Steven Werth


Steven Werth has represented debtors and creditors in bankruptcy matters for over two decades. He has worked with individuals and companies in industries ranging from entertainment to janitorial services and manufacturing, regularly representing creditors’ committees and small business debtors in Chapter 11 matters.

Steven has particular expertise in negotiating landlord-tenant disputes that arise in the bankruptcy process, as well as addressing land-use issues and restrictive covenants related to golf course bankruptcies. He regularly navigates foreclosure actions on behalf of real property owners, in relation to office buildings and multi-unit residential properties, reorganizing debt and providing a runway to sale or refinancing.

Chapter 11 Debtors

His experience representing Chapter 11 debtors has included the following:

  • Filed single asset bankruptcy case on behalf of client with 30-unit office building on the eve of foreclosure by lender, providing client an additional 13 months to refinance property or obtain sale.
  • Renegotiated leases across Southern California for entertainment client that had been forced to shut down business in 2020 due to the pandemic.
  • Handled Chapter 11 reorganization for church amid dispute over governance, allowing issues to be litigated in state court without the risk that property would be dissipated in the meantime.
  • Prepared Chapter 11 petition paperwork and assisted Chief Restructuring Officer in evaluating the viability of restructuring an online retail company with significant inventory and numerous transfers to insiders that could be recovered, though the company had ceased operations.

Chapter 7 Debtors & Creditors

In addition to his Chapter 11 work, Steven handles complex Chapter 7 liquidations involving business cessations or complicated assets (such as large collections of art).

Steven has represented Chapter 7 debtors and creditors in matters including the following:

  • Represented owner of commercial building in Downtown L.A. which brought in approximately $40k/month in rent, opposite tenant that had commenced bankruptcy case.
  • Assisted client undergoing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in selling equity in extensive collection of artwork, including identifying and valuing more than 600 pieces of art.
  • Represented recycling business in contentious meetings with creditors during Chapter 7. Coordinated over a period of several months with Chapter 7 Trustee to liquidate significant real estate assets.

Litigation, Mediation & Expert Witness Work

Steven has also participated in litigation and secured settlements through mediation on behalf of business clients and served as an expert witness on bankruptcy issues. His experience includes the following examples:

  • Commenced litigation against recycling company in receivership on the basis that they had encouraged client to deliver scrap metal worth a significant amount while knowing the company was going out of business and would be unable to pay for these deliveries. Secured settlement through mediation for a material portion of the amount due.
  • Prepared expert testimony on behalf of German pharmaceutical company for proceeding in Singapore commercial court, detailing the effects of bankruptcy sales to insiders where their insider status is not disclosed.

Steven works closely with the bankruptcy department of Public Counsel, representing clients pro bono in connection with re-affirmation hearings. He also speaks and writes extensively about student loan debt. Outside of his legal work, Steven maintains a fascinating collection of interests, including writing horror novels, painting flowers and WWII soldiers, and designing his own board games. Having grown up on a dairy farm in Oregon adjacent to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Steven is involved in efforts around cultural preservation for Native American artifacts in the state, as well as issues of restorative farming and agricultural land use.

Attroney-Steven Werth
  • Admissions

    State Bar of California
    Northern District of California
    Southern District of California
    Central District of California
    Eastern District of California
    Ninth Circuit

  • Education

    University of Southern California School of Law – Juris Doctor (1999)
    Pomona College – Bachelor of Arts (1996)

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