Judge Fitzgerald has more than 25 years of experience as a Bankruptcy Judge, having presided over matters in the Western District of Pennsylvania (where she was chief judge for five years) as well as in the District of Delaware (20 years), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (9 years).
Judi has unique experience in mass tort bankruptcies, having adjudicated more cases involving section 524(g) asbestos trusts than any other bankruptcy judge in the country. She has an extensive trial background and frequently served as a settlement judge and mediator. She was the sole judge hearing all chapter 13 cases in the Western District of Pennsylvania and Delaware for many years. She has completed several mediation training courses, including the intensive, 40-hour Bankruptcy Mediation Training course offered by St. John’s University, and the American Bankruptcy Institute, courses by the PA Council of Mediators, and the Council of Mediators of Western Pennsylvania, and now serves as a mediator and arbitrator in addition to her services as an expert witness and consultant. She is a member of FedArb, an association of former federal judges who provide expert witness, consultation, mediation and arbitration services.
In addition to practicing law, Judge Fitzgerald taught contracts, commercial law and bankruptcy courses at the Indiana Tech Law School as a tenured full professor of law. She now holds the position of Professor in Practice at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she teaches bankruptcy law and advanced bankruptcy law.
Before being appointed as a bankruptcy judge in 1987, Judi was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania, with a concentration in complex frauds and criminal tax cases.
During her tenure as a bankruptcy judge, Fitzgerald presided over many significant corporate cases including:
- The Flintkote Company
- Kaiser Aluminum Corporation
- Owens Corning
- W.R. Grace
- Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
- Armstrong World Industries
- United States Mineral Products
- USG Corporation
- Maronda Homes
- Fleming Steel Company
- Federal-Mogul Corporation
- Innovative Communications Corp.
- Just For Feet, Inc.
- WorldClass Processing, Inc.
- Combustion Engineering, Inc.
- Peregrine Systems, Inc.
- American Pad & Paper Co.
- PHP Healthcare Corporation
- Color Tile, Inc.
- Italian Oven
- Shannopin Coal Co.
- Busy Beaver Bldg. Centers, Inc.
- Papercraft Corporation
Presentations & Publications
- IWIRC Western Pennsylvania Network Newsletter, Issue No. 14 (February 2021) and Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Informal But Actual Notice of Bankruptcy: What Difference Does It Make?” (January 2021)
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Time to Appeal Under Bankruptcy Rule 8002(a)(1): What the Right Hand Giveth, the Left Hand Taketh Away” (October 2020)
- “I Am the American Inns of Court: Come Along with Me,” The Bencher (July/August 2020)
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Barton Doctrine Applies to Special Discovery Mediators in Bankruptcy Courts” (April 2020)
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Global Pressures Are Pushing Business Toward Insolvency – How Can You Prepare?” (March 2020)
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Help is on the Way to Troubled Borrowers!” (March, 2020) (co-author with Beverly Weiss Manne)
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Cash Is King. How Can I Get Some?” (March, 2020)
- “Fostering Diversity in ADR: Lessons from the Mansfield Rule,” XXXVIX ABI Journal 1, 36-37, 68-69, January 2020.
- Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, "Losing Your Right to Appeal Through Silence"
- The Rutter Group National Practice Guide - Bankruptcy (ThomsonReuters)
- Co-author Bankruptcy and Divorce, Support and Property Division (Aspen)
- The American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Associate Editor