, North Carolina Law Review (Staff Member, 1993-1994 and Publication Editor, 1994-1995)
United States Military Academy, BS, 1987
- Delaware, 1995
- US District Court for the District of Delaware
- US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit